Over the last decade, Europe’s Blue growth strategy became a main pillar of the development of a sustainable European economy. As a consequence, the maritime industry has undergone a data revolution at both the pan-European and sectorial scale. It is widely acknowledged that this data revolution is key to develop a sustainable fisheries sector. After all, fishers act in a highly variable environment requiring an instantaneous response of fishing strategies with respect to these changing conditions. Yet data-driven applications in this sector are scarce because they require specialized knowledge and equipment which goes beyond the conventional scope of a fishing company.
The Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO; https://www.ilvo.vlaanderen.be/default.aspx?tabid=6469&language=en-US) coordinates CYBELE demonstrator 8, ‘Open Sea fishing’, in which a platform is developed that integrates data from the fisheries sector with environmental data sources. By combining real-time data about the current state of the environment (e.g. temperature at the sea bottom, salinity), historical fleet data, and the performance of the fishing vessel (e.g. fuel usage), and the application of advanced data analytics such as deep learning and reinforcement learning to make predictions about optimal fishing locations and fishing gear deployment, real-time information can be given to fishers to optimize their operational decision at sea. In this way, this demonstrator may help fishermen to better understand the impact of their decisions, to improve the economic performance of a fishing vessel, and reduce the impact on the marine environment.