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Proud to host Fishackathon at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy

The event will be held at FAO’s Headquarters in Rome, during a marathon-session 48-hour period
Approximately one in ten people globally rely on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. Fishackathon participants will work to develop applications, systems and tools that will support sustainable fisheries management

“We are very pleased to be hosting the first Rome venue for Fishackathon 2016 during the Earth Day weekend of 22-24 April at the Headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations,” according to Árni M. Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General of FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.

“This is the first time this event is being held at the United Nations. We believe it is fitting that FAO, with its long commitment to supporting member countries in implementing sustainable fisheries and aquaculture policies and practices, will benefit from the creativity and energy offered by the young developers, designers, project managers, and subject matter experts taking part in this interesting initiative.” 

“These technology specialists will be lending their expertise to a sector with enormous potential for rural development in developing countries. Approximately one in ten people globally rely on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. Fish is a key source of animal protein, fatty acids and micronutrients, particularly in developing countries - more than 3.1 billion people depend on fish for at least  20% of their total animal protein intake. And fish is one of the most widely traded food commodities, totaling around 130 billion USD annually, and boosting foreign trade revenues in developing countries.”

Up to 100 information technology students and specialists, developers and designers will participate in the Rome edition of the 48-hour “Fishackathon”, sponsored by the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome in collaboration with the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Partnerships.  Participants will work in marathon sessions over the weekend at FAO headquarters – and held in over 40 cities internationally -  to create applications, systems, and tools for sustainable fishery issues. Issues addressed in past years have included illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, traceability of seafood products, fish identification, and ocean governance.

“FAO has been active in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors over its 70 year history as a specialized agency of the United Nations,” says Mr. Mathiesen. “Over those seven decades, there have been tremendous changes to the sector and the ways it is approached by the international community. In the past, the emphasis on fisheries was largely focused on increasing production. But by the 1990s, there was growing concern about the risks of overfishing, and a clearer understanding about the need to shift to more sustainable production in fisheries and aquaculture.”

“FAO and its member countries have been working to change these trends. Instruments such as the UN Fish Stock Agreement and the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, which just celebrated its twentieth anniversary last year, have been important, internationally negotiated instruments designed to improve sustainable fisheries management.” 

“Another FAO instrument negotiated by member countries, the Port State Measures Agreement, looks as if it will soon enter into force.

The instrument is designed to block fish caught through IUU fishing from ever entering international markets through ports. Twenty-four parties have ratified or acceded to the agreement, and twenty-five are required for the treaty to enter into force.”

Fish is one of the most widely traded food commodities, totaling around 130 billion USD annually, and boosting foreign trade revenues in developing countries

“With a better understanding of the issues we face, clear guidelines and practices on responsible fisheries and aquaculture management, and higher visibility on the international agenda, this is an ideal time for the development of applications, systems and tools to address challenges to fisheries and aquaculture management. We look forward to seeing the results emerging from this year’s Fishackathon.”

“FAO welcomes the volunteer coders, technology experts and designers who will call FAO home during this 48-hour marathon coding session. We look forward to seeing the resulting applications, systems and tools that will result from this hard work.”

Teams will work in FAO’s Atrium, racing against the clock to come up with creative solutions to today’s pressing fisheries’ problems
The view over Ancient Rome from FAO Headquarters

For more background information on the event and on how to register, see the following pages for information and registration instructions.

Participants must be over 18 years of age. Participants will take part in teams between 2-8 people to come up with solutions to one of nine fisheries-related problem statements provided.

Teams can register together or individuals will be placed in touch with other participants to join teams by sharing interests and areas of expertise.

One team participating at the FAO event will be judged the winner. The winning team will be automatically entered into the global competition.

The global winning team will be announced on World Oceans Day on 8 June  2016 and will receive a 10 000 USD cash prize. In addition, one team’s creation will be further independently developed through a US government contractor.

Register now to join this exciting event!


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