Press Release: WorldFish renews Memorandums of Understanding with Universiti Putra Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia

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Renewal of Memorandums of Understanding with Universiti Putra Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia

The renewal of the MoUs with two of Malaysia’s top universities for a period of ten years will enable long-term collaboration in aquatic food systems research with WorldFish.

PENANG, August 22, 2022 – WorldFish signed today Memorandums of Understanding with Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) to encourage and promote cooperation in research and knowledge transfer activities for the sustainable development of aquatic food systems between the respective organizations. 

Collaboration between WorldFish and UPM dates as far back as the year 2000 when the two organizations along with the other partner organizations worked together on the Reefs at Risk in Southeast Asia project. 

On the significance of both MoUs, WorldFish Acting Director of Aquatic Foods Biosciences Dr. John Benzie said:  

“It was only natural that the MoUs with UPM and USM be renewed. Our institutions have much in common with regard to producing innovations to transform aquatic food systems to be more sustainable and resilient for a growing population in a changing climate. We look forward to scaling the innovations by Malaysian researchers to the countries where WorldFish works in.” 

On the relationship shared by UPM and WorldFish, UPM Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Professor Nazamid bin Saari said: 

“UPM and WorldFish have enjoyed a long footing friendship with each other. Over the last several years, several programs have been established in the field of research by individual institutions on both sides. We will continue to maximize our respective strengths and comparative advantages to complement each other’s strategic work, especially in the areas of fisheries and aquaculture. This will be through our research institute - International Institute of Aquaculture & Aquatic Sciences (I-AQUAS).” 

Since the first MoU was signed with USM in 2002, WorldFish and USM have worked on projects including the sensory evaluation of Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) – a fast-growing strain of tilapia developed by WorldFish and partners through selective breeding – and red tilapia cultured in ponds using quantitative descriptive analysis to accumulate technical data on the farming of tilapia to assist the Malaysian government in its efforts to increase tilapia production. 

Elaborating on partnering with both universities, WorldFish Acting Director of Sustainable Aquatic Food Systems Professor Dr. Edward Allison said:  

“It makes a lot of sense for us to work with Universiti Putra Malaysia, which has a long history in agricultural research including aquatic food systems. The same goes for Universiti Sains Malaysia – Malaysia's only Accelerated Program for Excellence (APEX) university – which is just right at our doorstep here in Penang. Both are among the top research universities in Malaysia and by working together, we can bring the top minds from each institution together to make aquatic food systems more resilient and sustainable for the millions of people who depend on them.” 

Describing USM’s hope from the cooperation with WorldFish, USM Center for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS) Director Professor Dato’ Dr. Aileen Tan Shau Hwai said: 

“USM hopes that this collaboration with WorldFish will continue to enhance sustainable fisheries and aquaculture research and scientific knowledge – finding solutions and to understand issues about aquatic resources – and able to provide students with future jobs and studying opportunities. USM also aims to promote good citizenship and nation-building through strategic neighborhood outreach and impactful projects. Therefore, we hope that the collaboration between USM and WorldFish will create a symbiotic and dynamic environment and provide an ecosystem for researchers and students to conduct research for global sustainability for healthy people and planet.” 

More than 800 million people – half of which are women – earn a living from fish and other aquatic foods grown in and harvested from oceans, lakes, rivers and ponds. Aquatic foods also supply 3.3 billion with 20 percent of their animal protein needs. Small fish, shellfish and seaweeds in particular have enormous nutritional value with a lower environmental footprint than land-based animals. Sustainable management of aquatic animals and plants means stored carbon dioxide that would have otherwise been released to the atmosphere.

On the importance of collaborating with local universities, WorldFish Interim Director General and CGIAR Acting Senior Director of Aquatic Food Systems Dr. Essam Yassin Mohammed said: 

“Our mission to end hunger and advance the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals through science and innovation to transform food, land and water systems with aquatic foods for healthier people and planet will be supported by fostering collaboration with universities in Malaysia, where WorldFish has been based for 22 years. Renewing the MoUs with both universities for a period of ten years shows our commitment to working with Malaysian institutions to achieve a food-secure future for all.” 

The MoU exchange ceremony held at WorldFish Headquarters at Batu Maung, Penang was also attended by staff from UPM's International Institute of Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences (I-AQUAS) as well as USM's Center for Marine and Costal Studies (CEMACS) and School of Biological Sciences (SBS).





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Press contact: 

For more information or to request an interview:  

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