Japanese aquaculture technology startup Umitron has been chosen for a project which will seek to benefit aquaculture by monitoring oceans from space, it said.

The company, in cooperation with research groups led by the Tokyo Institute of Technology, has been selected for the third satellite demonstration program run by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). A small satellite is planned to be launched in the 2022 financial year with a mission to gather ocean observations for aquaculture.

High-frequency and high-resolution observations of plankton and nutrient levels will be acquired to support the aquaculture industry including fish, shellfish, and algae farmers. 

As water quality changes globally, risks in aquaculture grow. For example, fish can be easily killed by red tide algae blooms and seaweed or shellfish growth can be inhibited by nutrient depletion.

In order to reduce these risks and stabilize aquaculture production, information on the ocean environment such as the distribution of plankton and nutrients is critical for the industry, said Umitron.

Prior to this research project, the startup has been working on an ocean data service for aquaculture called Umitron Pulse, which is scheduled for release in early July 2020. 



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