In this paper, we propose a fuzzy logic-based approach which exploits remotely sensed multispectral measurements of the reflected sunlight to estimate the concentration of optically active constituents of the sea water. The relation between the concentrations of interest and the subsurface reflectances is modeled by a set of fuzzy rules extracted automatically from the data through a two-step procedure. First, a compact initial rule base is generated by projecting onto the input variables the clusters produced by a fuzzy clustering algorithm. Then, a genetic algorithm is applied to optimize the rules. Appropriate constraints maintain the semantic properties of the initial model during the genetic evolution. Results of the application of the fuzzy model obtained from data simulated with an ocean color model over the channels of the MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer are shown and discussed.