Women have long been underrepresented in science, engineering, and technology careers and face marginalization within the aquaculture industry. This is due, in part, to women’s lack of access to resources and training opportunities, trapping them in vulnerable and poorly paid positions with little prospect of getting ahead. To address this, AquaFish sets a benchmark of women and girls comprising at least 50% participation in both trainings and support of degree-seeking students. Additionally, AquaFish designs strategies to engage women throughout the aquaculture sector including in research at universities, high level management in organizations, and as private operators in lending, fish marketing, and farming.

To address this, AquaFish sets a benchmark of women and girls comprising at least 50% participation in both trainings and support of degree-seeking students. Additionally, AquaFish designs strategies to engage women throughout the aquaculture sector including in research at universities, high level management in organizations, and as private operators in lending, fish marketing, and farming.

Since 2008, AquaFish has trained over 3,300 women and girls on sustainable aquaculture and household nutrition. AquaFish also provides support, mentoring, and academic guidance for students in degree programs in a wide array of disciplines, helping early-career scientists build and strengthen their professional networks. Since 2006, AquaFish has supported nearly 600 students in pursuit of post-secondary degrees, and in 2016, 50% of degree-seeking students supported by AquaFish were women. AquaFish-supported students go on to a variety of careers, including government, academia, and private enterprise, further expanding collaborations and networks. Moureen Matuha, originally from Uganda, received a Master’s in Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture from Auburn University in 2015 with the support from AquaFish. Currently, Moureen contracts with the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute and serves as a researcher on several AquaFish projects in Uganda, including the development and implementation of a mobile phone-based system that will enable fish farmers to access fish production and market information.

Dr. Sunila Rai is a Nepalese fisheries scientist whose graduate education was supported by the Aquaculture Collaborative Research Support Program (ACRSP) and AquaFish, earning a Master’s and a Doctorate at Thailand’s Asian Institute of Technology. In 2013, Dr. Rai was appointed the Associate Dean of Academics of the Faculty of Animal Science at the Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) in Nepal. Dr. Rai continues to work with AquaFish, serving as an academic advisor to AFU students and as a researcher on several AquaFish projects in Nepal.

Successful aquaculture development depends upon building and sustaining a gender-balanced community of students, professionals, and community members. Through research, training, and education, AquaFish is empowering women and girls to participate in aquaculture, leading to positive impacts on household nutrition, food security, and income.