Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc. (ROFFS™) is a scientific consulting company based in West Melbourne, Florida (U.S.A.) that is involved with fisheries oceanography, environmental science, and satellite remote sensing. Founded in 1986 by Mitchell A. Roffer (Ph.D.) in Miami, Florida, we are best known for our tactical and strategic fisheries forecasts that are the result of the integration of satellite and other fisheries oceanographic data. However, we are intensively involved a broad range of projects from ship routing, oil and gas drilling operations, seismic and fish surveys, fisheries development, aquaculture, environmental monitoring, and applied scientific research.
All of our operational fish forecasting products are designed to allow fishing vessels to concentrate their fishing effort in the most productive waters to increase operational efficiency. The analyses incorporate numerous factors including water temperature, water color, orientation of local currents, history of ocean fronts, bottom topography, biological quality of the water (chlorophyll, plankton, clarity, colored dissolved organic matter, etc.), forage preference of the target species, availability of forage, as well as, bio-geochemical habitat preferences of the forage and target species.
Our analyses have been used successfully by commercial, professional tournament, recreational fishermen and researchers for a variety of fish species including tuna, marlin, sailfish, swordfish, mahi, wahoo, shark, mackerel, sardine, anchovy, pilchard, herring, bluefish, squid, as well as, cod and hake.
ROFFS™ continues to work on numerous fisheries related consulting and research projects. Some of these have involved bluefin tuna, other tunas, mahi, billfish, sharks, squid, pilchard, and mackerel, including work on migrations, daily movements, population dynamics and reproductive ecology including fish larvae in both domestic U.S. and international waters. In addition, we have been involved in marine mammal population surveys and stranding investigations along the U.S. east coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. Our research involves providing real-time oceanographic analyses operationally to a variety of federal and state governmental, as well as, academic researchers. We evaluate the match and mismatch of habitat preferences and oceanographic conditions to understand changes in catchability (availability and vulnerability), distribution, and abundance.
We have conducted research related to new fisheries development in waters off the Azores, Oman, Libya, South Africa and United States (Hawaii). ROFFS™ also provides services for aquaculture site evaluations and penning operations. We were involved for several years as the organizer and Principal Investigator in a collaborative research project with fisheries scientists from NOAA (National Marine Fisheries Service and Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory) and other government and academic institutions that was primarily funded by NASA and NOAA related to highly migratory species reproductive ecology, habitat modeling and stock assessment as influenced by climate variation and change. We are continuing this research. ROFFS™ completed a fisheries oceanographic research project with the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) involving demersal fish species stock assessment. We are members of other IOOS associations. We are working with these other associations, the fishing industry, and NOAA on other fisheries oceanographic research including North Atlantic mackerel, climate change, and ocean circulation.
Leveraging our skills and experience in remote sensing and operational oceanography we also provide real-time ocean current information to the oil and gas industry on world-side basis for oil drilling operations, redeployment of equipment, seismic surveys, and ship routing. Our products are designed to provide real-time detailed information on ocean conditions to maximize the operational efficiency and for risk abatement. Our experience suggests that seeing the ocean conditions directly from high resolution satellite data is usually more useful than using ocean models often derived from low resolution satellite data and unconfirmed statistical relationships of temperature, salinity and depth.
ROFFS™ is active in Homeland Security issues related to search and rescue and environmental science and monitoring issues. We provide real-time analyses related to the location and movements of specific water masses that may carry pollutants. Our expertise and reputation resulted in a contract as the “Independent Scientist” for the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection Piney Point Phosphate Waste Water Dispersal Program (2003-2004). After hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005 we provided daily maps of the distribution of the coastal, potentially polluted waters that were used by numerous federal, state emergency management officials, resource managers, and oceanographers. In 2010 in response to the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon oil spill episode ROFFS™ produced a widely used daily Oil Oceanographic Analysis that provided maps and analyses on where the oil and water – oil- dispersant mix had moved and where it was likely to travel over the next 24 hours.
ROFFS™ will continue to provide search and rescue support and other environmental monitoring (chemicals, biota, and currents) to both government and private entities. We feel it is our civic duty to use our skill and experience to benefit society.
We remain active in both the scientific community, as well, as the fisheries resource management community locally, regionally, nationally and on an international basis. We have been a member of NASA’s Biodiversity & Ecological Forecasting Science Team since 2004 and actively participate in NASA’s Ocean Color Science Team.
We are also working on tarpon and bonefish research with the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, billfish research with The Billfish Foundation, and with a host of researchers (including NASA, NOAA, and academia) related to the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON). ROFFS™ is an institutional host in the SECOORA. Dr. Roffer is an Associate member in the Florida Institute of Oceanography and a Member of the Florida Ocean Alliance. He is also an Adjunct Faculty at the Florida Institute of Technology, Department of Ocean Engineering and Sciences.