Robocoast Challenge: Detecting a seal (the animal)


Robocoast is launching a challenge related to the European fishing industry. There are around 24.000 seals in the coastal waters of Finland alone. The larger Grey seal weighs 170 – 310 kg and loves fish – so much that they are causing big losses to the fishing industry. Therefore there’s a need to have a seal detection system to trigger a “Scarecrow” of the seas, an alarming system to scare seals away form the fishing nets. The detection solution would help, not just Finland and its fishing industry, but the whole Northern European’s.


Challenge description:

How to detect a seal in a sea, before it attacks a fishermen’s net?


Background information:

The losses caused by the seals (Grey seal, Ringed seal) are among the biggest proplems the fishing industry meets. Not just the damage caused to the catch, but the nets are also damaged, making the fishing unprofitable sooner or later.

The seal population suffers too, especially the smaller Ringed seal, if it gets tangled up in the net and drowns.

To solve the problem, there’s a need to find a sensory system that can detect a seal and trigger the alarm based scaring system.

Best solution will win 10.000 Euros prize and will have an option for 5.000 Euros grant to create the detector prototype.

Some challenges regarding the automatic detection:

  • Underwater, seals don’t make any recordable sound
  • Water can be too murky or dark for an RGB camera
  • How to supply enough power for the system
  • Errors are tolerated to some extent, but a seal has to be detected at 100% success rate



The challenge is open to everyone. Participants will not receive any compensation for taking part in the challenge. However, the winning solution may receive a 10.000 Euros prize. (Robocoast /Prizztech Ltd will make an agreement with the winning participating team with the value of 10 000€). Later in spring 2020 the winning team can participate in the prototype creation with Robocoast R&D Center.

The participants or participating teams will have an opportunity to pitch their solution to the Robocost Jury in the Robotex Pori event on 11th of October in Pori. It is also possible to pitch the solution in a video.

The winning solution will be chosen and awarded also in the robotex Pori event.


Click here for more information on Robotex Pori event.


Questions regarding the challenge:

Questions regarding the challenge can be submitted by email to:


Solution proposals:

The solution proposal must be submitted in writing as a free-form document to
by September 30, 2019

The proposal must include:

  •     Contact information
  •     A description/presentation of the solution proposal



All solution proposals will be handled confidentially. The intellectual property rights of the solution will remain with the solution provider until the prize money is paid, after which time the solution will be become public. The winner has the right to participate in the prototype creation and receive a 5.000 Euros grant for that purpose.


The challenge will be organised as part of the “Hyljedetektoripaja” project funded by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and the European maritime and fisheries fund.