OBSERVA.PT and OBSERVA.FISH: Autonomous Observing Systems to Support of Marine Ecosystem Management in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean

Antonio Miguel P A Santos, Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera, Lisboa, Portugal; IPMA-Portuguese Institute for the Oceans and Atmosphere/CCMAR-Center of Marine Sciences Univ. Algarve, Department of the Ocean and Marine Resources (DMRM), Lisbon, Portugal, Carlos Guedes Soares, CENTEC- Centre for Marine Technology and Ocean Engineering/IST-ID, Lisboa, Portugal, Anabela J. Carvalho, IPMA-Portuguese Institute for the Ocean and Atmosphere, Department of Meteorology and Geophysics (DMG), Lisboa, Portugal, Isabel Sousa Pinto, University of Porto, CIIMAR, Porto, Portugal and Antonio C. Oliveira, Transinsular-Transportes Marítimos Insulares, S.A. (Grupo E.T.E.), Lisboa, Portugal
The development of autonomous observing systems for the monitoring of the ocean is fundamental for a good management and conservation of marine ecosystems. From a cost and effective point of view, the use of autonomous systems aboard cargo and fishing vessels is one of the possible solutions to build long sustainable time-series of ocean characteristics and variability. IPMA in collaboration with other institution are developing such systems in the frame of the projects “OBSERVA.PT - Observations on board national commercial ships to support the conservation of marine biodiversity in the Portuguese Seas” (funded by the UE and the Portuguese Government under Mar2020 Programme) and “OBSERVA:FISH - Autonomous Observing Systems in Fishing Vessels for the Support of Marine Ecosystem Management” (funded by Portugal2020, UE and FCT). The main objective of the project OBSERVA.PT is to implement appropriate marine environment monitoring technologies (satellites and automatic recording equipment) for the production of operational oceanographic and meteorological information, and biological data acquisition. More specifically the project will ensure long-term monitoring activities in the open ocean and improve climate characterization and meteorological forecasts. These observations will contribute to the MSFD. OBSERVA.PT will install several meteorological stations and oceanographic equipment (eg., “ferrybox” type equipments) on board cargo ships en route from Portugal Mainland to Madeira, Azores and Cape Vert Islands (Northeast Atlantic Ocean). OBSERVA.FISH aims to develop a totally autonomous system (no human action) to install aboard all types of fishing vessels (trawlers, purse-seiners, longliners). This should allow high-resolution in situ monitoring and spatial coverage of coastal seas, since fishing vessels ply these areas all year round and in almost all weather conditions. It is proposed that the system achieve, at least, a TRL7. The data collected operationally under these programmes will be validated and integrated into a wider observational programme that includes satellite observations and models data. Furthermore, the analysis of the information obtained will support the development of new products for more safe and efficient maritime operations and support fishing activities.