Showing posts tagged as "seafood watch"
Hacking for Healthy Oceans
For 36 hours over Father’s Day Weekend, the Aquarium hosted an unusual sleepover. Few of the participants got much rest.
We were one of five sites for a first-ever State Department-sponsored Fishackathon. The goal was to find technological solutions so fishermen in the developing world can make their catch more sustainable.
Teams of coders, designers and project managers created website solutions and apps for smartphones and cell phones - tools that small-scale fishermen can use in places like West Africa and the Philippines to document their catch and report illegal fishing.
Nearly 40 participants gathered on a Friday night in Monterey with laptops, sleeping bags - and novel ideas for creating tools that will be effective in parts of the world where internet access and high-tech equipment is limited. By Sunday morning, they had solutions to offer.
In addition to tackling two State Department problem statements, we also asked our hackers to help with a Seafood Watch challenge: How can information about how fish were caught travel through the supply chain from the boat where it’s landed to the market or restaurant where it’s finally sold?
The outcome? Incredible.
The results were beyond our wildest expectations.
A four-person team we welcomed from the UC-Berkeley School of Information won the top national prize for “Fish DB”, a multi-layered solution to one of the State Department challenges. And a three-person team that formed during the Fishackathon won the Seafood Watch challenge with its “Go Fish!” app: a simple labeling system using colors and numbers to show sustainability and freshness of seafood items. The app incorporates gaming principles, rewards and social sharing features to encourage consumers to buy ocean-friendly seafood.
"I can’t believe what great results these teams produced over the weekend!" said Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly, director of Seafood Watch. "We will definitely tap into the talents of hackers in the future."
An appealing location
It might not be too hard to lure them back to Monterey, if comments from the Berkeley team are any indication. They used words like “epic” and “thrilled” to describe sleeping in front of the Kelp Forest and Open Sea, and having access to the knowledge of Aquarium staff and State Department experts.
“We had a blast!” team member Isha Dandavate told the UC-Berkeley news service. “I can’t even express how cool it was. Having the hackathon in an aquarium has sort of ruined us for all other hackathons.”
The State Department was equally thrilled, and is now making plans for a 2015 Fishackathon around World Oceans Day.
What runs on caffeine and works all night to help save our oceans? Coders and designers tackling fisheries challenges with innovative technology. Put your skills to use with a #Fishackathon at the Aquarium, with prizes for the best solutions.
Learn more and register
(Photo: Greenpeace/Gavin Newman)
#Hackathon for Healthy Oceans
Calling all coders (and designers and project managers, too)!
The State Department and the Aquarium need your talents for a project supporting ocean wildlife and healthy oceans.
It all takes place during a #Fishackathon in Monterey, beginning under the full moon on Friday, June 13.
We’ll feed you and put you up at the Aquarium for two days while you #CodeForFish – with our living exhibits as your inspiration. It’s a chance to use your skills to tackle two big fisheries challenges that need solutions if we want our oceans – and ocean wildlife – to stay healthy for future generations.
National event, with prizes
The hackathon in Monterey is one of five simultaneous events taking place across the country during the first-ever #Fishackathon.
Prizes for the cleanest code and best solutions include cash prizes of $5,000 and $1,000, a trip to the Philippines, and a Monterey vacation getaway.
The winning teams will be part of a Google Hangout on Monday, June 16 during the State Department’s Our Ocean 2014 Ocean Summit in Washington, DC.
We’re looking for teams of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest for a day and two nights of creative coding, design and project management, ending Sunday morning, June 15.
Looking for the perfect summer adventure? Explore the Galapagos Islands, taste your way through Napa Valley or bring the whole family to dive in our Great Tidepool! There’s something to excite everyone in our Cooking for Solutions Auction. Proceeds support our Seafood Watch program.
Place your bid now
Check out our new Seafood Watch blog! Help protect fish and ocean animals by making good decisions when purchasing seafood
Looking for something simple to do for our oceans this #EarthDay? Make sustainable seafood choices with our Seafood Watch app—featured on iTunes!
Get it now
Cooking Up a Storm — and Solutions!
Chef John Ash is a longtime supporter of our Seafood Watch program — and will be honored as our 2014 Educator of the Year at Cooking for Solutions on May 16-18.
He’s also up for another honor: a James Beard Award for best single-subject cookbook, for Culinary Birds: The Ultimate Poultry Cookbook. His co-author, James Fraioli, collaborated with Seafood Watch on another cookbook, Ocean Friendly Cuisine.
John is a tireless advocate for sustainable cuisine from land and sea, and an award-winning cooking school teacher as well as mentor to fellow chefs.
You can discover first-hand what a great teacher he is during one of two hands-on DYI cooking classes at Cooking for Solutions: Saturday’s Smoked and Cured Salmon class, or Sunday’s session featuring Grilled Pizza with John Ash.
John is just one of a half-dozen participants in this year’s Cooking for Solutions events who are 2014 James Beard Award finalists, including our culinary partner Cindy Pawlcyn, and chefs Richard Blais, Michael Leviton, Charles Phan and Jonathon Sawyer. A week ago, Alton Brown was honored by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
All in all, it’s a blue-ribbon celebration of sustainability!
We’d love to know: what’s one simple thing you do to help create healthier oceans? Here’s a suggestion: Carry a Seafood Watch guide or use our app to make good choices! It’s enough to make a seal smile…
Shaping the Future for Healthy Oceans: Together, We Can
Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard was the opening keynote speaker for the World Ocean Summit convened in Half Moon Bay, Calif. by The Economist and hosted in association with National Geographic. The summit brings together leaders from business, government, academia and the nonprofit world to talk about ways to reconcile economic development and ocean conservation, and to shape debate about future governance of the ocean.
Julie’s remarks, and those of former Aquarium trustee Leon Panetta, delivered a powerful and inspiring call to action as the three-day conference begins. Here’s what she had to say:
Welcome everyone and thank you for making the journey to the coast of California for the important work of the next few days.
I grew up just a few miles away, over the mountains, in what’s today known as Silicon Valley. I’m just one of many who have drawn inspiration and energy from this very special piece of ocean along our coast. For the past 30 years, along with my involvement as a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, it’s been my privilege to direct the Monterey Bay Aquarium – where we’ve introduced over 50 million people to the incredible ocean life just off our coast.
This evening we stand on the shores of a vast ocean system whose health will determine the future prosperity of the human species, and our very survival. Right now we are, both literally and figuratively, on the edge. The collective action of everyone in this room – whatever we decide to do – will shape the future for humanity on this planet.
The oceans: Key to our our survival
By being here, I am assuming that each of you already understands the critical role the oceans play in enabling life on Earth to exist. They make the oxygen we breathe and buffer us from the impacts of rising greenhouse gases and global temperatures. They serve up protein for millions of families and children. They’re our pantry, our lungs, our playground, and a massive driver of global commerce. And, they’re a source of inspiration and innovation for technologies that will sustain us into the future.
This stretch of coast where we stand has inspired generations of ocean leaders, from scientists to policy makers, from technology innovators to ocean advocates. The shores of Monterey Bay are home to two dozen public and private research institutions that are using new technology – and new thinking – to understand the living ocean and inform a course for the future.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, founded by my father 25 years ago, is a pioneer in developing new technology to accelerate our understanding of the rapidly changing ocean and the role of human impact in that change. Other institutions here are focusing on understanding changing ocean chemistry and food webs, documenting the epic migrations of tunas to inform fisheries management, and analyzing weather systems that affect everything from shipping safety and national security to rainfall patterns on our farmlands.
California is leading the way
Indeed, Monterey Bay is one of most studied pieces of ocean on the planet. And in turn, California has demonstrated huge leadership in environmental policy, from legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions to the largest marine protected area network in the United States. And yet, the more we learn, the more complexity the ocean reveals to us. We’re scrambling for predictability and solutions in an era of escalating change.
It’s fantastic to see so many great thinkers gathered to talk about the ocean. Based on my long term experience as a trustee of the Packard Foundation, I can tell you that 30 years ago, few funders and nonprofits were focused on ocean issues. Today, it’s gratifying to see growing attention to the ocean – after all, it is Earth’s largest natural system.
The work of government, nonprofits and learning institutions has driven much of this progress, fueled with a lot of help from private funders and leaders who care. But there’s still a missing factor that’s not fully engaged, and it’s one that I believe is the critical key to reversing the trajectory we’re on – and that factor is business leadership.
A vital role for business
That’s where you all come in. In recent years, new ocean initiatives are focusing on partnerships among business, government and nongovernmental organization players. These initiatives are yielding promising results, but collectively we can and must do more.
The 2012 Economist Ocean Summit concluded that the health of the oceans must be included in Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. It’s a long-overdue and welcome idea – because business leadership has so much to contribute to solving the challenges we face.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium itself is a product of a transformational collaboration between technology business leaders and conservation scientists. Today, the Aquarium hosts nearly 2 million people a year. It’s an anchor for a thriving tourism economy, in turn supporting conservation science and building a constituency for the oceans.
Success for Seafood Watch
The Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, now in its 15th year, is an example of how successful business partnerships can improve the health of the oceans, and the well-being of people worldwide – blending science, market data, and technology to generate environmental, social, and economic benefits.
Today, more than 100,000 business locations in North America rely on Seafood Watch science to inform their purchasing practices. We have partnerships with the two largest food service companies on the continent – Compass Group and ARAMARK – along with global food products companies like Mars. They all have made firm commitments to shift their seafood purchases to sustainable sources, and they’re reaping market benefits as a result.
In 1996, with support from the Packard Foundation and other funders, Unilever and World Wildlife Fund partnered to create the Marine Stewardship Council, to change the way fish are caught, marketed and purchased. Why? Because Unilever knew that if nothing changed, it would run out of fish to sell. Staying in business is a powerful driver. And, this collaboration will help assure global food security.
Sustainable seafood commitments are growing
Today, global retailers who have made sustainable seafood commitments represent 76 percent of the market, with more than $22 billion in estimated seafood sales. In North America, retailers with seafood commitments represent 97 percent of market share among the top 25 retailers. Similar commitments are growing among companies worldwide.
For enduring change, governments must be central players, and when governments make a commitment to protect and restore ocean resources, they are seeing strong results. At the Packard Foundation, we’re working with partners around the world to strengthen fisheries and coastal management – especially in regions where marine productivity or biodiversity are threatened. As one example: In Indonesia, WWF and The Nature Conservancy are working with private sector seafood buyers, USAID, local fishers and government agencies to collect hard-to-gather fisheries data to inform more effective management.
This work results in a triple bottom line: healthier fish populations & ecosystems, a higher standard of living for local communities, and a competitive edge in the global sustainable seafood marketplace.
Investing in the oceans
So why was technology leader David Packard willing to invest a considerable amount of his resources – financial and intellectual – into ocean science, education and conservation solutions through the Packard Foundation and its initiatives and institutions? Why are Eric and Wendy Schmidt and other contemporary leaders contributing to transformational strategies for oceans now? Because of the power that technology, science and business thinking can bring to ocean management solutions.
Today, more than ever, business needs to drive the solutions, through new approaches and commitments that will ensure economic prosperity in a world of declining resources. In turn, the pioneers will prosper in a world where clients and customers increasingly measure businesses by a triple bottom line.
At the Packard Foundation and our family of ocean enterprises, we are continually inspired by the example of David and Lucile Packard, and by their values. These values – to innovate, to take risks and be willing to adjust course, and to invest in people – have served us well. We have been proud to support the great ideas and hard work of many of you here in this room.
One vision: Improve people’s lives
When my father co-founded the Hewlett-Packard Company he put forward a statement of underlying principles that shaped business management practices for years to come. The main idea in those principles was that a company’s primary purpose should be to make a contribution that improves peoples’ lives. It was a radical idea at the time.
But I would venture to say that everyone in this room, from business leader to environmental advocate, shares that goal: to improve peoples’ lives. To achieve it, in today’s new reality of rapid environmental change, we must push beyond business as usual. And we must do it soon.
Business leaders have a compelling opportunity – and I believe an imperative — to lead success, through your resources, relationships, intellectual talent and corporate policies. There is no shortage of great ideas and opportunity before us, so let’s get to it.
I look forward to the outcome of this gathering and thank you all again for your commitment to the future of the ocean.
Photos: Julie Packard © Motofumi Tai; sea otters © Monterey Bay Aquarium/Tyson Rininger; coral reef © Monterey Bay Aquarium/Charles Seaborn