Fisheries & Aquaculture

This industry involves the cultivation and harvesting of fish and other aquatic organisms. Fisheries cover wild fish capture from oceans, rivers, and lakes, while aquaculture pertains to farming aquatic species under controlled conditions. This sector is vital for food security, nutrition, and livelihoods globally. It faces challenges like overfishing, habitat destruction, and climate change impacts. There’s a growing focus on sustainable practices to ensure the long-term viability of aquatic ecosystems and the industry itself.

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Table of Contents

  • Sustainable Fishing Practices: Adoption of methods to reduce overfishing and bycatch.
  • Aquaculture Technology: Use of advanced systems for efficient and environmentally friendly farming.
  • Traceability and Transparency: Implementing systems to track seafood from source to consumer.

  • Environmental Degradation: Addressing the impact of fishing activities on marine ecosystems.
  • Climate Change Effects: Coping with changing ocean temperatures and acidification.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Navigating complex and varied international fishing regulations.

EO for Fisheries & Aquaculture

EO technologies can offer valuable data on oceanographic and environmental conditions that directly affect marine life and aquaculture operations.

Sustainable Fishery Management

Ocean Surface Temperature Monitoring: EO satellites can monitor sea surface temperatures, which significantly influence marine habitats and the distribution of fish populations. By tracking temperature changes, fisheries managers can predict fish migration patterns, optimize fishing efforts, and reduce bycatch. This data helps in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems by preventing overfishing in sensitive areas.


Catch Optimization: Habitat mapping for fish species using EO data, combined with weather data and other relevant parameters like biogeochemical analyses, topography, and ocean currents. This application is pivotal for determining the optimal timing, location, and methods for fishing activities, thereby optimizing the catch​​.


Chlorophyll Concentration Mapping: Satellites equipped with sensors to detect chlorophyll can provide data on phytoplankton concentrations, a primary food source for many fish species. This information is crucial for understanding the basis of the marine food web and identifying fertile fishing grounds, leading to more targeted and efficient fishing practices.


Genetic Diversity and Stock Improvement: EO data, combined with genetic information, can help in understanding the genetic diversity of fish populations in the wild. This knowledge supports the development of breeding programs that improve stock resilience to diseases and environmental changes, enhancing aquaculture productivity and sustainability.


Climate Impact Modelling: Integrating EO data with climate models offers insights into the future impact of climate change on marine ecosystems and fisheries. This information is crucial for developing strategies to ensure the resilience of fish stocks and aquaculture operations to changing oceanic conditions.


Aquaculture Site Selection

Water Quality Assessment: EO technologies can assess water quality parameters such as turbidity, nutrient levels, and pollutants near coastal aquaculture sites. High-resolution imagery helps in identifying areas with optimal conditions for aquaculture and monitoring changes in water quality over time, ensuring the health and growth of cultured species. Hyperspectral imaging from spaceborne platforms can provide detailed information on water quality by capturing data across a wide range of wavelengths. This technology can identify specific indicators of water quality such as phytoplankton blooms, sediment concentration, and pollutants with unprecedented precision. For aquaculture, this means the ability to monitor and manage the health of aquatic environments in real-time, enabling proactive responses to potential issues.


Bathymetric Surveys: Satellite imagery can be used to conduct bathymetric surveys of potential aquaculture sites, identifying underwater topography and suitable depths for fish and shellfish farming. This information is vital for designing aquaculture infrastructure that minimizes environmental impact and maximizes production efficiency.


Environmental Protection and Regulation Compliance

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) for Marine Environment Monitoring: SAR technology can penetrate cloud cover and operate irrespective of daylight, providing consistent monitoring capabilities for marine and coastal environments. This can be particularly useful for mapping and monitoring aquaculture sites, detecting oil spills, and observing ice conditions in fishing areas. SAR data can also assist in detecting changes in coastal topography that affect fish habitats and aquaculture sites.


Habitat and Biodiversity Conservation: EO data supports the mapping and monitoring of critical habitats such as coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds that are vital for the lifecycle of many marine species. Continuous monitoring allows for the assessment of the impact of aquaculture operations on these ecosystems, aiding in the development of strategies for their protection and restoration.


Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Detection: Advanced algorithms and imaging technologies can detect vessels and activities that indicate IUU fishing. By integrating EO data with Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals, authorities can identify and track illegal fishing operations, enforce regulations, and protect marine resources.


Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction

Sea Level Rise and Coastal Erosion Monitoring: EO technologies can monitor trends in sea level rise and coastal erosion, which are critical for the sustainable planning and management of coastal aquaculture facilities. This foresight enables the implementation of adaptation measures to protect infrastructure and ensure long-term viability.


Early Warning Systems for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs): Satellites can detect the early formation of harmful algal blooms, which pose a significant risk to both wild fisheries and aquaculture. Timely data allows for the activation of response strategies to mitigate the impact of HABs on fish health and aquaculture productivity.

GNSS for Fisheries & Aquaculture

GNSS play a crucial role in modernizing the Fisheries & Aquaculture industry by enhancing navigational accuracy, improving resource management, and supporting sustainable practices.

Navigation and Vessel Tracking

Precision Navigation for Fishing Vessels: GNSS enables fishing vessels to navigate with unprecedented accuracy, allowing fishermen to precisely locate and return to abundant fishing grounds or specific aquaculture sites. This reduces fuel consumption and time spent searching for locations, thereby increasing operational efficiency and sustainability.


Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS): VMS, powered by GNSS technology, are mandatory in many regions for commercial fishing fleets. These systems provide real-time tracking of vessel locations, helping regulatory authorities monitor fishing activities to ensure compliance with fishing quotas and protected areas. This aids in the management of marine resources and the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.


Automated Vessel Navigation for Offshore Farms: GNSS technology facilitates the operation of fully automated vessels, which are crucial for the efficient functioning of offshore aquaculture farms. These vessels rely on accurate GNSS positioning and navigation to perform various tasks, such as feeding, maintenance, and monitoring of aquaculture assets, enhancing operational efficiency and safety.


Localisation of Buoys Networks: The use of GNSS for localizing networks of buoys is an emerging application. These buoys are integral to monitoring environmental conditions, ensuring the safety of navigation around aquaculture sites, and aiding in the efficient management of resources.


Resource Management

Enhanced Fish Stock Assessment: GNSS technology is instrumental in conducting precise surveys and scientific research related to fish populations and migration patterns. By accurately tracking the movements of tagged fish or deploying equipment in specific locations, researchers can gather valuable data on fish behaviours, stock levels, and habitat conditions, contributing to sustainable fishery management.


Deployment of Fishing Gear: GNSS enables the precise deployment and retrieval of fishing gear, such as nets and longlines, minimizing the impact on non-target species and sensitive habitats. This precision fishing approach helps in reducing bycatch and environmental degradation, promoting more responsible fishing practices.


Fish Provenance and Eco-labelling: GNSS data from fishing vessels can be utilized to monitor the location and intensity of fishing efforts, providing an independent and reliable data source for fish provenance certification and eco-labelling. This application supports sustainable fishing practices by ensuring traceability from catch to consumer.


Aquaculture Operations

Site Selection for Aquaculture: The use of GNSS data assists in identifying the optimal locations for aquaculture farms by analyzing geographic and oceanographic conditions. This ensures that aquaculture operations are established in areas with suitable water quality, currents, and depths, maximizing productivity and minimizing environmental impacts.


Monitoring and Management of Fisheries Assets: GNSS technology aids in the management of aquaculture assets, such as cages and buoys, ensuring they are correctly positioned and secure. This is particularly important in open sea farming, where currents and weather conditions can move equipment, potentially leading to losses or environmental harm.


Safety and Security at Sea: GNSS plays a critical role in enhancing the safety and security of fishing vessels and their crews. This includes using GNSS-enabled navigation devices for precise location tracking, collision avoidance systems integrated with AIS (Automatic Identification System), and search and rescue operations. GNSS data contributes to safety at sea by ensuring that vessels can be quickly located in emergencies.

SatCom for Fisheries & Aquaculture

SatCom technologies offer vital communication capabilities for the Fisheries & Aquaculture industry, enhancing operational efficiency, safety, and sustainability.

Remote Operations Communication

Offshore Connectivity: In remote offshore operations where traditional communication methods are unreliable, SatCom provides essential connectivity. It enables real-time data exchange between aquaculture facilities and land-based operations, supporting remote monitoring, control of feeding systems, environmental condition monitoring, and emergency alerts, ensuring continuous operation and management efficiency.


Fleet Management and Coordination: SatCom facilitates the management and coordination of fishing fleets operating in distant waters. It allows for the transmission of navigational routes, weather updates, and fishing zone information, optimizing fleet movements and fishing efforts. This ensures that vessels operate within legal boundaries and safe conditions, enhancing the sustainability and profitability of fishing activities.


Autonomous Vessel Operations: Emerging applications of SatCom include supporting the operation of autonomous vessels for surveillance, inspection, and maintenance tasks in aquaculture sites. These vessels rely on SatCom for remote control and data transmission, reducing the need for human presence in hazardous or remote areas.


Distress Communication Systems: In the event of an emergency or distress situation at sea, SatCom provides a critical lifeline. It enables vessels to send distress signals and communicate with rescue coordination centres, regardless of their location. This capability significantly improves the effectiveness of search and rescue operations, potentially saving lives and reducing the risk of maritime accidents.


Data Collection and Environmental Monitoring

Real-time Data Transmission: SatCom allows for the real-time transmission of data collected by onboard sensors and equipment, such as water temperature, salinity, oxygen levels, and weather conditions. This data is crucial for environmental monitoring and decision-making processes in aquaculture operations, enabling timely adjustments to maximize productivity and minimize environmental impact.


Support for Research and Conservation Efforts: By providing connectivity in remote ocean regions, SatCom enables research vessels and conservation projects to communicate findings in real-time, share data with global research centres, and collaborate more effectively. This supports ongoing research into marine ecosystems, fish behaviour, and environmental impacts, contributing to conservation efforts and sustainable industry practices.


Integration with IoT and AI Technologies: SatCom is integral to integrating Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in fisheries and aquaculture. It enables the transmission of vast amounts of data from IoT devices for AI analysis, leading to insights that drive operational efficiencies, enhance predictive maintenance, and support sustainable practices.


Market Access and Traceability

Real-time Market Access: SatCom technology enables fishers and aquaculture operators to access market information in real-time, allowing them to make informed decisions about where and when to sell their catch, optimizing profits and reducing waste.


Traceability and Supply Chain Management: Through SatCom, the industry can implement traceability systems that track seafood from catch to consumer. This enhances supply chain management, improves the transparency of seafood sourcing, and meets consumer demand for sustainable and ethically sourced products.

Innovative Applications

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) for Habitat Mapping: AUVs equipped with space-derived navigation systems can perform detailed surveys of the ocean floor, identifying potential sites for aquaculture and mapping habitats critical to the lifecycle of target species. This information supports the sustainable expansion of aquaculture and the conservation of marine biodiversity.


Robotic Systems for Precision Aquaculture: Leveraging space technology for remote sensing and control, robotic systems can be developed to automate tasks such as feeding, cleaning, and health monitoring in aquaculture facilities. These systems improve operational efficiency, reduce labour costs, and minimize human error, contributing to higher productivity and sustainability.


Predictive Analytics for Fish Stock Management: Integrating satellite data with AI and machine learning algorithms, predictive models can be developed to forecast fish stock dynamics, including growth rates, migration patterns, and population densities. These insights enable fisheries managers to make informed decisions on quota allocations, fishing efforts, and conservation measures, promoting sustainable fishery practices.


Machine Learning for Disease Detection and Prevention: AI and machine learning algorithms can analyze data from various space-based and in-situ sensors to identify early signs of disease outbreaks in aquaculture operations. Early detection allows for timely intervention, reducing the spread of disease, minimizing losses, and ensuring the health and welfare of cultured species.

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