Atlas in Action: how satellite mapping enabled the first aquaculture census of Africa’s largest lake.

Zack Dinh
2 min readJun 23, 2022
A floating fish farm on Lake Victoria. Source.

Would you pick what to wear before checking the weather? Would you start driving somewhere new without getting directions first? In a world where almost anything can be Googled, aquaculture still remains unmapped and unsearchable. The lack of accurate maps increases the challenges of planning and conducting aquaculture field work. In 2021, Sea Warden leveraged satellite observations to produce the first lake-wide map of aquaculture activity on Lake Victoria — the largest lake in Africa.

Examples of fish cages detected in Lake Victoria.

Gathering reliable data in emerging markets requires a combination of on-the-ground interviews and secondary data sources. Good old-fashioned boots on the ground, combined with high-end technology.

Such secondary data sources also include digital tools such as satellite imagery.

Larive International and Lattice Aquaculture Limited jointly executed a full census and training needs assessment of aquaculture business operators on Lake Victoria for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. To reliably map and estimate the total number of cages on Lake Victoria, Larive International worked closely with Sea Warden to verify the required data.

To verify the data on the ground, a field team interviewed a whopping 571 farmers. This corresponds to a visit to more than 70% of all cages identified on the satellite imagery! Talk about field work.

This census is part of the EU-EAC TrueFish Farming Story in Lake Victoria Basin (TRUE-FISH).

Larive International

About Sea Warden

Sea Warden tackles critical data gaps within the seafood industry by leveraging satellites and AI to monitor global aquaculture activity. Learn more about our efforts to map every aquaculture farm in the world: