Pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship aims to cap­i­talise on ex­pan­sion of mobile phone and in­ter­net use to ad­dress fishery chal­lenges

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The United States Em­bassy in Fiji in part­ner­ship with The Uni­ver­sity of the South Pa­cific (USP) hosted the 2016 Fishackathon Event which took place dur­ing the Earth Day week­end, from 22 to 24 April 2016.

Fishackathon is a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship that aims to cap­i­talise on the ex­pan­sion of mobile phone and in­ter­net use across the de­vel­op­ing world to ad­dress sus­tain­able fishery chal­lenges. The Fishackathon event, which is an ini­tia­tive launched at the first “Our Ocean” con­fer­ence in 2014, called on coders and sci­ence en­thu­si­asts from around the world to come to­gether to cre­ate new ap­pli­ca­tions and tools for use on mobile phones and other de­vices, which can help fish­ers work smarter and more safely in sus­tain­able fish­ing. This year marked the third an­nual event and was, for the time, hosted in Suva. Speak­ing at the open­ing of the 2016 Fishackathon event at USP’s Ja­pan-Pa­cific ICT Mul­tipur­pose theatre, United States Am­bas­sador, Ju­dith Ce­fkin said the event was a part­ner­ship to source new prob­lems to en­dur­ing chal­lenges from over­fish­ing and il­le­gal fish­ing prac­tices. This, she said, was be­ing done by har­ness­ing the power of tech­nol­ogy and ap­ply­ing it to cre­ate plat- forms and ap­pli­ca­tions around such is­sues.

“Many of you will likely feel the im­pact of the prob­lems, such as over­fish­ing, ocean acid­i­fi­ca­tion and sea level rise. It is im­por­tant that we in­volve and use the think­ing and skills of new au­di­ences to pro­vide in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions to th­ese prob­lems,” Ms Ce­fkin said. The pi­lot Fishackathon was held in five ci­ties around the United States in 2014. This year, the event has ex­panded to 42 ci­ties on six con­ti­nents, as well as a vir­tual hackathon. “We hope to see many of your so­lu­tions turn from an idea into an ac­tual tool that fish­ers, gov­ern­ments and sci­en­tists can use on the ground to make a dif­fer­ence for our ocean,” she told the par­tic­i­pants. Ms Ce­fkin thanked USP for host­ing the event and pro­vid­ing ma­jor spon­sor­ship through its Book­cen­tre for lo­cal prizes. USP vice-chan­cel­lor and pres­i­dent Pro­fes­sor Rajesh Chan­dra said the pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship that the Fishackathon Event was fo­cused on is a very im­por­tant theme in the uni­ver­sity’s de­vel­op­ment in the Pa­cific.

He said the Pa­cific Is­land Coun­tries were now chang­ing the per­cep­tion of not be­ing a re­gion of small coun­tries but a re­gion of large ocean space.

Photo: Uni­ver­sity of the South Pa­cific

Seated from left: Uni­ver­sity of the South Pa­cific vice-chan­cel­lor and pres­i­dent Pro­fe­sor Rajesh Chan­dra, US Am­bas­sador Ju­dith Ce­fkin, USP vice-pres­i­dent ad­min­is­tra­tion Di­lawar Gre­wal with the par­tic­i­pants of the 2016 Fishackathon Event.

Photo: Ju­dith B. Ce­fkin/Twit­ter

Par­tic­i­pants of the 2016 Fishackathon Event at the Uni­ver­sity of the South Pa­cific’s Ja­pan-Pa­cific ICT theatre in Suva.

Photo: Uni­ver­sity of the South Pa­cific

United States Am­bas­sador Ju­dith Ce­fkin de­liv­ers her ad­dress dur­ing the 2016 Fishackathon Event.

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