Digital Innovations: Enabling Data-Driven Policies and Practices

Feeding and nourishing 9.8 billion people by 2050 is a major global challenge, made even more daunting by the effects of climate change on our food systems. Digital innovations can fuel a revolution by empowering all actors in food systems—from policy-makers to farmers and sellers—with valuable data and insights for policy-making, faster and more dynamic transactions along value chains, and a greater adaptive capacity among fishers and fish farmers to market and climate shocks.

Digital innovations can be truly transformative if they address systemic barriers to equal access faced by low-income and marginalized groups and are especially mindful of small-scale actors in the value chain.

However, aquatic food systems are particularly challenged with pervasive data gaps that limit countries from reaping its many benefits at scale.

WorldFish, in partnership with governments, businesses, and research institutions, has been developing and testing such digital tools and innovations for aquatic food systems, which are at various stages of implementation, transforming our understanding of how we can accelerate their positive and inclusive impact.

Digital Tools



PeskAAS –a near-real-time digital data system. A monitoring system that processes and analyzes fisheries catch and effort data to provide high-resolution, near-real-time production data from small-scale fisheries. The PeskAAS data pipeline is open source and connects to free or cheap software, making it scalable and adaptable to other countries and food systems. The Timor-Leste government has adopted PeskAAS as the national fisheries information system, enabling effective monitoring of smallscale fisheries production to inform government policies.

Countries implemented in: Timor-Leste and Malaysia

EpiHealth Survey Tool


A digital survey tool for tracking on-farm aquaculture systems performance and risk factors, including productivity, profitability, input use and farm management practices, fish epidemiology and environmental changes, using a smartphone. It has helped identify risk factors and target context-specific interventions to improve performance and reduce the incidence of infectious diseases. In Bangladesh, the growth performance of Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) was shown to be 27 to 36 percent faster than non-GIFT strains and more profitable.

Countries implemented in: Bangladesh, Egypt, Malaysia and Nigeria



A Bayesian environmental benchmarking framework for aquatic foods that enables farmers and scientists to easily evaluate their production systems and identify environmental hotspots in their value chains. It enables stakeholders to make more informed decisions by considering the environmental implications of their choices.

Countries used in: Worldwide


lab in a

Improves disease management practices by providing accurate and rapid diagnosis of aquaculture pathogens at the farm without laboratory support. Lab-in-a-Backpack empowers local communities to conduct on-the-spot assessments and monitoring while bridging the gap between scientific knowledge and local decision-making processes. The accurate and rapid diagnosis of aquaculture pathogens reduces farmer dependency on antibiotics that has global health implications.

Countries implemented in: Australia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Nigeria and Thailand

Interactive Digital Training

interactive train

A web-based online learning curriculum for remote extension workers to learn relevant digital resources and tools on aquatic animal health, including fish syndromic surveillance and fish farm biosecurity, without the need to install any software.

Countries reached: A total of 317 trainees from 24 countries, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria and Zambia

Climate Information Services

climate informat

A web-based platform that integrates data from local meteorological departments and water temperature from reference ponds to help aquatic food producers predict and manage local climate risks. A decision framework is generated from these data inputs to guide fish farmers in responding to the forecasted climatic situation. It empowers stakeholders with accurate data and improves decisionmaking, increasing the profitability and resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Countries implemented in: Bangladesh, India and Zambia


Coral Triangle Atlas

Coral Triangle Atlas is an online GIS database containing regional, spatial data on the Coral Triangle that allows for more informed management planning and decision-making. It brings together previously dispersed data on fisheries, biodiversity, natural resources and socioeconomics that have been collected for decades by scientists and managers working throughout the Coral Triangle. The database enables better management and conservation planning by giving researchers and managers access to spatial information while encouraging them to share their data to complete the gaps – providing the most complete and current data available.


FishBase is the premier biodiversity information website for all fishes of the world. A global species database covering more than 32,000 species, FishBase includes a wide range of information on all fish species currently known including their biology, ecology, taxonomy, life history, trophic features, population dynamics and uses, as well as historical information dating back 250 years. FishBase also includes analytical and graphical tools that allow users to transform raw data into information that can be used to assess fisheries and identify management techniques to restore depleted fish stocks.


ReefBase is an online collection of all available data and information about coral reefs across more than 120 countries and territories. It features an award-winning GIS database that allows coral reef related data and information to be displayed on interactive maps. It is intended to facilitate analyses and monitoring of coral reef health and the quality of life of reef-dependent people, and to support informed decisions about coral reef use and management. ReefBase is the official database of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), as well as the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN).

WorldFish Dataverse

WorldFish Dataverse serves as an institutional data repository, where most of the research data from different projects in WorldFish are archived and preserved. It is an open-source web application with the main aim to preserve research data. This platform enables data authors to receive appropriate credit through data citation from the persistent identifier (e.g. Handle or DOI). Three main themes of the dataset collection are value chains and nutrition, resilient small-scale fisheries and sustainable aquaculture. Users may download raw data, questionnaires, data collection tools and codebook of their research interest. The first dataset was published in January 2016 and to date, there are more than 200 datasets archived. This repository is hosted by Harvard Dataverse Repository, and we hope this will make accessing our material easier.

WorldFish DSpace

This repository is built on the DSpace platform, and we hope this will make accessing our material easier.

WorldFish research is regarded as international public goods, and we are committed to the widespread dissemination of all our information products. One of the organizational objectives of WorldFish is to make all of its products open. This is in line with both the Center’s Research Data Management and Open Access Policy and the CGIAR Open Access and Data Management Policy. Opening our research, including publications, data and tools, ensures that more people can read and apply our research findings, thereby increasing the efficiency, reach and impact of our work.