create / 2016

Save sharks, fisheries, and keep L.A. weather nice!

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by El Porto Shark

Machine learning model to predict shark populations for climate and fisheries health in the local ocean.


Please describe your project proposal.

Wholly women-owned business that gathers shark sighting data from citizen scientists, fisheries, media, and more in order to create a machine learning forecast of future populations. Not only do we inform fisheries and policymakers, but we educate the public on the importance of sharks in our local water and how to become citizen scientists. Sharks populations are correlated to other ocean species and not only sequester carbon in their bodies, but are apex predators vital to the ocean.

Which of the create metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Minority- and women-owned firms
  • High growth startups

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to create?

Our proposal will show the world that LA is the best place for a women-owned big data startup to succeed and contribute to our unmatched city. We are pioneers in the way oceanography/fisheries data is collected and used.

We tirelessly campaign to protect sharks before they are all extinct. About 80% of the world’s shark population has been wiped out and whether or not you live on the coast you need to care, especially in a metropolitan area like Los Angeles County. Without sharks, the entire ocean ecosystem is thrown off balance and weather patterns around the world will be impacted. How? The ocean is a carbon sink and without sharks to sequester carbon in their bodies and, more importantly, control herbivore populations the plant life will be severely limited and unavailable to remove as much carbon from the atmosphere since there will be less photosynthesis. Have you noticed more humidity in our area over the summer the past few years? Notice more superstorms around the globe? Want to keep your family safe from extreme weather patterns? Replace the fear of sharks with facts and join the fight for their conservation.

We are utilizing data aggregation in order to bring together discrete data sources from public and private data sets and applying a machine learning model in order to forecast future shark populations. We utilize a data scientist’s toolbox of technologies such as Python, MySQL, Amazon Web Services, and more.

The Santa Monica Bay is thought to be a white shark nursery and in 2013 the local television news sensationalized every juvenile shark sighting. Since we are daily surfers at the beach break where most of the sightings occurred, El Porto, we knew we had to do something. El Porto Shark was started as a pet project with a social media presence that tried to replace fear with facts. In the summer of 2015 we were motivated by a local General Assembly instructor to take it further and do something about shark conservation.

Our events we have planned will educate the local public about not only why sharks are important to fisheries, but to the climate. weather, and the lifestyle here in Los Angeles. Angelinos will also learn to appreciate how our work informs local fisheries to keep their seafood sustainable. They will learn how to be citizen scientists and contribute to our database. County policymakers will use our data to inform climate and recreational fishing limits as it is more robust than current sources. Fisheries will be able to utilize our data and our model not only for sharks, but other species in order to create smarter catch limits.

We’re Los Angeles natives that are proving our model in our own backyard before taking our project national and then global. We’ve already identified worldwide partners and started showing the world that Los Angeles is indeed the best city to CREATE!

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

Success as a high growth start up will be defined by a measurable increase in our public education newsletter database (goal: 1200% increase); validation of our forecast model as proven by acceptance in the local scientific community (goal: model to be used as beta test by 3 local universities - targeting USC, UCLA, and CSULB); and federal government grant funding (goal: National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Committee and National Marine Fisheries Service grants for 2017/18).

There are few women-owned tech startups - especially where a woman is the technical cofounder. By reaching our milestones we will epitomize the CREATE goals that the program has defined..

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Advisors/board members
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support