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Name That Ton--Fish Feeder Naming Contest

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
May 23, 2007

Which sounds better, “20-ton SBIR” feeder or just about anything else?


No wonder the folks at the Atlantic Marine Aquaculture Center are holding a contest to come up with a new name for 80-ton automated fish feeding buoy that is slowly making its way to the university’s fish farm off the New Hampshire coast.

Shaped like a huge pill box, the remotely-operated machine holds 20 tons of food and can feed four species at a time. Its development has been a priority for the fish farm whose offshore location is subject to storms and frigid temperatures that make regular feeding a challenge.

Designed at UNH and built in Canada, the SBIR (for Small Business Innovation Research) feeder just recently went in the water. It will undergo further evaluation before being floated down to the Gulf of Maine and the fish farm site near White Island.

The fish feeder has four internal silos to hold different food for different fish. Its remote control capabilities mean the time of the feeding and the quantity of food can be controlled right here on campus.

For now, feeding will take place twice a day during warm weather and once a day in the winter months. That may change as researchers learn what is optimal for different species.

"If this feeder technology works as planned, it will be a major leap forward for offshore fish farming," said Richard Langan, director of the Atlantic Marine Aquaculture Center.

So, a new name; it could be something like Moby Dick, which plays up both the fish and size angle. Monstro, the whale that swallowed Geppetto, works for the same reason. There are sentimental favorites like Nemo or Cleo, the goldfish in Pinocchio.

Or how about honoring someone who was named for a fish, like Kurt Vonnegut’s Kilgore Trout? Or, a fish named for a person, as in the movie “A Fish Called Wanda.”

Playing around with the feeder’s size conjures up all kinds of names that either start with the word ‘big’--like Big Bertha, the nickname given to those huge cannons of WWI—or are known for being big, like, say, King Kong.

The prize for coming up with the SBIR’s new name is a boat ride out to the site and some free cod. Send entries to dolores.leonard@unh.edu. The deadline is June 22. A panel of research team members will choose the winning entry.

The Atlantic Marine Aquaculture Center is a partnership of UNH and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The SBIR feeder project was developed through collaboration with Ocean Spar Technologies, LLC, recipients of a grant from NOAA’s Small Business Innovation Research program.

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