We were astonished by the statistics provided in the problem description which showed that there is 640,000 tons of fishing gear lost every year around the world, and with further investigation about the problem, we found that almost 30% of the total world fish are caught by ghost fishing annually. In addition, as we were discussing the problem aspects with one Kuwaiti fisherman who emphasized on the negative environmental impact of the lost fishing gears in Kuwait and how he observed the growing number of lost fishing gears in the Kuwaiti water. Moreover, one of our team members goes on diving trips on a weekly basis and he noticed the increase of lost nets in the Kuwaiti water.
What it does
GFA allows people around the world to report any lost or abandoned fishing gear. It allows the user to report the incident to the ‘Global Ghost Gear Initiative’ database, where other environmental organizations around the world can access the data and act upon it. It also gives the freedom for the users to choose the way they like to report the incident either by uploading a photo, writing a fishing gear description or both. Ghost Fishing Application (GFA) also includes the GPS coordinates of the lost fishing gear position with the information sent by the user. Moreover, the application identifies the fishing net code and the origin of the net depending on the description entered by the user. In addition, GFA focuses on three main types of fishing gears (net, trap and line) used around the world; this would assist the user in choosing the fishing gears.
How we built it
For the prototype of the application, we used a simple online development tool created by MIT App Inventor 2 that will help us demonstrate our idea. In the latter stages, we will use multi-platform development tools such as Unity(mobile development tool), which will give us the freedom to port the application to different platforms (IOS, Android, Windows).
Challenges we ran into
Technically: linking the database we created with the used development tool. Deciding on a suitable programming environment to build a quick prototype to explain the main idea. Scientifically: Identifying different types of fishing nets. We had a marine science student team member to help with that.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were able to create a working prototype that includes almost 80% of what we planned for the application. We won the first place in Kuwait beating other 5 participating teams.
What we learned
We learned how to use a new programming language in a short amount of time and to work well under pressure as we had a limited time constraint and limited resources. While working as a diverse team, we learned how to cooperate well with each other considering that we have met for the first time, think critically and to manage our time. Moreover, we learned the global importance of the Ghost Fishing problem.
What's next for Ghost Fishing App (GFA)
*Authentication: Implement an authentication for each user to prevent any spam or unknown reporting sources. *Social aspect, points and rewards: The authentication process will allow the user to share his contribution with any social network to share it with friends and might encourage them to do the same. This will also introduce the app to have an awarding system depending on the number of contributions made by each user. *Offline mode: Ghost fishing app permits the user to upload his discovery at later time if there is no network access “offline” in the place of the fishing gear. *Alert system: GFA will send an alert to the nearest environmental organization to the reported fishing gear that contains a living creature in it, so that they can respond quickly and save the caught creature(s).
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