BlueBRIDGE: Building Research environments for fostering Innovation Decision making Governance and Education to support Blue Growth

A European consortium BlueBRIDGE - launched in 2015 - delivers tailor made data management services to different communities and stakeholders (international organizations, research centers, enterprises, etc.) operated through collaborative web-based/virtual research environments.

Oceans are the world’s seventh largest economy and are fundamental to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness and labour market.  Aquafarming sector (fisheries, aquaculture) is the fastest-growing food-production sector in the world, now providing almost half of the global fish supply. Increases in demand for fish indicate that this sector will continue to expand. Therefore, it is time to start thinking about how to do it better, with more sustainable services supporting data of local ecosystems and environment.

Adoption of better data management practices and web-based services is the answer to better yields and profitability apart. To gain competitive advantage in aquafarming sector, data management services should be related to:

  • ecosystem degradation analysis (based on the production of maps of natural zones and human activity, together with stock assessment);
  • performance estimation, benchmarking, decision making;
  • strategic investment analysis;
  • trategic locations in aquaculture.

All of these services should be able to cope with the requirements of big data applications and data deluge scenario as data continue to grow in volume and variety and research now crosses the boundaries of single institutions, disciplines, and countries.

Who else better than BlueBRIDGE could bring innovative big data collection, management and dissemination solutions for the marine and maritime sector? 

BlueBRIDGE: Towards innovative data services for Blue Growth

BlueBRIDGE is the new European initiative funded under the H2020 framework (from 2015-09-01 to 2018-03-01).  

BlueBRIDGE bundles forces from intergovernmental organizations, research institutes, industry and SMEs establishing a network of fourteen partners with a proven track in virtual Research Environments: VREs & e-Infrastructures, computer science, marine, aquaculture, environmental & fisheries science & economy. 

BlueBRIDGE capitalizes on past investments and use cases of the proven D4Science hybrid self-sustained underlying data infrastructure, i.e. its Integrated Data Catalogue  that counts over 1500 users, integrates more than 50 repositories, executes around 13,000 models & algorithms per month and provides access to over a billion records in repositories worldwide, with 99,7 % service availability. D4Science Data Catalogue offers services for seamless access and analysis to a wide spectrum of data including biological and ecological datageospatial datastatistical data and semi-structured data from multiple authoritative data providers and information systems. These services can be exploited both via web based graphical user interfaces and web based protocols for programmatic access (e.g., OAI-PMH, CSW, WFS, SDMX) thus offering nicely complements specific and community-specific applications (

Although BlueBRIDGE has a special focus on the aquaculture and the ecosystem approach to fisheries domains, its data access, discovery, analytics and visualisation facilities can serve many other sectors. At the recent EURAGRI Big Data in agriculture event it was highlighted how the marine and agriculture sectors are facing similar challenges related to data management services

BlueBRIDGE aims to further develop and exploit the iMarine e-Infrastructure data services

for fisheries and environmental and spatial management - jointly supported by the Italian National Research Council (CNR) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) - in order to foster innovation, decision making and governance to support Blue Growth - the European long term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole.

(Source: European Commission – Maritime Affairs).

Blue Growth strategy is taking bold steps to address poorly managed fisheries and pollution that are amongst the causes of serious damage to its carrying capacity, calling for international action.

“This requires comprehensive and accessible information about Europe’s seas and oceans, such as fisheries databases, sea maps, etc., for policy makers to make informed decisions to ensure that a healthy marine environment can sustain growth in Europe” (Innovative BlueBRIDGE data services).

To support these tasks, BlueBRIDGE will provide new services to the iMarine gateway (which is home of the iMarine e-infrastructure) which will help companies increase productivity, resilience and lower development impact on the environment. That is the only way to sustainable aquaculture, which is the answer to the growing global demand for seafood.

The BlueBRIDGE innovative services will be focused on the following four areas:


  1. Blue Assessment - services for stock assessment and for the generation of unique identifiers for global stocks;
  2. Blue Economy - services supporting the production of scientific knowledge foranalysing socio-economic performance in aquaculture;
  3. Blue Environment - services to identify aquaculture and fisheries infrastructure from satellite radar imagery. The results will be used for spatial planning;
  4. Blue Skills - on-line training services and capacity building on existing training modules for fisheries scientists and other practitioners.

BlueBRIDGE services will support researchers with innovative working environments, i.e. hybrid data e-infrastructures: Virtual Research Environments as-a-Service (VRE aaS) providing researchers with the facilities they need (data, services, computing resources) on top of the iMarine infrastructure while allowing researchers to save time and money without compromising research quality.

In April 2016 the BlueBRIDGE project has already counted fourteen new VREs.


These VREs are serving already more than 350 users that span from fisheries to the aquaculture communities (with a particular focus on SMEs), but also support educators in setting up scientific training environments that require execution of data-intensive processes

Currently BlueBRIDGE is working consistently on the enhancement of the following VREs : 

Stock Assessment VRE: an environment to support stock assessment teams in uploading, harmonizing, analysing and reporting data

Aquaculture Atlas Generation: a service providing scientists with an innovative environment supporting the effective and efficient production of aquaculture products (maps of human activity and natural zones) contributing to an aquaculture atlas compliant with NASO standards.

Global Record of Stocks and Fisheries: a service providing scientists with an innovative environment supporting a collaborative, efficient and effective production of a comprehensive and shared global reference set of unique stocks and fisheries information that will boost regional global environmental status monitoring as well as responsible consumer practices.

Performance evaluation in aquaculture:  a service providing capacities for aqua-farming companies for performance estimation, benchmarking, decision making and strategic investment analysis.

Knowledge bridging services are essential for boosting education and knowledge bridging between research and innovation in the area of protection and management of marine resources, giving them a new volume and new thematic and geographical reach.

Strategic Investment Analysis:  a service supporting investors and scientists in the efficient identification of strategic locations of interest that meet multifactor selection criteria.


To serve further specific needs of aquaculture and fisheries practitioners, by the end of 2016 BlueBRIDGE developed also the following three new VREs:

  1. Stock Assessment VRE: an environment to support stock assessment teams in uploading, harmonizing, analysing and reporting data;
  2. Aquafarming performance modelling VRE: an environment to estimate and assess farm performance indicators;
  3. Spatial planning VRE: an environment to generate holistic maps to support spatial planning.

The flexibility and capability to serve thousands of users has increase since May 2016 when BlueBRIDGE extended the array of exploitable computing resources with the EGI Federated Cloud (FedCloud).

Last but not least. On 4th of March 2016, the FAO hosted in Rome the first BlueBRIDGE External Advisory Board meeting which was the opportunity to understand the concrete needs of the communities and to get valuable feedback on the solutions that the BlueBRIDGE project currently provides ( (BlueBRIDGE: Speaking the international language). 

If you are also an expert and you think that the BlueBRIDGE services can support your community, or simply you feel that you can bring a valuable contribution to the External Advisory Board, do not hesitate to contact BlueBRIDGE at [email protected]



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