Coastal Fisheries Programme

A beginner’s guide to using remote sensing for offshore tuna fishing

by Steve Beverly

Remote sensing is a way of acquiring information about the surface of the earth without actually being in contact with it. Remote sensing is done by receiving and recording energy that is either emitted or reflected by the surface of the earth, so there must be a source of electromagnetic energy, a target, and a sensor. The source can be the sun or a satellite, depending on the type of energy being monitored. The target, in the case of remote sensing that may be useful to fishermen, is the sea surface.

Ocean charts showing sea surface colour, sea surface temperature, sea surface height, currents and weather are available from a variety of sources on the Internet. They can be used to plan a fishing trip from the shore, or as a fishing tool on the boat during a trip. For example, two oceanographic features of the sea surface that are interesting to longline fishermen, and that show up on sea surface temperature (SST) and sea surface height (SSH) charts, are frontal zones and eddies. These are often good tuna fishing grounds.

This guide was designed to give a very basic knowledge of remote sensing to offshore tuna fishermen


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Table of contents
What is remote sensing?
Sea surface colour
Sea surface temperature
Frontal zones
Sea surface height anomalies and eddies
Getting started
Some useful hints



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