About Karagathon

Karagathon or ‘Karagatan’ hackathon is a codefest for finding innovative mechanisms and technology-based avenue in addressing the burgeoning challenges haunting our seas to achieve sustainable fisheries and healthy seas for all Filipinos. Karagathon is also envisioned to complement and enhance the existing initiative between OCEANA and the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, the ‘Karagatan’ Patrol online platform for reporting illegal fishing and the ‘Karagatan’ Patrol web application for Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite - Boat Detection.

The 1st KARAGATHON will focus on the technology-based innovations to address the challenges in fully implementing fisheries and related laws that directly affect the health and resiliency of our seas and our fisheries.


The Challenge

Develop solutions to detect, identify and analyze, and recommend solutions to illegal fishing in the Philippines.

The Philippines’ maritime domain, consisting of municipal waters, territorial/internal waters and exclusive economic zone, is seven (7) times larger than its terrestrial area.. This vast expanse of marine waters holds the most valuable source of marine-based food products that sustains the protein requirements of most Filipinos. Inherent to this large area of marine waters is the effective enforcement of Philippine laws such as the Fisheries Code (RA 8550) as amended by RA 10654

The capacity to track and detect violations is an important element in law enforcement. Thus, more effective means of detection have to be employed by our national and local enforcement agencies in our waters.

Requiring transparency in the actions and behavior of commercial fishing vessels through the installation of vessel monitoring technology in each boat is an important feature of RA 10564. Tracking movements of the commercial fishing vessels is now done using space-based technologies such as what Global Fishing Watch is availing and these are freely accessible and may provide a cost-effective means of enforcement.

The Karagatan Patrol uses data from Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), a satellite sensor that can detect fishing boats that employ lights to attract fish at night.

Under our laws, specifically the Local Government Code (RA 7160) and the Fisheries Code (RA 8550 as amended by RA 10654), local government units from coastal municipalities and cities have the mandate to protect the rights of fisherfolks in the preferential use of the municipal waters. Municipal waters are marine waters fifteen (15) kilometers from the coastline and these areas are the most productive part of the seas attracting all sorts of fishing activities including those that are prohibited under the law such as fishing by commercial fishing vessels 3.1 gross tons and above. Illegal commercial fishing is among the major threats in the municipal waters apart from overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and coastal development.

Establishing physical boundaries in these municipal waters is a challenge unless technology is used as a tool (GPS, etc) to establish jurisdiction when a violation is committed (i.e. commercial fishing boats fishing or encroaching municipal waters under the jurisdiction of a particular local government)

To the consternation of municipal fisherfolk, and as Karagatan Patrol subscribers have shared, commercial fishing boats still enter the 15-kilometer municipal waters and other prohibited zones regularly without the local government units that have jurisdiction knowing it is occurring or, in other cases, not even taking action to implement fisheries laws. While there is a technology that detects lights of fishing vessels, it does not cover boats turning off their lights and those that operate at day time. The government will be installing trackers on all the commercial fishing boats soon but there will always be boats that may not comply or turn off their trackers when they fish in prohibited zones.

Fisheries law enforcers or anyone observing commercial fishing activity in the municipal waters has to establish that these activities are within the prohibited zone before responding considering that enforcement entails costs. But from afar they have difficulty in identifying the boat, including the size, fishing gears and other information about the boat

There are at least 5 laws that govern commercial fishing in the Philippines, Among these are: Fisheries Code as amended by RA 10654, labor law, anti-trafficking law, domestic shipping law and merchant marine law. There are at least 30 agencies tasked to enforce them.

While the Bureau of Fisheries has adjudicators that are tasked to investigate and penalize administratively violations and render timely decisions but they, and the prosecutors and judges, have to be equipped with readily accessible facts and circumstances of the case to render fair jdugment

Lastly, due to the current state of enforcement in the Philippines, it is common for fishing vessels to commit multiple violations in the same area or in other areas. Under the amended Fisheries Code of the Philippines, a fishing vessel committing multiple violations can be sanctioned through cancellation or suspension of their fishing permit. But without a repository or system for tracking and monitoring violations of fishing vessels in various jurisdiction, this sanction might remain on paper and will not be a deterrence to comply with the law.

The Guidelines

Solution Format

Solutions can be in any coding language. It is recommended that the created solutions can run on any of the following platforms :

  • Android and iOS device such as smartphones, tablets, etc.
  • Short Message Service (SMS)
  • Web or mobile application
  • Cloud computing platforms
  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
  • Other devices that includes softwares developed by the participants such as but not limited to open-source electronics such as raspberry pi, arduino, etc.


  • Open to all teams or organizations composed of Filipinos with identified team leader and members.
  • A team may register multiple entries provided that each entry proposes a different solution.
  • There is no age limit for team members. Applicants who are below 18 years old must provide consent from parent/s or legal guardian/s.
  • Applicants who are affiliated with the contest sponsors are not eligible.
  • Team leaders must be able to present the proposed solutions on August 30, 2020.
  • Karagathon reserves the right to verify the eligibility of entries.


  • No statement in the registration and participation in the contest is false or incorrect.
  • Entrants give the sponsors the right to use the entrants’ names, pictures, etc.
  • Entrants release the sponsors from all liability including lost submissions, etc.


  • All entries are required to register on the Karagathon online application form from June 30 to July 15, 2020. Additional supporting documents may be sent to karagatan.patrol@gmail.com.
  • Team members should like the Oceana Philippines Facebook page and join the Karagatan Patrol Facebook Group to get a better handle on the challenges related to illegal fishing in the Philippines.
  • Qualified teams should join the Karagathon Slack workspace where resource persons can be consulted on the mechanics, application development, and other questions about Oceana, Karagatan Patrol and challenges on illegal fishing that will be addressed by the software application.
  • The qualified teams will be given a briefing on the various aspects of Philippines Fisheries, such as science, the legal framework, and current fisheries issues.
  • Submissions must be entirely the original work of the applicants and must not contain anything that are protected by copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights without the expressed prior consent of the owner of such rights.
  • The team has Intellectual Property rights to all materials to be submitted to the contest.
  • Any and all works created during this Karagathon are developed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Philippines

Selection of Winners

  • The final submission of solutions will be on August 30. Demonstration and judging of the proposed solutions will be on September 4, 2020.
  • The decisions of the winner selection committee are final and binding and entrants will not challenge them.
  • Entrants are responsible for taxes from any winnings and for their expenses.

Apply Now

Only team entries are accepted and must be registered using the Team Registration and each team member is required to register using the Participant Registration below.