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FISH FARMING TECHNOLOGY THE USE OF SATELLITE DATA TO SUPPORT SITE SELECTION AND OPERATIONAL MANAGEMENT FOR AQUACULTURE The EU-funded AQUA-USERS project has developed tools that turn satellite observations into useful information for the aquaculture industry. by Marnix Laanen and Kathrin Poser, Water Insight

Figure 1: Overview of AQUA-USERS; Data from satellite observations supplemented by innovative in situ monitoring provides real time information at farm level


he AQUA-USERS project team led by Water Insight from the Netherlands consisted of 9 academic and commercial partners from five countries. The developments in the project were guided by eight aquaculture producers representing different production systems and regions including salmon and trout farming, mussel farming in bottom culture and on long lines and seaweed culture. AQUA-USERS has developed a number of products and services which support aquaculture companies in their effort to grow by providing simple-to-use solutions integrating all valuable environmental data necessary to achieve optimal production. Data integrated into the services come from a wide variety of sources including satellite-based Earth observation, modeling and innovative optical in-situ measurements. The project specifically aims at the development of products and services that provide timely and accurate data at a farm level, empowering aquaculture managers to take informed actions, decreasing costs and losses and increasing yields.

Data products

The basis of the AQUA-USERS services are a number of dedicated products produced by the project partners and made available through the AQUA-USERS database and services. The present AQUAUSERS products fall into four types: • Water quality and sea surface temperature data derived from Earth observation satellites • Modelled met-ocean data

Detection of harmful algae blooms from space

• Harmful algae bloom risk maps derived from Earth observation satellites • On-site measured water quality data

A development of particular interest to the aquaculture industry is the discrimination of harmful algae blooms from space. Detecting high biomass algae blooms based on satellite observations of chlorophyll-a is a widely established practice. However, not all blooms are harmful, and farmers are mostly interested in particular algae species that are known to cause harm to their production. Therefore, in AQUA-USERS new and improved methods have been developed that use a combination of satellite images of known historic bloom events and laboratory measurements of the optical properties of harmful algae to discriminate those species from others in satellite images. 38 | January 2017 - International Aquafeed

JAN 2017 - International Aquafeed magazine