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Harmful Algal Blooms monitored from space in Chile

>The CAP project utilises a combination of near real-time EO data, such as chlorophyll-a pigment concentration, secchi transparency, suspended matter and sea surface temperature, derived from the MERIS instrument onboard ESA's Envisat satellite and the MODIS instrument onboard NASA's Aqua satellite and in situ water monitoring to monitor the Southern Ocean off the coast of Chile.

A hydrodynamic model, established and validated through the project, is also used to characterise the water circulation patterns in the major aquaculture area in southern Chile.

Aquaculture has become a capital-intensive industry in Chile, worth nearly 1 billion Euros a year with direct and indirect benefits for employment and other industries. The aquaculture industry in Chile and internationally has expressed great interest in the products and services developed under the CAP project. In particular, the HAB early warning service has been tested by Mainstream Chile, part of the Norwegian holding company CERMAQ, a world leader in salmon production.

Mainstream Group Development Manager Francisco Puga said: "The benefits of the CAP project are directly related to the operation of our company. The environmental monitoring and HAB detection is part of our daily operation procedures. Also, historical environmental information supports our strategic decisions for farm site location.

"To obtain the amount of information covered with the EO data, alternative methods will be of considerable higher cost. With in situ measurements you cannot produce a gradient map as obtained with EO images. The value of this information is the area and resolution obtained in a single didactic image."

Last month, the CAP project was presented at the AQUA2006 event organised by the World Aquaculture Society in Florence, Italy, triggering a lot of interest for EO-based information service in the aquaculture industry.


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Source:European Space Agency


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