Manager   •   almost 9 years ago

Problem Statement 15-4: "App to monitor Aquatic Invasive Species that educates fishers, divers, and swimmers."

Background on Sustainable Fishing Issue
Invasive species are a problem. Combating them requires scalable solutions, e.g. having a few people go out and try to kill invasive species won't work. You need citizen science to help. Hacking has historically been very successful in developing user-friendly software tools to enable citizens to participate in bigger issues, e.g. citizen science.
Therefore, let's develop software solutions to the invasive species problem through a hack.

The fishing industry is actually a stellar example of efforts to enable citizens to tackle the invasive species problem. In particular the lionfish invasion has many organizations organizing cookouts, killing marathons, etc.
Problem Statement
My question to the hacker community is, could you develop a user friendly, engaging smartphone app that will teach/enable fisherman, divers, and swimmers to do the exact opposite of what we've been teaching them to do for so long: kill. Can we encourage them to correctly identify invasive species and have a cookout thereafter. I envision photography + image recognition + tracking/reporting (for scientists to be able analyze datasets) + actionable information (okay to kill, link to recipes, incentives such as "points" or integration into supply chains).

Additional Background
This last point on integration to supply chains deserves some comment. It is amazing to me the two problems that are at opposite ends of the spectrum that could be addressed here: sustainable production protein/omega-3 fatty acid sources (overfishing, over farming), and invasive species. Imagine a world where invasive species are managed just enough to provide a sustainable source of protein while at the same time not irreparably damaging ecosystems. And if this is done by citizens, not conglomerates, there is a chance to (a) open markets/democratize our food chain away from big ag, and (b) empower citizens from both an employment and nutritional level.

Core Category
Fisheries Management; Conservation

Organization Name
Harvard University

Organization Address
Cambridge, MA 0218

Organization Point of Contact (Name)
Brad Zamft

Organization Point of Contact (Title)
Visiting Scientist

Organization Point of Contact (Email Address)

Focus Area
Data Collection

Solution Category


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