ESA title


  • ACTIVITYDemonstration Project
  • STATUSCompleted
  • THEMATIC AREAFood & Agriculture, Maritime and Aquatic

Objectives of the service

The meat industry has long had traceability standards for all steps in the food processing chain, providing traceability, and health standards for the food we eat. Standards also protect market access for fishermen and allow differentiation of their products through quality, responsible and sustainable fishing practices. Currently, fishermen are either using paper based manuals, to satisfy current demands of the various national and international standards, or are not conforming to any standard whatsoever. The outcomes of this project facilitate the application of this to the fishing industry.

The objectives of the project were to provide opportunities to capture and input real time data while vessels are fishing and to introduce more vessels to these standards (e.g. HACCP, BIM, etc.) through the service. The objectives of implementing the key user requirements were to:

1)    reduce paperwork,

2)    reduce costs, and

3)    make the system accessible on any PC, tablet or mobile device in a simple, user friendly system.

The project aims were:

  • To make standards more accessible to a wide variety of commercial fishermen;
  • To improve management of certification data;
  • To improve the quality of the data captured;
  • To provide a two-way information highway between vessels and their sales agents/processors

The tasks were designed to make standards more accessible to a wide variety of commercial fishermen working in a challenging environment. Processor requirements regarding supplier controls, and information on vessels landing to them, were also addressed.

The MarIA project included all key categories of vessels operating in Irish and European waters, as well the involvement of the fish processing, regulatory and fisheries development sectors. The system produced by the MarIA project allows commercial fishermen to demonstrate these practices in real time and underpin the quality attributes of seafood they land. This protects and enhances the market position of these products in relation to other protein classes, ensuring greater transparency and traceability to the consumer, whilst reducing paperwork and delays for the fishermen and producers.

Providence II (one of the Pilot vessels) at Sea

Users and their needs

The project addressed the user needs of commercial fishermen and the processing industry. The pilot project was developed in Ireland but will have applications globally following a successful demonstration examples on a number of vessel classes. Larger vessels often have satellite capabilities on-board, the use of which was integrated into variants of the system.

The project tasks covered the development of a standalone, cost effective solution for smaller classes of vessel. Fishermen from four different categories worked (and are still working) with us to develop the solution:

  • Pelagic vessels
  • Whitefish vessels
  • Nephrops trawlers
  • Inshore vessels

The initiative was tasked to identify User needs as a key element of user-driven development. key user needs of the industry are:

  • Cost effectiveness
  • Reliability
  • Ability to cope with harsh environments
  • Simple to use
  • Fitting of physical equipment to be as simple as possible and not overly intrusive
  • Some vessels need to satisfy regulatory bodies regarding implementation of on-board handling and quality. The outputs of the system need to be accepted by the regulatory authorities.

The pilot project is underway in Ireland and the UK but will have global applications following a successful demonstration project.

Skipper is able to view the temperatures in the Hold and Freezer using the Marine Applications App installed on Android Tablet.

Service/ system concept

Overall high-level system architecture:

Space Added Value

The space assets being used for the demonstration project are:

  • Satellite Navigation
  • Satellite communications

There are currently two methods of capturing information on-board the vessels, paper based manuals and some vessels use data loggers for recording temperature e.g. of freezers or hold water. The developed satellite-enabled solution allows for the capture of data on an Android device. Data can be entered manually and is also input automatically when captured by sensors (for example the temperature sensors in the holds which store the catch during transit.

The system essentially collates information on catching practices and temperatures on-board and relays them, in real time, to an onshore database. The information captured is also tied into the vessel position and so delivering a “footprint” on catch and handling information including catch areas. By doing so the application of space technology decreases the time taken for catch information to reach the producers (wholesale buyers) of the fisherman’s catch, enabling more efficient transfer onwards to markets upon landing. This translates into cost efficiencies, and reduces the risk of the catch becoming spoiled due to delays in paperwork.

MarIA Artes 20 Project Team

From left to right: Marco Sartori (ESA), Frank Fleming (Community Supported Seafood), Eibhlín O’Sullivan (EOS Solicitors), Kieran Moroney (Marine Applications) and Rory Scarrott (UCC)

Current Status

The demonstration project was undertaken between September 2015 and October 2016, with the pilot being completed in October 2016. The system architecture designed is suitable for installation on several vessel classes: One of the outcomes of the project has been the development of a set of best practice guidelines for installation of the system on key vessel types:

  • Freezer vessels
  • Chilled hold vessels
  • Refrigerated sea-water tank vessels

These guidelines will be developed further as the system is commercially deployed. 

In February 2017 a Contract Change Notice was awarded to the MarIA project for further development of the system. 

The additional developments include a prawn dip timer and counter for vessels together with the implementation of a system level alarm which allows system levels to be monitored through the MarIA system both on the vessel and onshore. 

The first installation of the upgraded system was carried out in May with further installations being carried out in June and July. 

The project has now entered a commercialisation phase and anyone who would like further information about using the system can contact

Status Date

Updated: 15 September 2017