Mobile app helps determine if a location is suitable for aquaculture

NATIONWIDE—The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, announced it has created a mobile application, which could help people determine whether a stretch of ocean is suitable for aquaculture operations. The app is called OceanReports and would be ideal for coastal managers/regulators, environmental organizations and seafood farmers.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service helped develop the app, which, according to the federal agency, would “query more than 100 marine datasets.”

“Within seconds, [the app] generates custom spatial reports and infographics for any ocean space or ‘neighborhood,'” NOAA staff said in a published story about the OceanReports app. “These datasets include everything from ocean current speed to deep-sea corals and sponge observations in that area.”

OceanReports would specifically provide seafood farmers and others with information about winds, waves, shipping routes, sensitive habitats and potential conflicts with species in the area, according to NOAA.

“They can even view statuses, conservation requirements and mandates that govern the ocean,” a NOAA article on OceanReports said. “This can be helpful during the early stages of the aquaculture permitting process. Applicants can use this information to inform discussions with regulators and community members at local, state and federal levels.”

OceanReports has been in development since 2014 and was built upon Marine Cadastre, according to NOAA. Marine Cadastre, NOAA staff continued, is “a large marine information system representing a decade of investment and data collection.”

NOAA staff added oceans only account for 2 percent of human food despite occupying more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface.

“Wild fish harvests are unable to meet current seafood demands. Responsible marine aquaculture, using siting tools like OceanReports, is critical for ensuring a safe, secure and sustainable seafood supply,” NOAA staff wrote in a published story about the mobile app.

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