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Costa Rica and NASA Unite Against Red Tides

In a groundbreaking collaboration, Costa Rica has joined forces with NASA’s PACE space mission, launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, United States. 

The Costa Rican Fishing Federation (FECOP) has partnered with NASA and the Ocean Optics Laboratory of the University of South Florida to embark on a pioneering project aimed at studying red tides.

FECOP highlights the significance of this collaboration, emphasizing that NASA’s PACE mission will enable a comprehensive understanding of unicellular algae types in the Costa Rican Sea and their potential impact on fishing tourism. 

“This satellite will observe the color of the ocean in a hyperspectral way, allowing the study of a large number of parameters and characteristics that will improve our understanding of the dynamics of life at sea,” stated a representative from FECOP.

The mission entails multiple stages, beginning with field and laboratory work to identify the dominant species in the red tide and characterize their pigments. Subsequently, algorithms will be developed to detect pigments from space, identify the responsible organisms, and quantify their presence along the coasts.

Marina Marrari, Executive Director of FECOP, underscores the importance of developing tools to monitor species dynamics and minimize their impacts, contributing to better decision-making processes.

FECOP’s free mobile application, Pezca, plays a pivotal role in this endeavor, providing users with real-time access to satellite data. According to FECOP, the app offers insights into critical oceanographic variables impacting marine species abundance and distribution, including water temperature, chlorophyll concentration, ocean currents, thermocline depth, and altimetry. 

Additionally, it assists fishing areas in identifying the most favorable locations for their activities, offering interactive maps featuring fishing areas and national parks. 

Furthermore, Pezca provides forecasts of tides and lunar phases, along with biological and fishing information on key regional species, and facilitates the purchase of sports and tourist fishing licenses.

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