Fishackathon 2016 Begins in Suva

The U.S. Department of State’s third annual Fishackathon begins today on Earth Day in 40 cities around the world, including at the University of South Pacific in Suva.

Fishackathon, organized by the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships, is a public- private partnership that brings together the U.S. government with the private sector and civil society to answer Secretary Kerry’s call in saving our ocean. The event calls on coders, designers, and science enthusiasts from all around the world to come together over a weekend to create new applications and tools to address issues in sustainable fishing.

Fishackathon was first organized in June 2014 around Secretary Kerry’s inaugural Our Ocean conference, and has continued as a lead-up event to subsequent Our Ocean conferences, including the 2016 conference in September. In 2014, Fishackathon brought together coders at aquariums and tech hubs in 5 domestic cities. Last year, the second annual Fishackathon took place in 12 cities around the world. This year, the event has expanded to 40 cities on six continents, as well as a virtual hackathon.

In Suva, the U.S. Embassy partnered with the University of South Pacific to organize this event, which will start at 6pm on Friday, April 22 at the USP’s Japan-Pacific ICT Center. The Embassy is grateful to the University and to our sponsors from Telecom Fiji, USP Book Center and Connect Fiji, for their generous support of the event. In Ambassador Cefkin’s words, “Many of us here today will likely feel the impact of the problems, such as overfishing, ocean acidification, and sea level rise. It is imperative that we involve and utilize the thinking and skills of new audiences to provide innovative solutions to these problems.”

After the Fishackathon ends, a global panel of mobile and fisheries experts will review the winning solution from each site and select grand prize winners, to be announced on World Oceans Day on June 8. One team will receive a $10,000 cash prize, provided by Virgin, and one team’s creation will be further independently developed through a U.S. government contractor.