HiSea Platform water quality forecasting services praised by aquaculture users

The HiSea Platform offers significant advantages for aquaculture users, provided through its services for wave and wind forecasting, water quality forecasting and personalised alerts, harmful algal bloom (HAB) forecasts, jellyfish invasion forecasts, optimal fish cage location and for identifying optimal pumping water, according to Dr. Julie Maguire of the Bantry Marine Research Station (BMRS) in Ireland.

Maguire spoke at the launch of the HiSea Platform on December 9, 2021 at the final HiSea project demo conference, in which the platform’s tools for ports, aquaculture and other marine industries were presented in detail by partners representing HiSea’s primary end-user sectors.

HiSea services incorporate and process data from the Copernicus marine observation systems, combining satellite-derived information and local monitoring data with advanced modelling technologies into a high-resolution real-time platform.

“In the current situation, without HiSea, forecasts of accurate wave height and length are unavailable”, Maguire noted. “With HiSea, we will have a wave and wind forecast and a three to five-day storm forecast, (automatic) alerts, and historical repeats.”

“This will all help to support decision-making for harvest timing. And this advanced knowledge of wave height and length, they’re really key bits of information for knowing how to shore up your farm infrastructure or indeed harvest your fish or shellfish before being affected,” she added.

Water quality information is perhaps even more crucial for aquaculture, as it is essential for ensuring the welfare of the fish, both in terms of their health and growth rate, as well as consumers’ and local communities’ perceptions of aquaculture and the fish it provides, Maguire said, noting that without HiSea tools water quality monitoring is time consuming and “very costly”, and real-time or high-frequency water quality data are simply not available. With HiSea, however, aquaculture operators have access to continuous monitoring of water quality, including alerts when abnormal conditions are detected.    

Similarly, HiSea provides warnings before jellyfish invasions and harmful algal blooms (HABs) that can otherwise wipe out fish farms across whole regions, costing millions of euros in losses and damage, as well as detailed forecasts as to where existing jellyfish populations or HABs will go. “With HiSea, we have early alerts, and this allows for protective measure to be implemented in time,” Maguire said.