Fishackathon: Fishing for Sustainable Code


Few moments compare to the pressure-filled environments of hackathons, where the best developers from around the globe cram into a rented room with 24 hours to conceive, design, and create an app that wins a chance to present an idea, showcase talent, and gain invaluable exposure.

But this June, the coding community will volunteer to feel that pressure while answering a call to help solve one of the world’s greatest challenges. In conjunction with the U.S. Department of State’s “Our Ocean” Conference, the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnership brought us a new type of hackathon: the Fishackathon.


“Wait,” you must be thinking. “How does the State Department expect me to hack a fish in 24 hours? Everyone knows you need a holiday weekend for that.” The truth, it turns out, is not that funny.

One half of the fish caught for consumption comes from small-scale and artisanal fisheries, but they now face a growing list of emerging issues.

Overfishing, marine degradation, increasing fuel costs, competition from commercial vessels, and illegal fishing all confront the operations of small-scale fishermen across the globe. Worse yet, global food security and individual communities depend on the output of these fisheries for survival.

In order to address these challenges, the State Department announced its coordination of five Fishackathons on June 13 to create solutions for the sustainable management of fisheries. Applications developed during each Fishackathon will aim to help fishermen work smarter and more safely while allowing them to report catches, build the capacity for better management, and create networks to improve the monitoring of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

“Vision without execution is hallucination.” - Thomas Edison

Unlike other hackathons, solutions that demonstrate reliability and sustainability will be recognized with special awards.

In this age of disposable software, the Fishackathon seeks to elevate the idea that great execution is equal to great ideas and design. All entries will be analyzed by a third party code quality service, CAST Highlight, that assesses the code’s reliability, complexity and maintainability based on rapid code scanning that identifies code patterns and anti-patterns to evaluate the applications potential risks and excessive complexity.

Hackathon entries with the best overall score will receive awards, ranging from $5,000 cash to a trip to an international fishery directly benefitting from the application.

Using minimal resources and maximum brainpower, sea-conscious coders will create applications and innovative technology prototypes to address sustainable fishery challenges that will be deployed on multiple platforms.

For more information, check out the Fishackathon website, follow the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Partnerships at @GPIatState, or use #CodeForFish.

Pete Pizzutillo
Pete Pizzutillo Vice President
Pete Pizzutillo is Vice President at CAST and has spent the last 15 years working in the software industry. He passionately believes Software Intelligence is the cornerstone to successful digital transformation, and he actively helps customers realize the benefits of CAST's software analytics to ensure their IT systems are secure, resilient and efficient to support the next wave of modern business.
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