Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation’s Science without Borders® Challenge is an international art competition that engages students to promote the need to preserve, protect, and restore the world’s oceans and aquatic resources.

The Science without Borders® Challenge was created to get students and teachers interested in ocean conservation through various forms of art. This annual contest inspires students to be creative while learning about important ocean conservation issues. The SWB Challenge is open to primary and secondary school students 11-19 years old, with scholarships of up to $500 awarded to the winning entries.

The deadline for entry into this year’s Science without Borders® Challenge is Monday, April 25, 2016.

The theme for the 2016 Science without Borders® Challenge is “Fishing Under the Radar.”This theme was chosen to coincide with a new film the Foundation is producing about fishing.

The upcoming film will tell the story of an ambitious ocean detective. It will follow the journey of Dr. Daniel Pauly and his team as they gather information to calculate the world’s total fish catch. Their goal is to find out once and for all how many fish we have actually removed from the sea since industrial fishing began.

And it’s not just an exercise in mind-bending quantities of numbers. Discovering how many fish we have removed will tell us how dangerously close we are to terminally overfishing the fish we rely on. Millions of peoples’ survival is dependent on fish from the sea, yet right now we catch all the fish we can using fishing quotas that don’t take into account the real number of fish we catch.

The film will meet scientists who are trying to level the playing field for small-scale fishermen and those who depend on the sea for their livelihood. It will span the globe to find out how many fish we catch and discover how Dr. Pauly’s work could lead to the greatest shake up ever of world fisheries.

The ocean is the only source of animal protein for millions of people on the planet. It also creates jobs through fishing, tourism, and recreation. All of this is at risk from overfishing, the removal of too many marine organisms from the sea (including plants and invertebrates, not just fish). If fish stocks are not able to reproduce enough to replace the fish we catch, the population will decrease over time.

This year’s theme, “Fishing Under the Radar” specifically refers to IUU fishing (illegal, unreported, and unregulated). The reason Daniel Pauly’s work is so challenging is due to IUU fishing, since it is not accounted for in official fish harvesting numbers. He believes that if you included all IUU fishing from around the world, yearly catch figures would be 60-70% higher than we currently record.

How will you bring awareness of IUU fishing with your art for this year’s Challenge?

Contest Rules and FAQ

COPPA Form (required for applicants under 13 years old)

Overfishing Resources

Online Submission Form


Previous Science without Borders® Challenge Winners:

2015 High School Winner: Treasure Reef
2015 High School Winner: Treasure Reef

First Place: Rachel Shen, Age 13, Ontario, Canada; Preserve to Survive the Struggles
2015 Middle School Winner: Preserve to Survive the Struggles

2014 SWOB Winner - Reef in a Bottle
2014 Winner – Reef in a Bottle

2013 SWOB Winner - How Tennessee Affects the Oceans
2013 Winner – How Tennessee Affects the Oceans
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