How satellite remote sensing & AI can protect fish and shrimp farmers in India

Posted by Coastal Aquaculture Research Institute Private Limited on

Aquaculture in India's coastal areas is important to the economy, contributing 1.1 percent to the annual GDP. Annual aquaculture production in India has risen from 0.75 million tonnes in 1950–1951 to 14 million tonnes in 2021, second only to China. The Indian subcontinent is home to about 10% of the world's fish diversity, and more than 15 million people rely on fishing for their livelihood.

Aquaculture is one of the most popular activities in India's coastal regions. Furthermore, It is a high-risk occupation in the context of cyclones because they are subject to environmental changes that endanger the socio-economic survival of aqua communities who rely on fish and shrimp for food and money. Around 10,000 shrimp and fish farmers in Andhra Pradesh's coastal district and surrounding areas have had their expectations dashed by Cyclone Asani and the resulting floods. The country's summer stocking in the crucial farming regions of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal has been impacted for the third year in a row.  The India Meteorological Department said Cyclone Asani, which emerged over the southeast Bay of Bengal, intensity near the centre was recorded at 70-80 km/hr, gusting to 90 km/h and also confirmed the landfall between Machilipatnam and Narsapur.                                                            

According to Aquaconnect’s Remote Sensing Platform and Aqua officer’s specialists on the ground, Cyclone Asani, which came in from the Bay of Bengal on Tue, May, 10 May 2022, impacted thousands of hectares of shrimp and fish ponds in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal. Aquaconnect assessed the impact of Asani cyclone on shrimp and fish farms. The assessment was made by examining remote sensing parameters and comparing them to the condition on the ground before and after the heavy rainfall. There were no significant differences for both fish and shrimp aquaculture in the preliminary analysis. In most areas, the water quality elements of the ponds have returned to normal, and they are productive as usual, contributing to the production process, but few ponds have been affected severely and water overtops pond embankments, allowing the escaping of aquatic animals. Overall the composition of fish and shrimp, as well as catch per unit effort, were found to be normal.

How Remote Sensing and Our Ground Team help Aquaconnect monitor Ponds?

Aquaconnect collects satellite observations from commercial and open-source platforms, as well as geo-tagged photos and information shared by Aquaconnect's ground team using our in-house mobile application (Image 1). We can detect and monitor ponds anywhere in the world using our AI based technology. We collect and process new data every week and store petabytes of data in our storage which we further use to automate the process for various use cases in aquaculture.

Image 1: Image captured by Ground Team during Farm Visit 

Asani Cyclone Study Area: Aquaconnect’s remote sensing and GIS (RS) team conducted a study to determine potential areas of heavy rainfall, especially in the Machilipatnam area of Krishna District in Andhra Pradesh. The study area mainly focused on the shrimp and fish farms of Gundupalem, Chinnapuram, Polatitippa, Palletummalapalem Village. Step by step analysis were done to assess the impact of the cyclone as follows:

Step 1: Aquaculture pond boundary Identification and Individual pond area calculation

We identified 7834 shrimp and fish aquaculture ponds covering 9012 hectares in 74 sq. kilometres using satellite imagery and pond boundary demarcation with the help of the deep learning object detection algorithm in Image 2. Each pond's size, dimensions, centre coordinate(centroid), all corner positions and a number of aeration devices are automatically measured for subsequent use.

Image 2: Sample Image of Pond Boundary Identification in Machilipatnam

Step 2: Aquaculture pond classification species wise

Total 419 orange polygons indicate fish ponds, covering 3588 hectares and 6870 blue polygons indicate shrimp ponds, covering a total 5027 hectares affected by the Asani cyclone. Image 3 shows one part of the Machilipatnam area.

Image 3: Sample Image of Fish and Shrimp pond Classification in Machilipatnam


Step 3: Pond - Days of culture(DOC)

We identified the DOC (Days of Culture) of shrimp ponds for the ongoing season and below tables A and B shows the total counts and size of ponds which fall under the particular DOC range in Machilipatnam area.

Table: A (Shrimp Ponds): Date 10/05/2022

Shrimp (DOC)

Total Ponds

Total Area(Ha)

Dry Pond



DOC 0-20



DOC 21-40



DOC 41-60



DOC 61-80



DOC 81-100



DOC 101-120




Table: B (Fish Ponds): Date 10/05/2022

Total Fish Ponds

Total Area(Ha)



Our aquacred RS and GIS based platform showcases the data with different colour coding where green colour signifies that pond is active and the light yellow pond is in dry stage and inactive. In Image 4, a Card opens over a shrimp pond which is active and displays details like the status on stocking and its date, when the pond was last dried, and DOC.

Image 4: Shrimp DOC in Machilipatnam

Step 4: Heavy rainfall Map (Asani Cyclone):


Now we come to our main study where we will show the heavy rainfall impact analysis at pond level. Without identifying the pond location, pond species name, and pond area, the study cannot be conducted appropriately. We have a ground map before and after heavy rainfall. Red spots over orange polygons (Fish ponds) indicate the heavy rainfall in the Machilipatnam area in Image 5. This data was collected and processed on Tue, 10 May 2022. Now, one can clearly see in Image 5 how many fish ponds were impacted from heavy rainfall.

Image 5: Heavy rainfall over fish ponds in Machilipatnam

Impact of Heavy rainfall on Shrimp and Fish Farming

Heavy rainfall can have devastating effects on the shrimp and fish industry, yet many times subsequent mortalities have not been linked to this meteorological condition.

It was feasible to demonstrate that indirect consequences were the most prevalent in all of the examined places. 419 fish and 6870 shrimp ponds were impacted in Machilipatnam, where cyclones were more intense, causing damage to other production infrastructure. On the other side, significant rainfall harmed almost 10,000 hectares of aqua farming, putting a large portion of productivity at risk. According to ground team statistics, more than 200 production ponds were partially or fully destroyed as a result of flooding over top pond embankments, allowing aquatic animals to escape.

Within two to three days, severe rainfall was documented in Machilipatnam. To a greater or lesser extent, excess rainfall in a shrimp pond results in shrimp mortality. Anoxia, secondary infections, cannibalism, H2S poisoning, and other difficulties related with inadequate moulting are all possible reasons for population decrease. Atmospheric pressure influences farming, and causes fish or shrimp to absorb feed. Different stresses and physiological consequences affect the growth and development of fish and shrimp, perhaps increasing their vulnerability to diseases and infections.


In the next series of blogs, Sudhir will be covering how these data intelligence can help financial institutions to real-time monitoring of portfolio, evaluate credit worthiness, and risk-assessment. 

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