Decision Support Tools & Data

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What is SAFI?

  • A 3 year project aiming to develop a marketable decision support service for our aquaculture and fisheries industries.
  • It shall produce a set of informative, decision-support indicators concerning species growth/abundance performance. These are being produced through the combination of the benefits of historical and future satellite data, and in-situ measurements and research into finfish and shellfish habitat preferences.
  • These indicators shall form the bedrock of an online web-GIS-based Decision Support Service, tailored to inform operators such as site assessors, planners, monitoring agencies, fishing fleets, aquaculture and fisheries investors, amongst others.

It will allow you the confidence that your decisions are founded on robust scientific information and the latest in fisheries and shellfish research, knowledge and best practice.


Most recent reports about the state of the fisheries in the world show that almost 90% of the fish stocks are overexploited or near of their carrying capacity limit. this is compounded by our failure in the use of single species management procedures and fishing programs, a recurrent topic and recommendation in the scientific literature. Our understanding of the structure and functioning of fisheries, and how marine ecosystems are exploited, must involve an appreciation of the process dynamics and interactions between the hydroclimatic parameters and local or regional biodiversity. It depends on depends on a thorough understanding of the physical and biological processes that govern the abundance, distribution and productivity of the organisms on a wide range of time and space scales. Some of these parameters may be measured in-situ, but only at a very local scale. However, satellite sensors can measure specific aspects over large tracts of ocean areas, and together with in-situ measurements, can vastly improve our ability to characterise the environments within which our fisheries and aquaculture sectors operate, and upon which they depend.

Satellite data have been used for marine resource applications for over 30 years. today they measure a wide range of ocean environmental and biological parameters including Sea Surface Temperature, Salinity, and Ocean Colour. Using advances in radar, physical Sea surface state parameters are possible such as wind speed over the ocean, wave height and sea roughness. Biological parameters such as measurements of productivity in terms of chlorophyll productivity are also measurable, at local, sea basin, and even global scales. We are at the stage where we can now identify thermal and oceanic frontal systems, and characterise the sea surface conditions of our oceans habitats, and use these to explore patterns in species occurance, growth rates and recruitment rates.

In 2013, EU member states gave the green light to an ambitious global environmental monitoring programme up to 2020, including the provision of over  €3.7 billion for the Copernicus programme. Copernicus is set to make a step change in the way we gather information on our planet by providing reliable, timely and accurate services to manage the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and help respond to crises. Through the European Space Agency, the EU has ensured the development of the series of Sentinel satellites for the purpose of gathering this information, the first of which (Sentinel-1) is expected to be launched in April 2014.

This presents an opportunity to Europe's aquaculture and fisheries industries, on whose behalf the European Commission have tasked the SAFI project partners to define and develop strategic and useful information services for use with the new satellite systems.


  • To exploit Earth Observation resources to support fishery and aquaculture industries in marine coastal regions.


  1. Develop a service to assist aquaculture deployment (optimization of cages location w.r.t. to environmental and ecological context) and environmental monitoring during operations.
  2. Develop a service to support fishery by providing indicators of recruitments, abundances, and shell/fish locations (and its variability due to climate change).
  3. Set up a network of SMEs at different levels of expertise (and EO awareness) required by the service – and to build a consistent and marketable offer of products and services.
  4. Evaluate the capacity of exportation and acceptance of this service.
  5. Foster the use of sentinel 2 and sentinel 3 data which will be available via Europe's Copernicus Programme.

Products and Services defined by industry and operators

The developed products and services, based on additive value brought by a network of SMEs, shall be defined and adapted to meet the requirements of each category of targeted user in the aquaculture and fisheries sectors. Users vary from those planning a new shellfish farm, to fishing boat operators struggling with rising fuel prices and in need of more targeted & efficient fishing trip, to national agencies tasked with monitoring licences and facilities, and managing our ocean resources.

The project will finally lead to the development, deployment and evaluation of an integrated web-GIS decision support system, broadcasting SAFI indicators to the various user concerned (industrials, public administrations in charge of fishery/aquaculture planning, EO service providers, great public) that will be fed by a service of easily interpreted information derived from Earth Observation (satellite) data.