The University of NSW is set to host Australia’s first Fishackathon in April, part of a global initiative looking to raise awareness and help develop innovative solutions in order to address overfishing and marine sustainability issues.

Developed by the US Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships, the pilot Fishackathon in 2014 brought together coders in five cities around the United States, with the second annual event last year expanding to 12 cities around the world, including hackathons in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Facilitated by UNSW alumni and entrepreneurs Mitchell Kardan and Anatoly Logunov, the Sydney hackathon will be one of more than 40 held around the world this year.

“We first came across the Fishackathon initiative last year, when we took some time out to travel to an oceanography conference in Cairns to learn more about the science and the issues and speak to some of the global experts in the field,” said Logunov.

“Learning about the Fishackathon initiative, we were surprised when we saw no involvement from Australia, considering how often we interact with the oceans in our culture, how large our coastlines and marine protected areas are, and how significant seafood and fishing are to our economy. We thus decided to bring the event to Australia for the very first time.”

The event will be held on April 22-24, coinciding with Earth Day. Participants will be asked to develop solutions for issues including lost fishing gear, fish identification, and marine fishing law compliance.

“We want to ensure that this event raises awareness of these issues in Australia, and engages the amazing local innovation and entrepreneur community to consider applying their skills and experience in coding, science, and technology towards the development of positive social and environmental solutions,” Logunov said.

Last year’s winners were Team KnowFish of Atlanta, which created an app that shows users fishing species, laws, and regulations based on their specific location, and Team Fish-o-Tron of London, whose app measures and tracks fish. The Atlanta team won a trip to attend and demo its solution at last year’s Our Ocean conference in Chile, while the London team was invited to present its app at last month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

You can register for the Fishackathon here. Logunov and Kardan are also calling for interested mentors and marine and fisheries industry professionals to take part.

Image: US Secretary of State John Kerry testing out an app created at a Fishackathon. Source: Fishackathon.

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