A Proof of Concept and feasibility study utilising space technologies to advance the aquaculture markets in Western Australia remote and regional areas
The rock oyster aquaculture industry in Australia produces over 15 million dozen oysters and is valued at over $90 million dollars annually. Current production is based in NSW, Tasmania and South Australia. There is enormous opportunity to grow the aquaculture sector in Western Australia, especially considering the vast coastline the state has. This vast coastline, however, presents significant challenges for the industry in WA. The identification of the best sites including matching the physical and environmental parameters that maximise growth and survival of oysters across the coastline is impractical and costly. Therefore, there is a need and opportunity for more efficient and cost-effective methods to identify the best locations for oyster production. This pilot project will prototype a software solution ingesting Earth Observation (EO), in-situ and model data, to be trialled by end-users to assess whether such a tool could assist them in determining the suitability of future sites.
This project partners are Curtin University, Myriota Pty Ltd, Geoplex Pty Ltd, GeoScience Australia (GA), Maxima Rock Oyster Company, and the Western Australia Agriculture Authority (WAAA).
The long-term vision is a coupled system for monitoring of aquaculture sites that combine EO with IoT-enabled in-situ sensors. To start addressing the challenges, this pilot project will investigate the feasibility of integrating EO and model data to identify suitable shellfish growing sites in remote areas. The new EO product development will be validated through deployment of in-situ sensors fitted with IoT satellite communication capability.
The pilot project will:
- Deploy in-situ sensors
- Develop algorithms for fusion of EO data
- Validate the algorithms using the data collected on site
- Develop a tool for potential farming site assessment
- Test the tool through project industry partners, demonstrating usefulness and interest in further development
- Recommend potential future development through a development Roadmap
OysterQual will provide cost savings and risk reduction to help grow the industry in WA, which in turn has the potential to diversify the region’s economy and provide economic development opportunities. In the longer term the envisioned EO-based tool could be a valuable site monitoring tool providing near real time data to farmers and regulators. Such insights could help in reducing costs and time involved in water quality monitoring and reduce the costs associated with stock loss due to water-borne pathogens in aquaculture operations (globally estimated at over US$6B per annum).
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