Fishing for change

Scientists predict that overfishing will have a dire effect on the ocean by the middle of this century. According to a 2014 UN report, 90 percent of fish stocks are either fully fished or overfished, and the US coral reef task force estimates that 70 per cent of the world's reefs  – where many fish species live and breed – are threatened or have been destroyed.

The collapse of fish stocks and marine ecosystems will cause an environmental catastrophe. But it’s not all doom and gloom; it is a fate that can be easily averted. The ocean and ocean wildlife can survive, for the benefit of generations to come, if we put the right measures in place. These measures include good governance, increased public awareness, and technological innovation.

I have often blogged about the need for marine sanctuaries, and increased mindfulness around what we take from the ocean. However, as we move into a world driven by technology, it’s time to shine a spotlight on the role technology can play in ocean conservation and helping us to create a sustainable future.

I’m proud to be supporting the US Department of State’s third annual Fishackathon. The event calls on brilliant minds from all around the world to capitalise on the expansion of mobile phone use to address sustainable fishery challenges.

Kicking off on Earth Day, and running over the weekend of April 22-24 in over 40 cities worldwide,  teams of volunteer coders and technologists will consider problem statements from fisheries experts. An expert panel of judges will then evaluate the teams’ presentations and reward the groups that most effectively develop usable solutions to the problem of global overfishing.

Fishackathon is a wonderful example of how we can use technology to address some of the world’s most challenging issues. As an animal lover, ocean enthusiast, member of the OceanElders and supporter of Ocean Unite, I’m passionate about protecting the ocean and its species, and am looking forward to seeing what wonderful innovations the Fishackathon spurs. I encourage all coders and fish fans, or anyone else who’s interested, to participate in this event.

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