United States Ambassador H.E Judith Cefkin delivers her address during the 2016 Fishackathon Event
The United States Embassy 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, Her Excellency Judith Cefkin said that the event is a partnership to source new problems to enduring challenges from overfishing, to illegal fishing practices.
This, she stated, is being done by harnessing the power of technology and applying it to create platforms and applications around such issues.
“This is an issue of great importance for the United States and, in fact, all of us, because we share the oceans and rely on their resources,” she told the participants of the 2016 Fishackathon Event.
“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 utilise the thinking and skills of new audiences to provide innovative solutions to these problems,” H.E Cefkin added.
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.
H.E. 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 that the public-private partnership that the Fishackathon Event is focused on is a very important theme in the University’s development in the Pacific.
USP Vice-Chancellor and President Profesor Rajesh Chandra, US Ambassador H.E Judith Cefkin, USP Vice-President Administration Dr Dilawar Grewal with the participants of the 2016 Fishackathon Event.
According to Professor Chandra, this event and competition aims at centralising on the expansion of mobile telephony and internet used across the world to address sustainable fisheries challenges.
He added that Pacific Island Countries are now changing the perception that it is not a region of small countries but a region of large ocean space.
“It is the custodian of the biggest ocean that has a great deal to contribute to humanity’s survival,” Professor Chandra said.
The 2016 Fishackathon Event ended on 24 April, with the announcement of the host site winner.
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