Kelly Heber, a DUSP PhD student working with the Science Impact Collaborative, and Iain Dunning, a PhD student in MIT Operations Research were finalists in the State Department’s 2014 Our Ocean Conference fisheries data competition known as the “Fish Hackathon.”
Their project, named Captured, has two uses and can be viewed at capturedval.org. First, it allows communities involved in small-scale fisheries to make better decisions about the tradeoffs associated with alternative development scenarios. With their app, hard-to-see ecosystem services values (usually undervalued by the market) can be taken into account. They developed the tool in Malaysia where mangrove cover vs shrimp pond construction trade-offs are an important concern. They will be adding small-scale net and line fisheries options before field-testing Captured in August in villages affiliated with the Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program at MIT.
Captured combined data from over 60 ecosystem service valuation studies. This information is now accessible to communities that can now make better informed decisions. The New England Aquarium is assisting in the next phase of Heber and Dunning’s work.