Free and Open Access to Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-3 Data Would Contribute To the Indonesian Blue Revolution

The Indonesian archipelago is one of the most important reservoirs of marine biodiversity on the planet, which makes a substantial contribution to the local fishing, aquaculture and tourism industries. Illegal fishing, global warming, pollution and the destruction of mangroves pose an increasing threat to the archipelago’s natural resources. To address these risks and foster the so-called ‘Indonesian Blue Revolution’ the Indonesian government has set up a forecasting and management centre for marine resources. The INDESO centre enables the Indonesian authorities and other relevant stakeholders to predict changes in their fishery resources, and to protect (mainly from illegal fishing) and further develop them. The value-added information and modelling outputs from the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring service, and the free and open data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-3, could contribute to efforts to observe, protect and sustainably manage the invaluable marine resources of the Indonesian archipelago.

The INDESO Centre receives the accurate, high-resolution and timely Earth observation data, mostly from European satellites.  Credit: Copernicus Observer

The INDESO Centre receives the accurate, high-resolution and timely Earth observation data, mostly from European satellites. Credit: Copernicus Observer

The seas around Indonesia form part of the Coral Triangle, which encompasses the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and West Timor. The Coral triangle is one of the most important reservoirs of marine biodiversity in the world. It contains some 30% of all coral reefs and the largest known tuna nurseries. Since the 1970s, almost 40% of the coral reefs have been lost. Every year, the degradation of marine habitats has a severely detrimental impact on the economy of the fishing, aquaculture and tourism industries – to which fifty million Indonesians owe their livelihoods. The combined effects of illegal fishing, global warming and pollution could build into to an ecological disaster with rapid and dramatic consequences, not only for the biodiversity of the area, but also for the local economy.

The INDESO programme (Infrastructure Development of Space Oceanography), offers an integrated solution to the challenge of monitoring and sustainable management of the marine resources in the Indonesian archipelago. Under the auspices of this programme, coordinated by CLS, the INDESO centre has been set up on the island of Bali. The centre comprises a receiving station for the acquisition of high-resolution radar satellite imagery, a research and surveillance facility, computing facilities including numerical models (e.g. for oceanic circulation, biochemistry, tuna populations) and a training department for scientists.

The INDESO centre receives state-of-the-art Earth Observation data from observation and surveillance satellites covering the entire marine area around Indonesia.

The Copernicus Marine Environment service supplies INDESO with important information on the state of the Indonesian seas: the Copernicus global ocean forecasting system monitors sea conditions such as temperature, salinity, sea levels and currents on a daily basis, and the project also supplies ocean colour products to assess chlorophyll-a concentrations. The use of these data will enable the centre to reinforce and validate its numerical models for ocean and tuna population dynamics and biogeochemistry processes.

More than 25 satellites in orbit around the Earth provide data to the INDESO centre on a daily basis. These satellites fall into two categories:

  • Low to medium resolution ocean observation satellites (most of them European). These satellites provide precise information on sea surface height and temperature, surface currents, ocean colour and chlorophyll-A concentration, salinity, surface winds, surface solar radiation, etc. INDESO is planning also to use data from one Copernicus’ dedicated satellites, Sentinel-3, once the satellite is in orbit (launch is scheduled for later in 2015). Sentinel-3 will measure sea-surface topography and temperature as well as ocean surface colour with high accuracy and reliability. It will support authorities and stakeholders from Indonesia in monitoring their marine resources, thereby helping to preserve, protect and further develop them.
  • High-resolution radar (SAR) satellites, of which INDESO is currently using RADARSAT-2. In the very near future, Copernicus satellite data generated by Sentinel-1 (recently declared operational) could be used by INDESO. The receiving station at the centre can schedule, acquire and process high resolution radar images in real time. SAR satellites have the ability to capture imagery both during the day and at night, regardless of the weather conditions. The provision of these images and the ability to compare different sources of satellite data will serve as an operational and tactical tool to counteract pollution and illegal fishing.
By comparing different sources of satellite data acquired by INDESO, the Indonesian analysts can detect illegal fishing vessels. In the near future, data from Sentinel-1 could be used for this purpose. (©CLS)

By comparing different sources of satellite data acquired by INDESO, the Indonesian analysts can detect illegal fishing vessels. In the near future, data from Sentinel-1 could be used for this purpose. (©CLS)

The centre will develop value-added (“downstream”) applications for combating illegal fishing, managing fish stocks (especially tuna), implementing an integrated management effort for coastal regions and Marine Protected Areas, monitoring the condition of coral reefs and protecting them, supporting shrimp producers and industrial aquaculture (recommending production sites), supporting the development of algae production (for the agri-food and cosmetics sectors) and protecting the environment (detecting accidental oil spills).

The INDESO example showcases how the free and open data from the Copernicus programme can give rise to benefits well beyond the boundaries of the European Union, in the spirit of environmental protection being a global responsibility, and enables EU companies to increase their competitiveness on the global market.

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