Annual Report

Aquatic Foods for Healthy
People and Planet


We are pleased to present the WorldFish 2021 Annual Report. In the pages that follow, we update you on the progress we have made in implementing our work plan for the year and delivering our organizational mission and vision. We also present key highlights from our country level achievements and the steps we took to expand our global outreach during the past year, despite the enormous COVID-19 related challenges.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world into disarray. The pandemic is three shocks in one: a public health crisis, a hammer-blow to the livelihoods of people living in poverty and a stress test for the global food system. The unprecedented health and economic crises brought on by the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns led to an increase in poverty worldwide and precipitated a looming food crisis. The food system has been seriously disrupted, with reverberations experienced across global supply chains.

Working closely with the public and private sectors, we are developing innovations to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the nutrition, health and incomes of the most vulnerable. For example, WorldFish conducted a study in Myanmar, following up on a 2020 study with 143 fish supply chain actors, to assess the impacts of COVID-19 on the availability and price of aquatic foods and production inputs. The study found evidence suggesting women’s ability to work may have been negatively affected by the pandemic.

A global shock of this magnitude puts a premium on international cooperation. It is therefore important that investments need to flow towards enhancing sustainable and equitable aquatic food production systems that deliver nutritional benefits to those who need it most.

One highlight of the year was Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, WorldFish’s Global Lead for Nutrition and Public Health, receiving the 2021 World Food Prize for her influential work on nutrition, fish and aquatic food systems. The World Food Prize is the most prestigious international award given to exceptional individuals who advance human development by improving the quality, quantity and accessibility of food for all. Thilsted is the first woman of Asian heritage to be awarded the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture”.

At the COP26 UN climate change conference, WorldFish scientists made waves by highlighting the important links between climate, health and nutrition, with aquatic foods delivering a triple win for people, planet and climate. Our scientists underscored the vital importance of climate change mitigation and resilient food systems solutions that are people-centric and that look beyond production.

In 2021, the flagship CGIAR Research Program on Fisheries Agri-Food Systems (FISH) concluded after four impactful years. FISH created evidence to improve food security, fight poverty, enhance sustainability, increase resilience to climate change and develop a new research base for fish agri-food systems. Spanning 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the program developed more than 150 innovations that will affect the lives of millions of small-scale farmers and fishers in the years to come.

In Bangladesh, WorldFish continued dissemination of the genetically improved Generation 3 (G3) rohu, part of the carp family of fish. The main impact of G3 rohu will be the increased sales of spawn from multiplier hatcheries. By the end of 2021, G3 rohu had been distributed to over 1500 enterprises, including hatcheries, nurseries and grow-out farms.

To improve the management of community fish refuge sites, WorldFish supported a 10 year USAID-funded initiative in Cambodia that concluded in 2021. Consequently, fish production of households around the country’s Tonle Sap Lake has increased by 71%.

In Malawi, WorldFish developed a technology to dry fish that uses briquettes—compact blocks of organic waste for burning on a stove or fire—made from agricultural leftovers such as rice husks and groundnut shells. Using rice husks for briquettes is healthier, more cost-efficient and reduces deforestation that results from the use of firewood.

A new hatchery in Timor-Leste launched by WorldFish is now expected to produce more than 1 million fingerlings of Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT). These will be sold to fish farmers, nearby municipalities and non-government organizations. The hatchery is now a critical part of Timor-Leste’s National Aquaculture Development Strategy (2012–2030).

WorldFish and partners supported over 2000 academicians, researchers and small-scale fishers from across Africa and the Middle East with online and offline training in 2021. Training topics included fish farming, feeding, nutrition, manufacturing, management and production for food security. These experiences underscore our role as a one-stop hub for expertise across the aquatic food sector.

The generosity of our funders, the continuous support of our esteemed partners and the incredible dedication of our staff made our accomplishments in 2021 possible. Their outstanding commitment to the advancement of research in inclusive global food security and sustainability has been recognized by the global scientific and development community.

We are delighted to present this report and we warmly invite you to learn more about our ongoing journey to transform food, land and water systems with aquatic foods.

abu bakar
Baba Yusuf Abubakar
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Essam Yassin Mohammed
Interim Director General & CGIAR Acting Senior Director of Aquatic Food Systems

Big Splashes 2021




new partnerships in 2021


research innovations


active projects in 2021


active projects in 2021


people reached via online events


households have adopted improved fish breeds and/or aquaculture or fisheries management practices


people were assisted to exit poverty


capacity development initiatives

121,183people were involved
80,513 (~66%) were women


vulnerable women, children and men have increased fish consumption and/or dietary diversification because of aquaculture and small-scale fisheries interventions


publications during 2021

128 peer-reviewed journal articles
103 open-access publications
6 publications with an Altmetric score above 100

2021 Highlights

Reimagining food sustainability

The annual Food Systems Summit assembles UN member states and their constituencies. These include thousands of youths, food producers, indigenous peoples and researchers, as well as representatives from the private sector and civil society organizations. Together, they bring about actions to transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food.

Investing in sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems and transitioning to aquatic food-based diets offer a huge opportunity in putting our food systems on a low emissions pathway - delivering a triple win for nature, people and climate.

This virtual event offers a dynamic platform for heads of state, government and other constituencies to take the food systems agenda forward.

WorldFish joined the 2021 Summit to highlight the essential role of aquatic food systems in sustainable healthy diets for all. WorldFish showcased its efforts in areas such as policy action, gender-equal accessibility to resources and strengthening our commitments to provide nutrition-sensitive aquatic food systems.

The World Food Prize, also known as the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture,” is the most prestigious international award given to exceptional individuals who advance human development by improving the quality, quantity and accessibility of food for all. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, WorldFish’s Global Lead for Nutrition and Public Health, was awarded the 2021 World Food Prize for her influential work on nutrition, fish and aquaticfood systems.

Thilsted’s research demonstrated that high levels of multiple essential micronutrients and fatty acids in affordable and locally available foods offers life-changing benefits for children’s cognitive development in their first 1000 days of life and the nutrition and health of their mothers.

From this breakthrough, she developed nutrition-sensitive approaches and innovations to food production, distribution and consumption that have improved the diets, nutrition and livelihoods of millions of vulnerable women, men and children living in low- and middleincome countries across Asia, Africa and the Pacific.

Thilsted is the first woman of Asian heritage to be awarded the World Food Prize.

Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted was also named the recipient of the 2021 Arrell Global Food Innovation Award for pioneering nutrition-sensitive approaches to aquatic food systems in both fisheries and aquaculture. These approaches honor local, culturally appropriate solutions to improve the nutrition, health and development of children and mothers across Asia, Africa and the Pacific.

This award acknowledges the unmatched potential of diverse aquatic foods in food system research, policies and interventions, at national, regional and global levels. Aquatic foods offer life-changing opportunities for millions of vulnerable women, children and men to be wellnourished and healthy.

Thilsted is the first to identify the nutritional value of small fish species such as mola and Trey Changwa Plieng that are native to Bangladesh and Cambodia respectively. This breakthrough showed that these readily available small fish are rich in micronutrients and essential fatty acids that offer life-changing benefits for children’s cognitive development and the health of their mothers.

The Arrell Food Institute award program recognizes Thilsted as a mentor to many scientists and activists. It also acknowledged her efforts to advocate for better food and nutrition security solutions on the global stage.

The environmental promise

Waves at COP26

COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, concluded with a new global climate agreement. Nations reaffirmed pledges to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the number set in the 2015 Paris Accords.

At COP26, WorldFish highlighted the links between climate, health and nutrition, with aquatic foods as a nature-positive solution for all. WorldFish scientists focused on the importance of climate change mitigation and resilient food systems solutions that are people-centric and must look beyond production.

Ensuring access to climate information and enhancing climate services can promote women and youths’ involvement in daily management decisions and strengthen their abilities to adapt to and offset climate impacts.

In pursuit of lasting food security

FISH program concludes after four years

In 2021, the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH) concluded after four years. The program created evidence to improve food security, fight poverty, enhance sustainability, increase resilience to climate change and develop a new research base for fish agri-food systems.

The program developed around 150 innovations that have reached small-scale farmers and fishers. The impact of these innovations will reach millions of people worldwide.

FISH led the publication of 310 peer-reviewed Institute for Scientific Information journal articles. These public goods provide new evidence on the role of fish and other aquatic foods in improving food and nutrition security, reducing poverty and enhancing environmental sustainability. Around 70% of these were open access.

The FISH Wrap

It’s completely thanks to an amazing team of committed researchers, supporters and partners that we can now stand back and see some successes—from challenges to global structures and norms that have held back progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, to the introduction of new field-born and tested innovations into the pathways toward more sustainable and equitable futures.


New approaches to promote sustainable and equitable aquatic food systems

Cross-sector collaborations are at the heart of scientific discovery. Our partnerships range from global-level decision-making to national, subnational and household levels.

Aquaculture is the world’s fastest-growing food production sector. In February, leading international policy experts, with contributions from WorldFish, urged decision-makers to focus on aquaculture for a sustainable food system transformation. The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition (GLOPAN) launched the Harnessing aquaculture for healthy diets’ policy brief to guide international decision-making related to the expansion of aquaculture.

Gender-transformative approaches (GTAs) complement and go beyond traditional gender approaches and can contribute to more potent and longer-term gender outcomes. While traditional approaches work around existing gender barriers, GTAs shift underlying social norms that perpetuate inequalities.
The innovation package on GTAs can help reshape the way that gender issues are approached in aquatic food systems. WorldFish piloted projects in the Barotse Floodplain of Zambia and the Barisal region of South-West Bangladesh, where short-term fixes to gender issues were being replaced by a shift to addressing underlying gender barriers.

Better management practices (BMPs) are an integrated way to optimize the benefits of improved genetics in sustainable aquaculture intensification. The BMPs cover fish nutrition and feeding regimes, genetics and breeding programs, fish health management, farming systems, pond management, water quality management and gender integration.
They are now widely available in multiple languages in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, through dissemination from public and private partners. They contribute to small farmers’ incomes by increasing productivity and efficient use of inputs, thus reducing negative environmental impacts.

Pioneering genetic improvement innovations in carp and tilapia (GIFT) have achieved gains anywhere from 8% and higher and have helped aquaculture to now provide half of the global fish supply. Selective breeders in the terrestrial agricultural realm are happy with gains of a few%age points per generation. GIFT is now in its 17th generation and growing 100% faster than it did before the breeding program started. Faster-growing, hardier and more disease-resistant fish will allow farmers a greater return on their investment and in some countries will lead to lower prices for consumers.

The interaction that WorldFish is having with our farmers is really having great value that will change the sector because there is really enough that I am seeing coming on the table in efforts to improve the aquaculture sector.

Fish and aquatic foods contribute a wide range of micronutrients that are essential to human health. The nutritional benefits of fish are being well documented through our set of nutrition-sensitive approaches to food system transformation for food production and processing, with an emphasis on the food, nutrition security and health and well-being of vulnerable children and women. This included expanding the production of small indigenous fish species, increasing productivity and reducing waste and loss in fish value chains and developing improved feeds to enhance the nutritional value of fish.

Being a Suchana consortium member, WorldFish has successfully contributed to promoting pro-poor nutrition-sensitive aquaculture among poor and very poor households in the first 1000 days of life to reduce chronic undernutrition among children under 2 years old.

Digital tools and innovations can help record fishing activities, improve access to aquaculture finance and markets, improve the efficiency of management and conservation planning and identify fish pathogens. A suite of digital tools and approaches for aquaculture and small-scale fisheries that improve management and policy decisions across food systems were produced, which includes a variety of tools that are increasingly being put into use to inform and connect farmers and other supply chain actors, as well as advise government entities in real time for decision-making.

PeskAAS, a low-cost digital catch monitoring and automated analytics system developed by WorldFish, has enhanced the availability of almost real-time data to fishers and fisheries managers to support management decisions. Timor-Leste has fully integrated PeskAAS into its national fisheries management after successful pilots.

Agvisely, a web-based system that converts meteorological data into a decision-making tool for fish farmers to lower associated climate risks has helped an estimated 100,000 fish farmers in Bangladesh. This climate information system has since been scaled to the Indian state of Odisha, where a mobile phone advisory system now incorporates climatic advisories, as well as Zambia and the Southern African Development Community

Co-creation of climate-smart aquaculture technologies jointly framed by WorldFish DOF-CNRS helped gain nutritional and financial benefits of the vulnerable poor households in the flood-prone haor basin of Bangladesh.

Rice-fish production practices were first used 2000 years ago to bring fish back into the rice fields. They can be integrated using a variety of innovations that can make efficient use of increasingly scarce water and land. The innovations not only address environmental and nutrition concerns but can maintain rice productivity and almost double the profitability of the landscape. Innovations combine productivity and nutritional outcomes while building resilience and enhancing biodiversity.

Thousands of Cambodian farmers, who adopted the improved rice-fish systems, saw gains of 60 percent and 27 percent in income and fish consumption, respectively. This integrated production system has opened a new frontier for climate-resilient aquatic food production in Cambodia and Myanmar

Fisheries co-management is becoming more widely adopted globally for the management of small-scale fisheries. Resource user groups, such as local fishers and other entities, such as government agencies or non-governmental organizations, share management responsibilities and authority, set the rules and make future management decisions that help improve the legitimacy of fisheries regulations at the local scale through more inclusive, transparent and mutual decision-making processes and through stewardship of natural resources, local economic development and governance activities.

WorldFish’s methodological, technological and governance innovations, such as handbooks for gender equity and social inclusion, fish aggregating devices and compensation schemes for fisheries closures, contributed to greater gender equity, nutrition and social-ecological gains in addition to the social, economic and environmental benefits of fisheries co-management.

The outcomes achieved across science, policy and communities in this single ACIAR investment is truly impressive. Strategies to engage decision-makers and building evidence for change are exemplary examples of knowledge brokering, informed by the political, institutional and socio-cultural contexts.


Scientists shaping agendas


Benoy Kumar Barman
Senior Scientist

Benoy Kumar Barman works tirelessly to support projects in Bangladesh, such as scaling systems for improved tilapia strains, supporting work on the genetically improved G3 rohu, working on small indigenous species for improved nutrition, advancing climate-smart and nutrition-sensitive fish production technologies and supporting a pilot project on culturing Artemia.

Barman also advanced South-South cooperation by supporting the carp-mola indigenous small fish species (SIS) polyculture project in Assam, India and the AfricaRice integrated rice-fish farming project to improve food security and nutrition in Liberia.


Sarah Freed

Sarah Freed is an applied scientist working to improve human and ecosystem wellbeing. Her current work for Cambodia and the greater Mekong region focuses on fish in agroecosystems, community empowerment and equity in fisheries and agriculture and the transformation of food systems to support biodiversity, nutrition and climate change adaptation.

Freed’s work has contributed significantly to the improvement of economic benefits and the integration of nutrition and gender aspects in rice field fisheries for close to 100,000 rural households.


Ahmed Nasr-Allah
Egypt Country Director

In Egypt, Ahmed Nasr-Allah pioneered research and innovation in order to generate impact on sustainable development of the country’s fisheries sector. With Nasr-Allah’s contributions, WorldFish took the lead in the development of climate-smart aquaculture with the establishment of two demonstration units containing 3 cells each.

Through a partnership with FAO and the Egyptian government, WorldFish developed the National Aquatic Animal Health Strategy for the sustainability of Egypt’s aquaculture sector. Under Nasr-Allah’s leadership, capacity-building initiatives were scaled across Egypt and elsewhere in Africa in partnership with development partners and the national fisheries authority. Nasr-Allah helped facilitate 24 trainings, both physical and virtual, for 2,042 people, of which a third were women.


Neetha Shenoy
Aquaculture Specialist

Neetha Shenoy leads the MEL and GESI aspects of WorldFish’s programs in India working with partner organizations to design field surveys, collect, collate and analyze data, as well as prepare technical reports. Shenoy works with the APART project with the government of Assam, the GIZ-funded Scaling nutrition-sensitive SIS project and the USAID-funded project on Scaling nutritionsensitive fisheries technologies in Odisha.

Shenoy collaborates with the Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department in the state of Odisha in promoting a flagship government initiative — fish farming in village tanks by more than 10,000 Women Self-Help Groups engaging over 100,000 households.


Alinafe Maluwa
Research Assistant,
Sustainable Aquaculture

Alinafe Maluwa supports the deployment of extension support services to create inclusive business and entrepreneurial models (IBEMS) among smallholder farmers and supply chain actors in Malawi. Capitalizing on the IBEMS innovation, WorldFish will continue to promote the adoption of better-quality fingerlings/ seed and feed as well as improved management practices in its effort to grow aquaculture as a business in Malawi.

Through Maluwa’s efforts, 582 farmers were trained in better management practices for aquaculture, nearly four out of ten of those being women. Maluwa also trained 18 IBEMS to produce quality seeds to sell to other farmers. From producing no quality seed at all, in the first production season, the IBEMS produced 434,171 fingerlings, of which 63,500 were monosex.


Bernadette Fregene
TAAT Compact Leader

Bernadette Fregene leads the capacity building program in Nigeria under the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) project to disseminate proven aquaculture technologies. The program benefitted 31,951 individuals in 12 African countries by accessing and effectively using aquaculture technology products and services.

Solomon Islands

Janet Saeni-Oeta
Senior Research Analyst

Janet Saeni-Oeta plays an important role in shaping the research and partnership agenda with the provincial fisheries officers in Solomon Islands, who provide extension services to communities.

Saeni-Oeta has worked as a key partner within that team to evaluate management planning with the respective communities. This has led to improved inclusive practices for providing technical advice and support for communities seeking to sustainably manage their coastal resources.


Mary Lundeba
Scientist, Sustainable Aquaculture

Mary Lundeba is a versatile scientist who has played a pivotal role in building the capacity of smallholder farmers in northern Zambia in multiple disciplines, including best aquaculture practices and nutrition-sensitive fish food systems.

Lundeba helps transform the mindset of smallholder farmers, from depending on aquaculture as livelihood to practicing aquaculture as an enterprise and also supports mentoring and coaching research assistants and emerging scientists in northern Zambia.

From research to impact

Shaping agri-food systems with aquatic foods

The fish agri-food system connects supplies of aquatic foods to consumers across the planet. Launched in 2017, the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH) was a 5-year program that provided evidence of the role of aquatic food in improving food and nutrition security, reducing poverty and enhancing environmental sustainability


households have adopted improved fish breeds and/ or aquaculture or fisheries management practices


people were assisted to exit poverty


vulnerable women, children and men have increased fish consumption and/or dietary diversification because of aquaculture and small-scale fisheries interventions


policy and technical briefs and knowledge products disseminated widely, in multiple languages, with data products made available in open access formats


peer-reviewed publications, of which 68 were indexed by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), including journal articles, books and book chapters


hectares of water were brought under improved fisheries co-management and aquaculture management

FISH research spanned 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. It focused in-depth on Egypt, Nigeria, Zambia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar and Solomon Islands.

The program championed the increased role that fish and other aquatic foods must play in securing sustainable, healthy and resilient food systems.

FISH helped position small-scale fishers, fish farmers and value chain actors, their well-being and their services as central to food system transformation.


households have adopted improved fish breeds and/ or aquaculture or fisheries management practices


people were assisted to exit poverty


vulnerable women, children and men have increased fish consumption and/or dietary diversification because of aquaculture and small-scale fisheries interventions


policy and technical briefs and knowledge products disseminated widely, in multiple languages, with data products made available in open access formats


peer-reviewed publications, of which 68 were indexed by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), including journal articles, books and book chapters


hectares of water were brought under improved fisheries co-management and aquaculture management

Country highlights

  • All
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Pacific








Solomon Islands



Our contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

WorldFish works to create opportunities in sustainable and productive aquatic food systems to help lift out of poverty people who rely on fish for their income, livelihoods and well-being.

Fish and other aquatic foods offer untapped potential to meet the increasing demand for safe, nutritious food. By improving the productivity of fisheries and aquaculture in an environmentally and socially responsible way, WorldFish seeks to improve the supply, accessibility and use of aquatic foods within diverse and nutrient-rich diets.

WorldFish strives to make quality fish available and affordable to the poor in developing countries, particularly women and also children in the first 1000 days of life. Our research informs strategies for combating undernutrition and malnutrition and for preventing public health issues, such as stunting and other non-communicable diseases related to poor diets and nutritional deficiencies.

Rural women play a vital role in fisheries and aquaculture as fishers, farmers, processors and traders. However, they often have unequal access to the resources they need to be successful. WorldFish addresses gender inequalities to improve women’s livelihoods through aquatic food systems, which in turn amplify the benefits of these livelihoods for their children, families and communities.

The adoption of new technologies alone is not enough to improve productivity. Using natural resources efficiently, pursuing innovation and having access to knowledge, networks or credit to invest in a business and other entrepreneurial activities, especially for poor women and youths, are also vital to our contribution to this SDG, particularly in Small Island Developing States.

WorldFish works with national actors to enhance local capacities for scientific research and technological innovation in fisheries and aquaculture. We also support the integration of small-scale fish producers and enterprises into national, regional and global value chains and markets.

In the face of a growing world population and the impacts of climate change, there is an increasing imperative to do more and better with less. WorldFish works to achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources and to reduce waste and loss along aquatic food value chains.

Global fishstocks have been reduced by overfishing, ineffective management practices, industrial development, agricultural pollution and the impacts of climate change. WorldFish conducts cutting-edge genetics research on improved and resilient fish species and promotes a sustainable approach to aquatic food systems to ensure that enough nutritious aquatic foods are available for future generations.

Ensuring that all users benefit equitably from marine and aquatic resources requires new thinking, new information and greater collaboration between less traditional partners. Among the 15 CGIAR members, WorldFish is uniquely positioned to contribute to this SDG. We focus on evidence-based solutions relating to sustainable ocean governance and the development of an inclusive and people-centered blue economy, with special attention to the contribution of small-scale fisheries.

Land-based activities, such as pollution, plastics, deforestation and livestock waste, are affecting, altering or destroying oceans, lakes and other inland aquatic ecosystems and habitats. Preserving life below water (SDG 14) also requires the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices on land. WorldFish research is informing interventions to reduce waste and loss in fish handling and processing, to conserve and restore degraded ecosystems in inland and coastal environments and to develop gender-responsive practices and technologies for innovative small-scale aquaculture systems with low environmental impact.

Living our values

Our impact is enhanced when we bring together diverse backgrounds, skills, disciplines, talents and partnerships. These shape our organizational culture, ways of working and our aspiration to be a global thought leader.

Our LEAD values



We are relentlessly curious. We seek to learn from challenges and from others. We embrace discovery, adaptation and growth. We rely on data and evidence to deepen our understanding, make the best decisions and drive bold innovation.



Science of the highest quality and professional standards is the foundation for all we do. We actively partner with others who share our passion for excellence and impact.



We take ownership of our work and promptly correct mistakes to the greatest extent possible. We honor our commitments to partners and to each other. We measure ourselves against the highest standards of integrity and fiscal responsibility and we are open and transparent in communicating our results.



People with different ideas, talents, disciplines and backgrounds make our work distinct. We encourage differing perspectives, healthy debate and an inclusive environment for all and at every level, to create solutions to complex problems.

Corporate function key initiatives

Management Information Systems

Multifactor authentication has been rolled out to all staff, providing additional protection and reduced risks of compromised passwords. All staff can now access payslips online with a payroll system that is enabled for all country offices. Six additional dashboards have been deployed to help businesses monitor progress in their respective areas. Active directory data is now automatically synced from the One Corporate System staff profile to reduce human error and delays in data updates. Approximately 4,000 support tickets were submitted in 2021 and 99% have been closed.

Project Management Unit

Restructuring of the WorldFish Project Management Unit (PMU) is now complete. All goals set for the year have been met. The PMU became WorldFish’s central hub for all project management functionality. It ensures adherence to project management standards, procedures and practices. It ensures projects are delivered with the highest research quality, best management practices and international standards with a key focus on compliance, accountability, efficiency and best practices.

Risk, compliance and ethics

In 2020, a Risk and Compliance function was introduced to support the development of a fit-for-purpose control environment and strengthen risk management capabilities. Since then, several initiatives to improve the overall Counter Fraud and Ethics Policy framework on how misconduct allegations are addressed in the organization.

Key achievements include refreshing the Anti-Fraud Policy (created and last updated in November 2016) and whistleblowing Policy (designed and last updated in 2007) and creating a Conflict-of-Interest Policy. The revised guidelines clearly define our zero tolerance toward all forms of fraud, waste and abuse.

Staff onboarding now includes Mandatory Ethics and Risk Management training. Training and other outreach activities have also been provided to many countries, including partners working with us on the Feed the Future Programme in Bangladesh.

Communicating science knowledge and evidence

Communications for impact is a critical element of our new strategy and seeks to position WorldFish’s global thought leadership as an addressor of critical sustainable development challenges such as nutrition, climate change, gender and social inclusion and environmental sustainability through pioneering research and innovation on aquatic food systems.

Together with our strategic funding and implementing partners, we want to influence, develop, deliver and scale high-impact research and evidence-based innovations and policy recommendations that support vulnerable communities in low-and middle-income countries to meet their 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.


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Featured in
5,280 news articles

14.8 billion

Hosted and engaged in
196 global and regional events.

367 publications produced and made publicly accessible online.

Selected publications

Environmental performance of blue foods

Fish and other aquatic foods (blue foods) present an opportunity for more sustainable diets. The analysis identifies high-performing blue foods, highlights opportunities to improve environmental performance, advances data-poor environmental assessments and informs sustainable diets

Jessica A. Gephart, Patrik J. G. Henriksson, Robert W. R. Parker, Alon Shepon, Kelvin D. Gorospe, Kristina Bergman, Gidon Eshel, Christopher D. Golden, Benjamin S. Halpern, Sara Hornborg, Malin Jonell, Marc Metian, Kathleen Mifflin, Richard Newton, Peter Tyedmers, Wenbo Zhang, Friederike Ziegler and Max Troell.

DSpace | DOI

Compound climate risks threaten aquatic food system benefits

Aquatic foods from marine and freshwater systems are critical to the nutrition, health, livelihoods, economies and cultures of billions of people worldwide, but climate-related hazards may compromise their ability to provide these benefits. Here, we estimate nationallevel aquatic food system climate risk using an integrative food systems approach that connects climate hazards impacting marine and freshwater capture fisheries and aquaculture to their contributions to sustainable food system outcomes.

Michelle Tigchelaar, William W. L. Cheung, Essam Yassin Mohammed, Michael J. Phillips, Hanna J. Payne, Elizabeth R. Selig, Colette C. C. Wabnitz, Muhammed A. Oyinlola, Thomas L. Frölicher, Jessica A. Gephart, Christopher D. Golden, Edward H. Allison, Abigail Bennett, Ling Cao, Jessica Fanzo, Benjamin S. Halpern, Vicky W. Y. Lam, Fiorenza Micheli, Rosamond L. Naylor, U. Rashid Sumaila, Alessandro Tagliabue and Max Troell.

DSpace | DOI

Harnessing the diversity of small-scale actors is key to the future of aquatic food systems

Small-scale fisheries and aquaculture (SSFA) provide livelihoods for over 100 million people and sustenance for ~1 billion people, particularly in the Global South. This heuristic framework can inform adaptive governance actions supporting the diversity and vital roles of SSFA in food systems and in the health and livelihoods of nutritionally vulnerable people— supporting their viability through appropriate policies while fostering equitable and sustainable food systems.

Rebecca E. Short, Stefan Gelcich, David C. Little, Fiorenza Micheli, Edward H. Allison, Xavier Basurto, Ben Belton, Cecile Brugere, Simon R. Bush, Ling Cao, Beatrice Crona, Philippa J. Cohen, Omar Defeo, Peter Edwards, Caroline E. Ferguson, Nicole Franz, Christopher D. Golden, Benjamin S. Halpern, Lucie Hazen, Christina Hicks, Derek Johnson, Alexander M. Kaminski, Sangeeta Mangubhai, Rosamond L. Naylor, Melba Reantaso, U. Rashid Sumaila, Shakuntala H. Thilsted, Michelle Tigchelaar, Colette C. C. Wabnitz and Wenbo Zhang.

DSpace | DOI

Gender equality in climate policy and practice hindered by assumptions

Gender equality is a mainstream principle of good environmental governance and sustainable development. Progress toward gender equality in the fisheries sector is critical for effective and equitable development outcomes in coastal countries. The methodological approach developed holds value for other development sectors to critically examine, and subsequently enhance, commitment toward gender equality

Sarah Lawless, Philippa J. Cohen, Sangeeta Mangubhai, Danika Kleiber and Tiffany H. Morrison.

DSpace | DOI

Ten people-centered rules for socially sustainable ecosystem restoration

As the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration begins, there remains insufficient emphasis on the human and social dimensions of restoration. The potential that restoration holds for achieving both ecological and social goals can only be met through a shift toward people-centered restoration strategies. Toward this end, this paper synthesizes critical insights from a special issue on “Restoration for whom, by whom” to propose actionable ways to center humans and social dimensions in ecosystem restoration, with the aim of generating fair and sustainable initiatives.

Elias M, Kandel M, Mansourian S, Meinzen-Dick R, Crossland M, Joshi D, Kariuki J, Lee LC, McElwee, P, Sen A, Sigman E, Singh R, Adamczyk EM, Addoah T, Agaba G, Alare RS, Anderson W, Arulingam I, Kung S, Bellis V, Birner R, De Silva S, Dubois M, Duraisami M, Featherstone M, Gallant B, Hakhu A, Irvine R, Kiura E, Magaju C, McDougall C, McNeill GD, Nagendra H, Huu Nghi T, Okamoto DK, Paez Valencia AM, Pagella T, Pontier O, Post M, Saunders GW, Schreckenberg K, Shelar K, Sinclair F, Gautam RS, Spindel NB, Unnikrishnan H, Wilson GN and Winowiecki L.

DSpace | DOI

Blind spots in visions of a "blue economy" could undermine the ocean’s contribution to eliminating hunger and malnutrition

Increasing the production of food from the ocean is seen as a pathway toward more sustainable and healthier human diets. Yet this potential is being overshadowed by competing uses of ocean resources in an accelerating ‘‘blue economy.’’ This publication urges for a broader food-system approach beyond production and to also consider food access, affordability and consumption will refocus the blue food agenda on making production and consumption more equitable and sustainable while increasing access for those who need it most.

Anna K. Farmery, Edward H. Allison, Neil L. Andrew, Max Troell, Michelle Voyer, Brooke Campbell, Hampus Eriksson, Michael Fabinyi andrew M. Song and Dirk Steenbergen.

DSpace | DOI


407 Active partnerships
115 New partnerships
in 2021

WorldFish collaborations across CGIAR

CGIAR Antimicrobial Resistance Hub

WorldFish, the International Livestock Research Institute, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the International Water Management Institute shared research from post-doc and collaborative initiatives on modeling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in water systems and assessing and reducing AMR use in aquaculture.


This partnership connected FISH research through participation in CGIAR’s COVID-19 working groups and research, including working groups on value chain fractures and One Health in supporting country responses.

CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets

Collaborations included a CGIAR foresight report with all CGIAR centers, foresight research in Nigeria and the development of a fish module for the IMPACT model. Several co-investments were also made in aquaculture value chains and COVID-19 research in Ghana, Nigeria and India. Collaborative research was done to understand fish futures and the development of foresight modeling tools.

CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

Collaboration with the CCAFS was strengthened across FISH in several areas:

  1. CCAFS Flagship 4 (Climate Services and Safety Nets) on increasing access to climate information services to aquaculture farmers and fishers in Bangladesh and Odisha, India
  2. Development of a “fish” component in Mali and Zambia within the new World Bank-funded Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) project
  3. Development of the Two Degree Initiative (2DI), mainly through two “challenges,” the first addressing climate change in Asian mega-deltas (with the International Rice Research Institute and IWMI) and the second a Blue Challenge covering the Pacific, South Asia and the African Great Lakes (with IWMI and regional partners).

Roots, Tubers and Bananas

A food system integration published story captures synergies between fish and roots, tubers and bananas in food systems, focusing on Nigeria and Bangladesh. The cooperation was also extended to new research in the African Great Lakes region. Collaborative research was developed to integrate scientific approaches and policy work around food systems.

IFPRI, WorldFish

An analytical framework was developed to guide research engagement in the policy process, with application to small-scale fisheries. The framework was developed to understand the impact of research on policy processes.

Water, Land and Ecosystems

A partnership with the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) combined complementary research interests, including refinements to ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management and associated innovations and relations between landscapes and diets in Myanmar.
Joint funding was successfully pursued, as were the design and delivery of scientific research.

WorldFish, IRRI, IWMI, Center for International Forestry Research

Collaboration with the IWMI for the establishment of the Inland Fisheries Alliance promoted sustainable inland fisheries and contributed to increased awareness of inland fisheries at UNFSS and elsewhere.
Interdisciplinary research and potential for policy and practice influenced the increase in the sustainability of inland fisheries.

WLE, particularly the flagship on Managing Resources, Risks and Competing Uses for Resilience

WorldFish and the IWMI partnered on a WLE-led project investigating gender in the highly vulnerable wetlands in transition to the Ramsar conservation areas in the Gulf of Mottama, Myanmar. WorldFish is playing the role of senior gender advisor to the project, partnering with the IWMI gender leader.
Lessons were applied from FISH regarding methodologies to assess inclusion-exclusion in governance, drawing on earlier CGIAR GENNOVATE methodologies, as well as applying Aquatic Aquaculture Systems (AAS) and FISH insights regarding GTAs.


Collaborative research and co-investment were made into global synthesis research on policy impacts and COVID-19 research.


Actively participated to develop the CGIAR Seed Systems Strategy. A case study on the tilapia seed system in Bangladesh was compiled in collaboration with other CGIAR colleagues.


Close cooperation with other key centers and CRPs has continued since 2018 to refine and develop the MEL platform. Communication material and training tools have been jointly developed and training provided to all FISH researchers. Webinars to support the development of the 2021 POWB as well as refresher demos to augment online planning exercises via the MEL platform were collaboratively conducted by three CRPs.
The efficiency and effectiveness of FISH have increased through MEL and cross-center/CRP cooperation and support for capacity development.

Our investors

Academic or Research Institute

  • Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Mississippi State University
  • Rajiv Gandhi Center for Aquaculture
  • Stockholm Resilience Centre
  • Synergos Institute
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Malawi, Chancellor College
  • University of Wollongong
  • Wageningen University & Research
  • World Vegetable Center

CGIAR Center

  • AfricaRice
  • International Center for Tropical Agriculture
  • International Food Policy Research Institute
  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
  • International Livestock Research Institute
  • International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
  • International Potato Center
  • International Water Management Institute


  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
  • Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies
  • Minderoo Foundation
  • Oak Foundation
  • Schmidt Family Foundation
  • Walton Family Foundation


  • Assam Rural Infrastructure & Agricultural Services Society
  • Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
  • Bangladesh Local Government Engineering Department
  • Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
  • Department of Fisheries, Malawi
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
  • Egypt Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation
  • European Commission
  • Fisheries and Animal Resources DevelopmentDepartment, Odisha
  • Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, UKaid
  • India Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare
  • Japan International Cooperation Agency
  • Malawi The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security
  • Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Zambia
  • New Zealand-Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
  • South Africa Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
  • Timor-Leste, Democratic Republic of-Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • United States Agency for International Developmen

International and Regional Organizations

  • African Development Bank
  • CGIAR System Organization
  • Food and Agriculture Organization
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • International Institute for Environment and Development
  • Pacific Community
  • US Soybean Export Council
  • Winrock International

Private sector

  • De Heus Limited Liability Company
  • Skretting Egypt


  • Australian Volunteers International

Financial overview


As of 31 Dec 2021 As of 31 Dec 2020
Cash and cash equivalents 15,211 18,048
Account receivable 4,379 3,098
Other current assets 243. 330
Non-current assets 827 684
TOTAL ASSETS 20,660 22,160
Accounts payable 10,920 12,605
Accruals and provisions 1,534 1,375
Other current liabilities 198 199
Non-current liabilities 858 477
NET ASSETS 7,150 7,504


For the years ended December 31 2021 2020
Grants 32,002 30,769
Other current assets 661 555
TOTAL REVENUE 32,663 31,324
Research 21,573 20,722
Administration, support and other 11,444 11,312
TOTAL EXPENSES 33,017 32,034
NET DEFICIT (354) (710)

Funding by country

( in USD thousands )

Expenditure by region

in 2021

Investing in sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems and transitioning to aquatic food-based diets offer a huge opportunity in putting our food systems on a low emissions pathway - delivering a triple win for nature, people and climate.

Essam Yassin Mohammed

Global Lead, Climate and Environmental Sustainability

Our people

We are a diverse, global group of people with decades of experience in scientific research, international and organizational development and communications.

Board of trustees

The Board of Trustees approves WorldFish’s long-term organizational strategy, annual plan of work and budget and research agenda. It monitors progress toward the achievement of the organization’s mission and it sets and approves programs and policies and financial regulations.

  • Baba Yusuf Abubakar, Chair of the Board of Trustees
  • Alyssa Jade MacDonald-Baertl, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees
  • Ayman Anwar Ammar, Ex-Officio Board Member
  • Gareth Johnstone, Ex-Officio Board Member
  • Tarmidzi Ramly, Ex-Officio Board Member
  • Alice Ruhweza, Board Member
  • Abdou Tenkouano, Board Member
  • Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio, Board Member
  • Hilary Wild, Board Member
  • Lindiwe Sibanda, Board Member
  • Marco Ferroni, Board Member
  • Neal Gutterson, Board Member
  • Patrick Caron, Board Member
  • Shenggen Fan, Board Member

Executive team

(term ended December 2021)

The Executive Team realizes the strategy, research agenda and organizational vision for WorldFish. It takes decisions on issues that affect the organization at all levels.

  • Gareth Johnstone, Director General & CGIAR Senior Director of Aquatic Food Systems
  • Edward Allison, Interim Director of Science and Research
  • Tana Lala-Pritchard, Executive Director, Strategy, Innovation and Communication
  • Marion Barriskell, Executive Director, Corporate Services
  • Montgomery Simus, Executive Director, Business Development and Partnerships
  • Michael Phillips, Director, Aquaculture and Fisheries Science for CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH)

Global research leaders

Our global research leaders are responsible for the overall coordination and management of our research agenda.

  • Benjamin Belton, Interim Global Lead, Social and Economic Inclusion
  • Essam Yassin Mohammed, Global Lead, Climate and Environmental Sustainability
  • Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, Global Lead, Nutrition and Public Health
  • Cynthia McDougall, Gender Research Leader
  • John Benzie, Research Program Leader, Sustainable Aquaculture
  • Philippa Cohen, Research Program Leader, Resilient Small-scale Fisheries
  • Cristiano Rossignoli, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) and Impact Assessment Research Leader

Country directors and regional directors

The country directors are accountable for the leadership and management of our country programs. Working collaboratively with our global research and functional leaders, country directors deliver an integrated researchfor-development program that addresses national priorities and organizational goals and strengthens institutional and partner capabilities across the aquaculture and fisheries sectors. This includes building capacities, influencing policies and evidence-based research capabilities.

  • Ahmed Mohamed Nasr-Allah, Country Director, Egypt
  • Delvene Boso, Country Director, Solomon Islands
  • Mark Dubois, Officer in Charge, Cambodia
  • Sunil Siriwardena, Officer in Charge, Nigeria
  • Victor Siamudaala, Country Director, Zambia and Southern Africa
  • Christopher Price, Regional Director, South Asia
  • Michael Akester, Regional Director, Southeast Asia and Pacific (SEAP)

Key corporate function leads

  • Anar Khalil, Project Management Lead
  • Faridah Ibrahim, Business Development Lead
  • Florine Lim, Team Leader, Communications and Marketing
  • Glenda Munyukwi, Global Risk and Compliance Lead
  • Hector Morais, Global Procurement Lead
  • Cherry Kek, Global Budgeting and Reporting Lead
  • Patric Lim, Management Information Systems Lead
  • Reinier Hille Ris Lambier, Strategic Planning Lead
  • Simon Carter, Global Financial Controller
  • Eli Wong, Global HR Lead