USP, US EMBASSY FOCUS ON SUSTAINABLE FISHERY
Public-private partnership aims to capitalise on expansion of mobile phone and internet use to address fishery challenges
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.
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.
Participants of the 2016 Fishackathon Event at the University of the South Pacific’s Japan-Pacific ICT theatre in Suva.
United States Ambassador Judith Cefkin delivers her address during the 2016 Fishackathon Event.