Fishing for Data

The ocean is desperately under-sampled. Remember, we cannot forecast what we do not monitor. The problem of under-sampling is often stated about the deep ocean, but it is also very much the fact in the coastal ocean, as well in the marginal ice zone. These regions are characterized by high economical and societal value, and by high biological activity, including fish.

Collecting enough of data to describe these dynamic regions using standard research vessels would be extremely expensive. Robots struggle here as well, because of strong currents, ice, shallow water, risk of collision with vessels, etc. However, where there is fish, there is fishery… Why not employ fishing vessels to collect ocean data? Berring Data Collective is doing exactly that. SCOOT partner SMHI (Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute) is supporting the effort to bring “Fishing for Data” to Sweden. A number of Swedish fishing vessels have expressed interest, stay tuned…

The beauty of Fishing for Data is the cost-effectiveness. Just by attaching some robust sensors, and then doing their usual fishing activity, these vessels put near real-time data into open portals and aggregators, such as EMODnet and Copernicus Marine Services. This is where the computers of operational forecasters (such as SMHI) automatically go to find the data that feed their models. This also where ocean and climate scientists find data.

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