Closed-cycle aquaculture using hatchery produced seed stocks is vital to the sustainability of endangered species such as Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) because this aquaculture system does not depend on aquaculture seeds collected from the wild. High egg quality promotes efficient aquaculture production by improving hatch rates and subsequent growth and survival of hatched larvae. In this study, we investigate the possibility of a simple, low-cost, and accurate egg quality prediction system based only on photographic images using deep neural networks. We photographed individual eggs immediately after spawning and assessed their qualities, i.e., whether they hatched normally and how many days larvae survived without feeding. The proposed system predicted normally hatching eggs with higher accuracy than human experts. It was also successful in predicting which eggs would produce longer-surviving larvae. We also analyzed the image aspects that contributed to the prediction to discover important egg features. Our results suggest the applicability of deep learning techniques to efficient egg quality prediction, and analysis of early developmental stages of development.
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