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2018 Winner

An integrated data pipeline for small-scale fisheries

The Inspire Challenge is an initiative to challenge partners, universities, and others to use CGIAR data to create innovative pilot projects that will scale. We look for novel approaches that democratize data-driven insights to inform local, national, regional, and global policies and applications in agriculture and food security in real time; helping people–especially smallholder farmers and producers–to lead happier and healthier lives.

This proposal was selected as a 2018 winner, with the team receiving 100,000 USD to put their ideas into practice. 

An integrated data pipeline for small-scale fisheries

Every day, about 40 million small-scale fishers go out fishing, yet virtually none of these activities or yields are documented. This global data deficiency underpins SDG 14, yet we are now at a moment in time when technologies are small enough and cheap enough to solve it. WorldFish are testing novel linkages of these technologies to create an automated data pipeline to highlight temporal and spatial changes in fish production. This pilot will provide a national proof of concept in Timor-Leste before transitioning to scale.

WorldFish will lead on-the-ground coordination of catch documentation and government partner capacity building and develop an open-source cloud-based decision dashboard for fisheries managers. Pelagic Data Systems will be responsible for the installation of vessel-tracking hardware, transmission of geospatial tracking data through cellular networks, and the cloud-based analytics and machine learning necessary to identify fishing activity at sea.

The fish food system supports over 3 billion people globally and represents more than 20% of their animal protein. Approximately half of the global fish catch comes from small-scale fisheries, yet this contribution is hidden and the people are being overlooked in policy, management & development decisions, ultimately undermining the vital food and livelihood benefits they provide to the poor.

The types of involvement and activities that are undertaken by women and youth in fish food systems are particularly hidden and under-reported. The existing data systems underpinning this project have followed CGIAR sex-disaggregated data standards which contribute to closing gender data gaps. This work has already highlighted the crucial importance of women in fishery activities as dependable sources of household food and nutrition security in Timor-Leste, the results of which form the basis of a publication in final draft.


Alex Tilley | Email
WorldFish Scientist

Shaun Wilkinson
WorldFish Consultant

David Solomon | Email
CEO, Pelagic Data Systems


Step by step

Oct 2018

US$100K grant

The project was one of five winners of the Inspire Challenge 2018 and was awarded US$100K at the second annual convention of the CGIAR Platform Big Data in Agriculture, during 3-5 October 2018.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2019

Deploy 500 tracking devices

The team will deploy about 500 tracking devices in fishing vessels around the coastline of Timor-Leste.

Jan- Apr 2019

Develop architectural integrations between catch and tracking data systems

Apr - Jul 2019

Capacity building and training

The project will provide capacity building and training for government partners, fisher stakeholders and data collectors.

Jul - Oct 2019

Evaluation of uptake, sustainability and scalability


Stay tuned for more updates!