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Seattle Fishackathon Brings Coding and Creativity Together for Fisheries

4/25/2016 : Amy Bensinger, Senior Program Manager, Vulcan Technology

Seattle Fishackathon Brings Coding and Creativity Together for Fisheries

4/25/2016 : Amy Bensinger, Senior Program Manager, Vulcan Technology

Earth Day weekend was a win for the future of our fish as Fishackathons were held in 40 cities and 27 countries. Vulcan joined the City of Seattle, Microsoft and the University of Washington to host the 2016 Seattle Fishackathon

This annual, world-wide initiative is led by the US Department of State and is designed to promote sustainable fishing and ocean health using creative applications of technology. Seattle's weekend-long challenge drew one of the largest groups of engineers, fishery scientists and advocates—and they forged new friendships as they created amazing solutions.

In Seattle, the Fishackathon was held at Impact Hub in Pioneer Square and kicked off by UW’s fisheries expert Dr. Ray Hilborn, Vulcan’s own Dr. Mark Powell, and some delicious (and sustainable) seafood hors d‘oeuvres served by chefs Ethan Stowell and Branden Karow. After kickoff speeches (including video of Mark’s epic Duwamish River swim), a representative from the State Department released 9 problem statements with a message from Secretary of State John Kerry. 

To form teams, participants pitched ideas to each other and queried Fishackathon subject-matter experts in fisheries science, conservation, data analysis, design and analytical modeling. Several members of Vulcan Technology joined the event. 

The hackathon work Friday night and all-day Saturday was immersive—teams huddled together sharing ideas and asking questions from on-site experts. It was also collaborative – with teams working together and helping each other with data sources and information about fisheries analytics—including queries to teams competing in other cities. Throughout the Fishackathon, the atmosphere was fun, focused and overwhelmingly positive (fueled by awesome food and terrible fish puns.) The ideas pitched on Sunday showcased creative concepts and the expert panel of judges were assessing the solutions based on quality, innovation, impact, ease of scale and implementation. 

While each one of the nine teams submitted well-developed—and unique—ideas, team "King Triton" was named the winner of the Seattle event for their integrated database solution to vessel identification as an illegal fishing enforcement tool. They now move on to the global competition. 

Fishackathon winners

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