The rocky road from research to operations for satellite ocean-colour data in fishery management

Cara Wilson

ICES Journal of Marine Science, 68: 677-686, 2011


The aim of the SAFARI project is to accelerate the assimilation of earth-observation data into fisheries research and management by facilitating the application of rapidly evolving satellite technology. This assumes that these data will be available in future. However, for ocean-colour data, that assumption may not hold because of possible gaps in data continuity. Of the many types of satellite data, ocean colour is the most important to fisheries, because it is the only biological measurement. However, current ocean-colour sensors are all operating beyond their planned design life, and there are potential problems with future launches. Although the research community is aware of the value of satellite ocean-colour data, advocacy from the operational community, fishery management in particular, has been lacking. In the United States, the absence of an easily identifiable operational need for ocean-colour data is largely responsible for the likely gap in data continuity. A range of current and potential operational uses of ocean-colour data, some reasons why these data have been underutilized in fishery management, and what can be done to mitigate them are discussed and outlined.

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