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FISHAZAM.COM wins Fishackathon London 2016 with an app using spectrometry to combat fish fraud. It’s Shazam for Fish!

  • Fish fraud and mislabelling pose serious threat to sustainability
  • Illegally caught fish, including overfished species, are laundered into the supply chain
  • 87% of marine fish stocks are either fully exploited, over exploited or depleted
  • How do we ensure sustainable fishery? This is where technology can help

Over the weekend of 22nd April, teams of coders, computer programmers, software designers, data analysts, creatives and technology experts gathered to compete in a global Fishackathon, at the invitation of the U.S. Embassy in London.

Fishackathon London was held at The Economist Group’s Canary Wharf office in Cabot Square on 22nd -24th April, over thirty hackers formed eight teams to develop new and smarter ways to improve the efficiency of sustainable fishing.  Problem statements came from MarViva Foundation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Billfish Foundation and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative. The London teams were drawn to finding more innovative and cost effective approaches to fisheries data collection to enable fish stock assessment, developing a smartphone app that captures data on fishing practices and catch composition with the least amount of manual data entry and creating an app to enable identification of fish fillets to combat fish fraud.

The judges tasked with selecting a winner and runner-up were:

  • Kristian Teleki, Senior Marine Advisor for The Princes Trust
  • Miranda Johnson, Environment correspondent, The Economist
  • Inigo Everson, Honorary Professor, School of Environmental Sciences, UEA
  • Dr Dougal Goodman, CEO, The Foundation for Science and Technology
  • Gen Ashley, Director, Women Who Code

The Economist understands the important role the ocean plays in our lives and is an advocate for scalable, sustainable investment in fishing. It is possible that ocean fish could disappear in the next few decades, which makes sustainable fishing a priority.

Miranda Johnson, Environment correspondent, The Economist, commented: "The quality of entries was high, especially given that teams had less than thirty-six hours to come up with their solutions. Fishazam’s idea of using infrared spectrometry quickly to identify species in a catch surprised and impressed.  With a third of fish served in America pretending to be something it isn't, events like the Fishackathon are important in finding unusual solutions to reducing fishing fraud"

The global winner of the 2016 Fishackathon will be announced on World Ocean Day, June 8th.