Iliad Hackathon

Hybrid, online and at the Marine Observatory of Al Hoceima, Morocco
Location: Hybrid, online and at the Marine Observatory of Al Hoceima, Morocco
Start: Monday Sep 4, 2023 at 11:00 AM
End: Saturday Sep 9, 2023 at 11:00 AM
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Umbrella topic: Balancing Aquaculture and Marine Protected Areas for Food Security. To achieve a balance between aquaculture and the conservation goals of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) while also ensuring food secure operations that minimise ecological impacts and avoid sensitivity require careful planning, sustainable practices, and robust regulations. This involves:

  • Site Selection: Choosing appropriate sites for aquaculture areas within MPAs.
  • Sustainable Practices: Implementing best practices in aquaculture, such as minimising pollution, using responsible feed sources, and avoiding the use of antibiotics and chemicals.
  • Monitoring and Enforcement: Regular monitoring of aquaculture operations within MPAs, along with effective enforcement of regulations, is essential to prevent negative impacts and ensure compliance with sustainability standards.
  • Integrated Management: Developing integrated management plans that consider both aquaculture and conservation goals, involving stakeholders, local communities, and experts in the decision-making process.

Challenges: For the Iliad hackathon we have defined 6 challenges which we would like you to address:

  1. Impact on Local Economies: Well-managed aquaculture operations within or near MPAs can create jobs and stimulate local economies, particularly in rural coastal communities. This can lead to increased economic stability and improved living conditions for these communities.
  2. Reduced Pressure on Wild Stocks: By providing an alternative source of seafood, aquaculture can help alleviate the overexploitation of wild fish stocks, which is a common issue in many marine areas. This contributes to the conservation of marine biodiversity and ecosystem health within MPAs.
  3. Impact of Environmental Degradation: Poorly managed aquaculture practices can lead to water pollution, habitat destruction, and the release of disease and non-native species into the surrounding marine environment. These impacts can undermine the conservation goals of MPAs and harm the overall health of marine ecosystems.
  4. Conflict with Conservation Goals: If aquaculture operations expand within MPAs without proper planning and regulation, they can come into conflict with the conservation objectives of these areas. The presence of aquaculture facilities might lead to habitat degradation and displacement of native species.
  5. Loss of Biodiversity: Depending on the scale and intensity of aquaculture operations, there is a risk of displacing or competing with native species. This could lead to reduced biodiversity within the MPAs, disrupting the balance of the ecosystem.
  6. Disease Transmission: Concentrated fish populations in aquaculture settings can be susceptible to diseases. If disease outbreaks occur, there's a potential for these diseases to spread to wild populations within or around the MPAs, impacting the health of both cultured and wild species.

Offline and Online Participation: This hackathon has a hybrid format. Summer School participants will join from the Hoceima National Park location. The organisers will encourage and assist in mixing online and offline participants, recognising each group's unique strengths. To minimise the knowledge gap in the teams most of the educational materials of the Summer School, as well as other relevant resources, will also be made available for online participants of the hackathon.

Data sources: During the Summer School the on site participants will collect local data from Hoceima National Park (MPA). This data will be made available to the online team members of each group. Furthermore, the use of both open in-situ and space-based data in an interoperable fashion is key. Space based as well as in-situ data sources will be made available for the registered participants in the coming days.

Evaluation Criteria: All teams will be evaluated according to the following criteria (max 100 points):

  • Documentation: Report sufficient and effective. The report clearly responds to the challenge goals (10 points)
  • Evidence of use of Opendata, interoperability, INSPIRE, GEO principles, FAIR, CARE, TRUST: Evidence of use/combinations of open data, INSPIRE, GEO. Interoperability: use of OGC standards, cross sectoral interoperability, cross boundary interoperability, integration of citizen science (20 points)
  • Innovation: How creative is the solution? Is it cutting edge or applies knowledge in a new way? Is it realistic and applicable? Do you see the project providing significant value to ocean related activities? (20 points)
  • Impact: Cross-disciplinary cross-sectoral impact. Does it support SDGs/GreenDeal/DestiantionE and EU Missions? (10 points)
  • Market potential: Do you see a market potential in the challenge results (including public and private services)? (20 points)
  • Sustainability: Are there clear steps to make the solution sustainable beyond the hackathon? (10 points)
  • Presentation skills: Clarity, coherence, and professionality of presentation (10 points)


  • Abstracts of all the results will be published on Iliad outlets
  • A selection (number to be decided) will get extra opportunities to promote and communicate the team work and team members.
  • A spot in the CASSINI Hackathon (Netherlands) -- for team members from the EU.
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