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Better Call Trawl

We all like beautiful sandy beaches, and we all love the sea turtles that nest on them, right? But considering climate change and future sea level rise projections, how do we continue to maintain healthy beaches in harmony with sea turtles? – that’s the crux of this challenge. To preserve our beautiful sandy beaches, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) authorizes giant dredges to vacuum up sand from the bottom of the ocean to replenish eroded beaches. In the process of collecting sand, however, sea turtles resting near or on the seafloor can be sucked up by the dredge and can be injured, often lethally. Over twenty years ago, a team of experts developed sea turtle relocation trawling methods to try and prevent sea turtles from being injured or killed during dredging. Essentially a fishing net is dragged along the seafloor to capture sea turtles near where dredging is taking place. These captured sea turtles are then moved out of the dredge area to keep them safe. The trawling, catch, and relocation of sea turtles has drawbacks. The efficacy of sea turtle relocation trawling has yet to be quantitatively tested. BUT BOEM is ‘swimming’ in great data – and they need your help! The Challenge seeks analytic tools (e.g., decision dashboards, data markdown files/notebooks, analytic reports) to demonstrate projected sea turtle relocation trawling effectiveness, help guide new scientific studies, and improve future sea turtle relocation trawling effectiveness.

Partner Organization: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Award: $40,000 in total prizes

Open Date: September 13, 2022

Close Date: December 15, 2022

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