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In this paper, we describe a fuzzy model for the estimation of sea water optically active constituents concentration in case II water. The model is extracted automatically from the data through a two step procedure. First, a fuzzy clustering algorithm is applied to identify a compact initial rule-based model. Then, the model is optimized by means of a genetic algorithm which tunes the rules so as to minimize the error between desired and predicted outputs. Appropriate constraints maintain the semantic properties of the initial model during the genetic evolution. The fuzzy model has been tailored to the multispectral data format of the MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) on board the ESA-ENVISAT satellite launched in March 2002.