Press Release: Dr. Essam Yassin Mohammed appointed WorldFish Director General and CGIAR Senior Director of Aquatic Foods

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Dr. Essam Yassin Mohammed formally assumes the role of WorldFish Director General having taken on the position in the interim since January 2022. Photo by WorldFish

Dr. Essam Yassin Mohammed is a leading interdisciplinary systems thinker, researcher and policy adviser with a strong background in the economics of the ocean and fisheries.

PENANG, February 16, 2023 – Dr. Essam Yassin Mohammed formally assumes the WorldFish Director General and CGIAR Senior Director of Aquatic Foods roles after serving as interim since 4 January 2022.

Prior to stepping up to the helm at WorldFish, he was the Global Lead for Climate Resilience and Environmental Sustainability. Hailing from Eritrea, Dr. Mohammed will be WorldFish’s first Director General of African descent. 

Announcing the appointment, WorldFish Board of Trustees Chair Professor Baba Yusuf Abubakar said:

“From a field of many qualified candidates, it became clear to the nominations committee that Dr. Mohammed displayed the best qualities which WorldFish needs at present. These included an equity-first approach to science and knowledge in aquatic foods and fish breeding, a compelling vision of where our sector requires unique comparative and competitive contributions from WorldFish science and interdependent aquatic foods in the CGIAR and an inclusive approach to leadership and team development."

Dr. Mohammed is a leading interdisciplinary systems thinker, researcher and policy adviser with a strong background in the economics of the ocean and fisheries. Before joining WorldFish, he was the Head of Blue Economy at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). 

In response to the announcement, WorldFish Director General and CGIAR Senior Director of Aquatic Foods Dr. Essam Yassin Mohammed said:

"I am truly humbled and honored to be given this opportunity to lead WorldFish in our pursuit to transform food, land and water systems with aquatic foods by developing and delivering best-fit-for-context, world-class innovations adapted for today’s fast-paced global economy and the climate crisis, delivering a triple-win for nature, climate and people."

Dr. Mohammed has over two decades of international, multi-country experience in Sub-Saharan Africa, South, South East and East Asia, Latin America and Europe. Many nations have sought his advice, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Myanmar, Vietnam, Albania, Egypt and Lebanon. 

Commenting on the appointment, CGIAR Executive Managing Director Dr. Claudia Sadoff said:

“Ensuring equitable and sustainable access to food from water will be essential if we are to end hunger and advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.  Dr. Mohammed is a passionate advocate for the potential for 'blue capital’ to help alleviate hunger and poverty, and a champion for CGIAR’s goal to provide food and nutrition security for all.” 

He serves on numerous advisory bodies including the Group of Experts for the second cycle of the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects of the United Nations. 



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Sean Lee Kuan Shern 

WorldFish Science Communications Specialist 



About WorldFish  

WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research and innovation institution that creates, advances, and translates aquatic food systems science into scalable solutions. We vision an inclusive world of healthy, well-nourished people and a sustainable blue planet, now and in the future. Our mission is to end hunger and advance progress on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals through science and innovation to transform food, land, and water systems with aquatic foods for healthier people and the planet. 

For over 45 years, WorldFish's data, evidence, and insights have shaped practices, policies, and investments to end hunger and advance sustainable development in low- and middle-income countries.  We have a global presence across 20 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific, with 460 staff of 30 nationalities deployed where the most significant sustainable development challenges can be addressed through holistic aquatic food systems solutions. Embedded in local, national, and international partnerships, our work sets agendas, builds capacities, and supports decision-making for climate action, food and nutrition security, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, blue economy, One Health, and AgriTech, integrating gender, youth, and social inclusion. 

A core element of the 2030 WorldFish Research and Innovation Strategy: Aquatic Foods for Healthy People and Planet is focused on building the resilience of aquatic food systems to shocks, which is critical to COVID-19 response and recovery. 

WorldFish is part of CGIAR, the world's largest agricultural research and innovation network. 

For more information, please visit


About CGIAR  

CGIAR is the world’s largest global agricultural innovation network. We provide evidence to policy makers, innovation to partners, and new tools to harness the economic, environmental and nutritional power of agriculture. 

CGIAR has a wealth of experience and knowledge spanning 50 years that builds on a track-record of innovation and world-class research. Thanks to our funders, CGIAR research has transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people through tangible research outcomes. 

The 15 CGIAR Research Centers are independent, non-profit research organizations, conducting innovative research. Home to more than 8,000 scientists, researchers, technicians, and staff, CGIAR research works to create a better future for the world’s poor. Each Center has its own charter, board of trustees, director general, and staff. CGIAR Research Centers are responsible for hands-on research programs and operations guided by policies and research directions set by the System Management Board. 

For more information, please visit