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Ocean Fish Farms Identified By Google Earth Images

February 9, 2012

Ocean fish farming is a growing industry that may need increased monitoring and regulation, and Google Earth can be a powerful tool to that end, according to a study published in the Feb. 8 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.

The researchers, led by Pablo Trujillo of the University of British Columbia, used Google Earth satellite images of the Mediterranean to identify sites and sizes of fish farms. They examined 91% of the Mediterranean coast and counted over 21,000 fish cages, the majority of which were off the coast of Greece and Turkey. They were then able to estimate the total amount of ocean fish farmed in a given year, and found that although there were some discrepancies within individual countries, their overall calculations were in agreement with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reports. These results highlight the research and monitoring potential of Google Earth.

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