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Earth Observation Services for Fishery, Bivalves Mariculture and Oysterground Restoration along European Coasts

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FORCOAST (Earth Observation Services for Fishery, Bivalves Mariculture and Oysterground Restoration along European Coasts)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2021-01-31

The European Union Earth Observation efforts, Sentinel missions, and Copernicus Services offer a global view of environmental variables of prime importance for climate and environmental research. The accuracy and high spatial resolution of the data play a vital role in representing physical, chemical and biological processes in the coastal zone. FORCOAST, by combining measurements and models, has a huge potential to improve the understanding of the coastal environment. Newly satellite measured data combined with localized coastal models need to be in accordance to provide an understanding of processes during long temporal scales. However, the users are from time to time hampered by the unavailability of products of broadly used formats that can directly be included in their own applications. Therefore, one of the main objectives of the Forecast project will be the generation of high resolution added value products for coastal applications that will be a clear extension of different Copernicus core services dealing with the coastal areas within the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS).
FORCOAST aims to offer information services co-designed with stakeholders, which provide high-resolution data of water quality and met-ocean variables at coastal zone and nearshore that are used to give focused answers to specific questions from the targeted wild fisheries, bivalve mariculture, and oysterground restoration sectors. FORCOAST is developing, testing and demonstrating, in operational mode, novel Copernicus-based downstream information services that will incorporate Copernicus Marine Services Products, local monitoring data and advanced modelling in the service. This allows improving operation, planning and management of different marine activities in these sectors.
FORCOAST aims to enlarge the reach of Copernicus efforts by improving the quality, reliability, and customization of the currently offered operational marine products. By making these products more accessible and usable to the three identified sectors, the European industry within wild fisheries, oystergrounds restoration, and bivalve mariculture will benefit in terms of know-how, expertise, and competitiveness; increasing their potential to seize market opportunities in five regions across European seas.
(The following text corresponds to the first reporting period)

An analysis has been performed regarding identified stakeholders, their interests and needs and to promote synergies between the main users within and across the different pilot areas and sectors.
Continuous exchanges with final users and the organization of a dedicated (online) user workshop have been taking place.

The data needs of the different pilots that integrate the FORCOAST project and their purpose have been identified. The different CMEMS and other datasets currently used by the eight Pilots that are part of the FORCOAST project have been shown.
Specific descriptions, as well as an overview, of the FORCOAST pilot models have been provided, and what they could achieve in terms of extension of the marine information available from CMEMS datasets.
Local marine models deployed within FORCOAST have been characterized and extended.
The concept of Service Module (SM) has been defined and adopted by the consortium, with the purpose of developing the needed tools in an homogeneous way that allows the retrieval of the necessary marine information across the FORCOAST Pilots, following a modular approach. In total 7 Service Modules: Suitable Fishing Area, Fronts Detection , Operational Scheduler , Land Pollution , Prospection for New Sites , Assistance for Spat Captures , Retrieve Sources of Contamination.
The technical specifications for each SM intention have been described with respect to the user experience framework.

During the reporting period, the technical work regarding backend work focused on the architecture design and the deployment.
The platform frontend design, the iterative development and implementation has started and been divided into Central Platform and Service Modules.
Each Pilot set up suitable tool that are meant to address services needs and gaps in their related targeted sectors.
FORCOAST testing procedures were divided into three main groups of activities: scientific, technical and operational.
At the moment, the development of the platform is taking place in a local environment, but containerized (Docker) to ensure that its functioning is independent of the working environment.

The preoperational service consists of four components: P1) preoperational dataflow from CMEMS and external data providers; P2) using P1 data to generate downscaled data, by using either local numerical models or statistical analysis tools; P3) using P2 data to generate final data products; P4) presenting relevant P1-P3 data and products in FORCOAST platform, which is developed in WP4. Currently, partners have worked on processes P1-P3.
A report describing a common methodology for numerical model validation has been completed.

In order to make up the Initial Market Analysis a roadmap has been designed.
A preliminary Business Plan was presented at the start of the project. FORCOAST will apply this business canvas on different types of services.
The initial exploitation plan is that the Services each have a monthly fixed fee and an additional assessment fee upon demand for additional information or more expertise advise.

A corporate identity for FORCOAST has been developed and stablished, including among others, a common graphic line and project website.
The analysis of FORCOAST audience and stakeholders was completed and was included into the Communication and marketing plan.
A Communication and Marketing Plan was completed.
Marketing material drafted and distributed so far includes a leaflet describing the project in its initial stages, posters for different events and news articles, among others.
Natural processes and human activity have always shaped the coast; there has always been a necessity to monitor and forecast coastal environmental changes. Observing coastal environment would result in maximizing the benefits from the coastal zone while minimizing the damage to society and nature caused by those changes. The provision of added value products will facilitate the use of Earth Observation data in new applications involving the vision of new operational products that will lead to an increased understanding of those earth processes that clearly represent a new market uptake. The integration of data from different sources (e.g. satellite, in situ data and models) is definitely a huge challenge, not only from the point of view of the amount of data to cope with or the computer resources to run the predictive models, but also for the development of such an advanced platform scheme. The availability and accessibility of the data and derived products generated will stimulate their exploitation by a wide range of users in different fields in the coastal zone and will contribute to a range of high-level requirements needed to compliment the Copernicus core services at the coastal zone. The added value products are an indispensable asset in understanding the complex socio-ecological relationships in the coastal zone among many sectors such as wild fisheries, oystergrounds restoration and bivalve mariculture.