Advances in Discovering Solutions to Sustainable Fishing and Aquaculture through Satellite Remote Sensing

The global capture fisheries production has remained relatively stable over the past decade, while aquaculture<!–[if supportFields]> XE “aquaculture” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–> production continues to rise. Capture fisheries face issues such as overfishing<!–[if supportFields]> XE “overfishing” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>, depletion of key species habitats, and unstable global fuel prices. Aquaculture faces challenges such as competition for space, feed, labor, and disease outbreaks. Both methods face the impacts of climate change in the future. A solution to this problem is to apply satellite remotely sensed (SRS) information to fisheries. Saitoh et al. (2011) provide an overview of selected SRS systems along with two case studies investigating capture fisheries and aquaculture. The first case study discusses the application of SRS environmental data and vessel monitoring in a skipjack tuna fishery in the western North Pacific. The second focuses on the impact of climate change on scallop aquaculture in Funka Bay, Hokkaido Japan. These studies aim to provide perspective on the future of fisheries information systems. —Lauren Lambert
Saitoh S-I., Mugo R., Radiarta I N., Asaga S., Takahashi F., Hirawake T., Ishikawa Y., Awaji T., In T., and Shima S. 2011. Some operational uses of satellite remote sensing and marine GIS for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 68: 687–695.

Saitoh et al. briefly describe operational fisheries oceanography in pelagic fisheries to gain a better perspective on how these information systems work. Operational oceanography provides high quality observational and modeled data for practical application. Inter aliaprovides services that allow for minimal search time by directing fishing fleets and vessels to areas with optimum catch availability. SRS systems measure sea surface temperature (SST)<!–[if supportFields]> XE “sea surface temperature (SST)” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>, ocean color, sea surface height anomaly (SSHA), currents, and winds. These are the most important sets of data that shape operational oceanography. One application of SRS includes the ability to identify potential fishing zones (PFZ). SRS allows for a clear demonstration of relationships between target species and environmental factors. It also contributes to minimizing bycatch of endangered species. For example, SRS was used to keep loggerhead turtles from being caught while fishing for swordfish<!–[if supportFields]>XE “swordfish”<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–> and tuna in the North Pacific. A tool used to decrease the amount of southern Bluefin from being caught in the eastern quota was also developed. The ability to study behavior and habitat utilization is important in fisheries oceanography.
Commercial fishing applications are mostly aimed to minimize search time and save fuel. TOREDAS is a fishery information system service that facilitates near-real-time data transfer through satellite connection during fisheries operations, predict PFZ’s based on scientific findings, and provide high value-added fisheries oceanographic information for global oceans. Skipjack tuna were studied using high-resolution spatial VMS data obtained via TOREDAS from pole and line fishing vessels from 2007 to 2009. Data consisted of latitude and longitude positions logged by the vessel’s GPS<!–[if supportFields]> XE “global positioning system (GPS)” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–> system. Vessel speed was calculated using distance travelled between polling points relative to travel time (~1 minute). A histogram of estimated vessel speeds was used to categorize vessel activity. Only data that was transmitted during hours of skipjack tuna fishing were used. Scallop aquaculture<!–[if supportFields]>XE “aquaculture” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–> used SRS to explore potential impacts of climate change on aquaculture. The model consisted of two steps. First the suitability of sites for scallop aquaculture was determined using integrated remote sensing as well as a model based on geographic information system (GIS). The second modeled the effect of SST<!–[if supportFields]> XE “sea surface temperature (SST)” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–> warming on the previous model using temperature increases of 1, 2, or 4°C. This will provide framework for evaluating the impacts on climate change on aquaculture.
Searching for tuna schools is the most time consuming part of fishing. This results in increased fuel and labor costs that takes away from net profits. Satellite based VMS data are used to provide high-resolution temporal and spatial information on fishing activity to minimize search time. VMS data are more accurate than fishing logbooks because data can be accumulated much faster and are more accurate and complete. These data provide improvements to operational fishery forecasting models and management measure such as designing protected marine areas or effort control measures. Daily vessel trajectories are conducted from June 19-23, 2008. During pole fishing the vessel does not move, so fishing activity is therefore characterized by points associated with slow speeds. The vessel travels slower during fishing, gear deployment and retrieval, so this allows for simple data separation. However there are other factors that are not taken into account for why the vessels are slowed or stopped. For example, identification of fishing activity can be initiated when a school of fish swims by but does not respond to the bait and therefore provides false information. The vessel stops and data are collected, but no fish are caught.
The Japanese scallop is the most successful marine shellfish in japan with greater than 40% of Japanese scallop production coming from aquaculture<!–[if supportFields]>XE “aquaculture” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–> farming. Changes in water temperature will affect the timing and levels of productivity across all coastal and pelagic marine systems. It threatens optimum grow out temperatures through changes in weather and ocean temperatures. After application of IPCC<!–[if supportFields]> XE “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)”<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–> scenarios in the models for scallop aquaculture production, the sites had changed dramatically relative to original models. A STT increase of 1°C resulted in relatively no change, but 2 and 4°C changes decreased the most suitable area for production by 52 and 100%. These results suggest that climate change will have an influence on the development of scallop aquaculture through changes in suitability of sites. One solution to this problem is to implement a shellfish breeding program to increase temperature tolerance of these species.
Future research includes use of oceanographic datasets from satellites. The increasing miniaturization of communication devices and low cost of transmitting information make these systems more practical for delivering future oceanographic information. Programs such as Google Earth could be vital in advancing this process. Products would provide useful information for fisheries and aquaculture<!–[if supportFields]> XE “aquaculture” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–> such as fishing ground updates, site suitability for aquaculture facilities, and safety information. SRS data is important in providing information from satellites that is vital for research, monitoring, and management of marine fisheries and sustainability of aquaculture systems.

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