SIMA Austral (Chile, 2016-2019)

Fast Facts

  • Completed 2018.
  • Funded by the Strategic Investment Fund (FIE) of the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism of Chile and executed by the management agency SERNAPESCA ( in conjunction with CSIRO Chile.
  • Further Information: Dr Mike Herzfeld (hydrodynamics), Karen Wild-Allen (biogeochemistry).

The SIMA project was conceived as a highly ambitious initiative to transform management of the Chilean aquaculture to ensure its long-term sustainability and international competitiveness. In simple terms, the objective of SIMA was to support and strengthen SERNAPESCA, in its role as national manager of the aquaculture in Chile through the development and implementation a whole-of-system trans-disciplinary program that integrates across, sanitary, and socioeconomic domains to deliver tactical and strategic decision-making that will meet the present and future sustainability issues the aquaculture industry faces. This integrated approach, brings together the various modelling and data integration aspects of the SIMA platform, aims to improve the social, ecological and economic sustainability of the aquaculture industry in Chile.

SIMA was undertaken by CSIRO for SERNAPESCA over almost three years comencing January 2016 and contracted over three phases: scoping, transition and implementation. SIMA was developed by a multi-disciplinary team of more than 20 scientists, who engaged on a regular basis with key government, industry and research stakeholders in Chile.

The main output from SIMA is a web-based operational information system, the SIMA-platform, that was fully operational in January 2019 and included:

  1. Products and Services: for strategic planning, risk assessment, response to incidents, and the usual production of reports on the Chilean aquaculture system.
  2. Components: including environmental (physical, biogeochemical, ecological), productive (biomass) and socioeconomic (micro and macro) models and an integrated risk analysis system.
  3. Integration and access of data from SERNAPESCA’s environmental and health monitoring programs: access and improved data management, integration and visualization of data through data services end user tools.
  4. Integration and access to new data sources: processes and procedures for the management, monitoring and modeling of data for both operational and strategic planning uses.

The primary purpose of the SIMA platform was to deliver increased science-based functionality to personnel across SERNAPESCA that have responsibilities in managing various aspects of aquaculture, including both tactical, strategic and compliance assessment, routine reporting and incident and emergency response. The SIMA platform was installed on SERNAPESCA infrastructure and was available to personnel through a web-based landing page which provides users with a series of function-based entry points into the SIMA platform. This included, data exploration, mapping, modelling of connectivity, various risk assessment tools and the running of various standard and customised reports. SIMA enabled a diversity of existing and new information products – such as the environmental and ecosystem risk models – to be brought together and the results were displayed in a web-based platform.

One of the new functionalities was the ability to access in near real-time information on oceanographic and water quality conditions and sediment dynamics of the Los Lagos region. Another functionality was the access to three risk-based modules of varying complexity that could be used to track various risks that can occur throughout the planning and production cycles, including those associated with the present and projected state of the physical environment, production loads, economic performance and social acceptance of production.

The modular architecture of SIMA supports scaling the platform to other regions across Chile or to develop functionality to address additional topics including non-salmonid aquaculture, fisheries, conservation, harmful algal blooms and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities (IUU).

Internationally, the SIMA platform incorporates a risk based and integrated systems approach with leading data management services sets a new benchmark, not only for global aquaculture but for all marine industries.


Steven AL, Andrewartha JR, Bernal PA, Bravo F, Bustamante RH, Condie SA, Crane MStJ, Dambacher JM, Dowideit S, Fulton EA, Gorton R, Herzfeld M, Hodge J, Hoshino E, Kenna E, Margvelashvili N, Moody NJG, Ocampo D, Pitcher R, Richards S, Rizwi F, Aryal SK, Skerratt JH, Steven A, Thomas L, Tickell S, van Putten IE, Vaquero P, Wild D, Wild-Allen K (2018) SIMA-Austral FIE V008- Integrated Ecosystem-based Sanitary and Environmental Management System for Aquaculture. Final Report. CSIRO Australia.

Steven ADL, Aryal S, Bernal P, Bravo F, Bustamante RH, Condie S, Dambacher JM, Dowideit S, Fulton EA, Gorton R, Herzfeld M, Hodge J, Hoshino J, Kenna E, Ocampo D, van Putten I, Rizwi F, Skerratt J, Steven A, Thomas L, Tickell S, Vaquero P, Wild D & Wild-Allen K (2019): SIMA Austral: An operational information system for managing the Chilean aquaculture industry with international application, Journal of Operational Oceanography, DOI: 10.1080/1755876X.2019.1636606