Catalina Sea Ranch has developed a program for monitoring its offshore aquaculture operations with research conducted by leading institutions specializing in marine ecology and marine spatial planning. This will provide science-based data for evaluating any environmental and social impacts from the initial 100-acres for expansion.

NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Observation System (IOOS) arranged the donation of a NOMAD buoy as the platform for the remote monitoring program. The NOMAD is anchored at the corner of the Company’s aquaculture facility and equipped with technologies for transmitting real-time data for remotely monitoring of environmental, security and sustainable aquaculture husbandry functions. 

The NOMAD is instrumented with a SeaBird systems MicroCat sensor, collecting information on temperature, dissolved oxygen, and salinity thanks to a partnership with Dr. Kristin Davis, Assistant Professor Civil & Environmental Engineering &
Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine.  Dr. Davis has also provided a subsurface string of temperature and fluorometer sensors providing insightful data for the concentration and distribution of phytoplankton - the food mussels constantly consume by filter-feeding. Additionally, a pair of ADCP (Automated Doppler Current Profiler) devices have been deployed, to precisely measure the ocean currents under the ranch which is critical for understanding environmental impacts and increasing aquaculture husbandry capability.

Catalina Sea Ranch intends to expand its capacity with additional monitoring technologies. The NOMAD's large size and power capacity provides and ideal platform for the development of marine technology for security, scientific, and energy research. For instance, a Vemco VR2C shark tag receiver will soon be installed to monitor when tagged predators are in the area. Stay tuned for more updates!