France: Satellite imageries taken from the Sentinel-1A are being used to monitor aquaculture in the Mediterranean. The research is a part of contribution to food security, as fisheries become the main source of seafood.
According to the data collected by the satellite, it is reported that as many as 4500 fish cages over six months, mainly of mussel racks or finfish, along the western Mediterranean’s coastline. The number of fish hatching cages in the Mediterranean was not known before this survey.
Farming finfish, shellfish and aquatic plants is one of the world’s fastest growing food sectors, which already provides the planet with about half of the fish we eat. According to the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation, Aquaculture surpassed wild fisheries as the main source of seafood in 2014. This reflects the earlier transformation of land from hunting to farming.
ESA is promoting the innovative use of satellite data for aquaculture through its Sustainable Management of Aquaculture through Remote sensing Technology project, or Smart. Remote sensing of oceans is a window into the marine ecosystem, providing essential information for their governance.
In particular, near-real time data on water quality parameters at each farm, such as sea-surface temperature, chlorophyll content and turbidity, are important for farmers because they affect shellfish growth.
Giuseppe Prioli, President of the European Mollusc Producers’ Association, says: “The services being tested in Smart could be very useful for supporting shellfish industry in Italy. Short-term forecasting of shellfish biomass will also help in planning the harvest.”
“The assessment of the potential biomass yield in a given area, based on Earth observation data, could also be useful for reallocating farms or starting the farming of new species, such as oysters, along the Emilia-Romagna coast.”