Tetra Tech’s Dr. Gina Green, a senior associate in Tetra Tech’s International Development Services practice, presented to the Our Ocean conference about her work with fisheries and the newly launched mFish public-private partnership (PPP) in June 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the Our Ocean conference on June 16 and 17, where he announced the launch of the mFish PPP, which will leverage the adoption of mobile phone use across the developing world to address sustainable fishing challenges and improve economic conditions in fishing villages. The partnership involves the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships, communications company /tone, and mobile operators association GSMA.

The Our Ocean conference focused on sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and ocean acidification. It brought together more than 400 participants from more than 80 nations to review the state of the science and determine a way forward to protect our ocean. Participants included government officials, scientists, practitioners, famous advocates, lawmakers, and international ocean and foreign policy communities.

Dr. Green, an expert in natural resource management, presented during the conference panel “The Power of the Marketplace in Promoting Ocean Stewardship.” Her presentation highlighted mFish and the use of mobile technology to improve fisheries management in the Philippines as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) ECOFISH project. The partnership will establish a means to reach, teach, and engage underserved fishing communities. It will use mobile services to provide real-time information to help fishermen, managers, and the seafood industry to communicate, access information, and share data seamlessly. The plan is for this information to be  used to collect and analyze catch data, monitor illegal fishing, trace seafood along supply chains, and improve fishing safety.

Simultaneously, Dr. Green worked closely with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, and members of the ECOFISH project to participate in a multi-day “Fishackathon” competition, which involved development of technology prototypes to address fisheries management problems. The Fishackathon was held on June 13 and 14 in New York City, Silicon Valley, Boston, Baltimore, and Miami.

The ECOFISH project prepared a specific problem statement related to improving the quality and effectiveness of catch data measurement.  In the Philippines, government officials and scientists currently struggle with antiquated systems to measure the number, type, and quality of fish being pulled out of the ocean.  This catch data is essential in understanding declines or improvements in fisheries. Problem statements were provided by researchers, practitioners, and fisheries experts throughout the world.

Hundreds of developers worked continuously through the weekend to design prototypes (apps) to address these problems. At the Our Oceans conference, a number of winning solutions were announced. Winning developers received a range of prizes, including a sponsored trip to visit an ECOFISH site in the Philippines.

Global leaders from /tone, the U.S. Department of State, and the World Bank in association with GSMA hosted the mFish launch at the World Bank on June 17. The CEO of GSMA, several ministers and other senior delegates, as well as a select number of public and private sector partners attended. Dr. Green also attended the event, where she was recognized for her work with mFish.