ShellEye: New satellite technology to give shellfish farmers early warning service
Cefas is working with Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the University of Exeter and the Scottish Association for Marine Science on the development of satellite Earth observation (EO) and modelling tools for monitoring and forecasting water quality for the bivalve shellfish aquaculture industry.
The satellite EO monitoring tools will be used to provide information on the environmental conditions around aquaculture sites and potentially give shellfish farmers warning of the occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and microbiological pollution from sewage discharges.
The objectives of the project are:
To extend the range of harmful algal bloom species that can be identified using satellite data;
Advance the fusion of EO and meteorological data to potentially enable warning of increased microbiological contaminants due to continuous and storm overflow discharges; and
- Develop a water quality bulletin service for shellfish farmers.
Incidents of poor water quality can result in short-term closures of shellfish farms, which have substantial financial impacts on shellfish businesses and can undermine consumer confidence in shellfish products. Therefore, knowledge and new technology resulting from this project aims to directly benefit members of the shellfish industry, through the development of an operational service for advanced water quality bulletins.
The procedural and technological advances made by the project will feed into policy and environmental management development, through Government agencies such as Defra, the Environment Agency and the Marine Management Organisation. ShellEye will also benefit the wider society through improved water quality monitoring and improved shellfish safety.
This project will involve partnership working with local water companies, members of the shellfish industry and regulatory stakeholders.
Carlos Campos, Cefas and member of the ShellEye project team, said “This exciting project provides an opportunity, for the first time in the UK, to merge advanced capabilities of satellite sensors with shellfish hygiene monitoring information to develop a warning service for shellfish farmers, which will help them make informed decisions about harvesting”.