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Fishackathon invites conservation-minded techies to help solve overfishing

April 21, 2016

This weekend, San José and more than 40 others cities around the world will challenge groups of coders and scientists to find solutions to problems related to overfishing and fisheries management.

It’s the third annual Fishackathon, an event hosted worldwide by the U.S. Department of State, this year to coincide with Earth Day. The local organizers are the U.S. Embassy and the nonprofit conservation group MarViva.

Participants will spend Saturday and Sunday huddled in groups at Lead University in Rohrmoser, trying to come up with innovative ways to leverage smartphones and other consumer technology to respond to challenges posed by conservationists and fisheries managers.

One of last year’s winning projects was a mobile app that gives port and fisheries inspectors easy access to information on fishing laws and regulations, local species and maps of restricted fishing zones based on a smartphone user’s geolocation.

The other winning project was a mobile app allowing researchers and inspectors to take photos of landed fish with a smartphone, automatically calculate the fish’s length and upload the information to a database.

The projects developed across the globe in this year’s Fishackathon will be featured on a website where people can like, share and leave comments about the projects. You can browse last year’s projects here.

The winning team from Costa Rica will represent the country in the global Fishackathon competition, where the grand prize is $10,000 plus funding from international firms to develop the project.

Check out the Fish-a-tron, 2015 Fishackathon winner:

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