BOEM and HeroX Launch “Better Call Trawl” Challenge

Sub title
Crowdsourcing challenge aims to help BOEM to evaluate and improve sea turtle protection efforts.
Release Date
NASA Tournament Lab

America’s beaches are eroding due to increases in sea level rise and storm surge. BOEM is the lead federal agency charged with regulating dredging in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to collect sand from the ocean floor for beach renourishment and coastal restoration efforts.

Sea turtles near the seabed are at risk of being caught in these dredges and injured, often lethally. To reduce the risk to these federally protected species, specialized trawling vessels are contracted to safely catch and relocate turtles away from the areas before and during dredging operations. However, little is known about how effective current relocation efforts are in preventing harm to sea turtles and what opportunities may exist for improvements.

Consequently, BOEM is partnering with HeroX, a leading platform for crowdsourced solutions, to launch its newest crowdsourcing challenge, Better Call Trawl.

The focus of the challenge is to better understand the effectiveness of current relocation trawling methods for protecting sea turtles during offshore dredging operations. The competition invites data scientists and engineers, statisticians and other scientists to analyze BOEM’s data, evaluate the effectiveness of current sea turtle relocation trawling practices and develop an analytical tool that can help improve future protection efforts. The challenge will award up to $40,000 in prizes for top solutions.

Challenge participants are tasked with developing an analytical tool that will leverage BOEM data such as sea turtle movement, behavior, catch data from trawling and additional oceanographic data to evaluate and improve sea turtle relocation trawling during the dredging process.

More information on the challenge and eligibility requirements can be found at

-- BOEM --

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is responsible for America’s offshore energy and mineral resources. The bureau promotes energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through responsible, science-based management of energy and mineral resources on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.