Recognition of Underutilised Maltese Marine Species
Kimberly Terribile - Centre for Agriculture, Aquatics and Animal Sciences, Institute of Applied Sciences
Juan Jose' Bonello – Institute of Applied Sciences
Daren Scerri - Institute of Information and Communication Technology
Frankie Inguanez - Institute of Information and Communication Technology
The biogeographic location of the Maltese Islands at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea act as a sink for marine species that exist both in the Western and Eastern Mediterranean regions. Despite the insularity of the country, consumption focuses mainly on mainstream marine species. Globally, the ever-persistent demand for mainstream marine species is resulting in tighter species quotas and supply shortages, thus, calling for responsible consumerism, to include consumption of underutilised marine species.
The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) to support the sustainability of related human activities in our oceans has been recognised. Therefore, the overall aim of this research is to utilise computer vision based machine learning to assist in the correct identification of underutilized marine species, for increased consumer awareness and nutritional education amongst people residing on the Maltese Islands.
Integrating AI within the public’s utilisation of fish would facilitate and enrich the knowledge in decisions about our food consumption and preferences. A large custom dataset of these underutilized species and their features is called for. Existing solutions are currently not refined to distinguish or classify down to species level. In addition, there is no local solution that may be used to verify marine species that occur locally or a solution that provides related nutritional information. A novel dataset of photographic and nutritional data, together with annotations and labels of a sample of underutilised marine species in the Maltese Islands will be conceptualised through collaboration with a purpose sample of relevant stakeholders. Hence, the project will aid in the recognition of local marine species, the promotion of underutilised fish and the provision of nutritional information for each marine species.
This project is an inter-institute collaboration involving researchers from the Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS) and the Institute of Information and Communication Technology (IICT) and is being worked out in collaboration with the general public as well as through samples that are collected by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture within the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Animal Rights.