Monitoring of the coastal environment is vitally important as these areas are of economic value and at the same time highly exposed to anthropogenic influence, in addition to variation of environmental variables. In this paper we show how the combination of bio-optical data from satellites, analysis of water samples, and a ship-mounted automatic flow-through sensor system (Ferrybox) can be used to detect and monitor phytoplankton blooms both spatially and temporally. Chlorophyll a (Chl a) data and turbidity from Ferrybox are combined with remotely sensed Chl a and total suspended matter from the MERIS instrument aboard the satellite ENVISAT (ENVIronmental SATellite) European Space Agency. Data from phytoplankton speciation and enumeration obtained by a national coastal observation network consisting of fish farms and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority are supplemented with data on phytoplankton pigments. All the data sets are then integrated in order to describe phytoplankton bloom dynamics in a Norwegian fjord over a growth season, with particular focus on Emiliania huxleyi. The approach represents a case example of how coastal environmental monitoring can be improved with existing instrument platforms. The objectives of the paper is to present the operative phytoplankton monitoring scheme in Norway, and to present an improved model of how such a scheme can be designed for a large part of the world's coastal areas.