Aquaculture and fisheries are an integral component of the health, wealth, and livelihoods of many coastal and inland communities. In the face of population growth, there is a rising demand for food fish and continued pressure on already exploited capture fisheries.

The aquaculture and fisheries sectors must co-exist to ensure the survival of communities relying on them for employment and income generation, food security, and international market access for fish-based commodity products. Aquaculture development and fisheries management face numerous challenges that must be addressed in order to increase productivity in ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable ways. These challenges can only be surmounted by well-trained individuals working in functional institutional settings.

One of the key objectives of the AquaFish Innovation Lab, in addition to conducting world-class collaborative research in aquaculture, is to build and strengthen the capacities of institutions and individuals through training and outreach activities. A participatory process involving public-private partnerships engage Host Country stakeholders in an international network and provide them critical information for self-governance.

The AquaFish Innovation Lab capacity building efforts benefit stakeholders in the US and participating Host Countries through the transfer of knowledge and technology. These efforts also disseminate information about best management practices and increased economic opportunities, ultimately increasing the sustainability of aquaculture and fisheries in all regions where the AquaFish Innovation Lab conducts research.

Host-country trainers teach water quality monitoring techniques for best management practices of pond aquaculture with workshop participants in Morogoro, Tanzania.

AquaFish engages a well-established international network of professionals and institutions to achieve success in human and institutional capacity development. This network involves world-class scientists, technical support staff, and graduate and undergraduate students. 

A chief objective of the capacity building program is to create equal opportunities for men and women to participate in and benefit from AquaFish Innovation Lab research, training, educational, or other activities. AquaFish Innovation Lab training and capacity building initiatives are also designed in a manner that benefits targeted stakeholders in both the US and Host Countries. Effective short- and long-term training and capacity building focused on engaging in two categories: human and institutional capacity development.

The AquaFish Innovation Lab efforts to develop Host Country institutional capacity are designed to result in highly competent local research using Host Country nationals to design and implement internationally accepted research and outreach programs. This includes providing guidance to increase the infrastructure or supplies necessary to conduct research that addresses key issues confronting the aquaculture and fisheries management sectors in-country. 

Human capacity building efforts focus on developing the relevant knowledge, skills, abilities and experience among a wide range of stakeholders, including researchers, extensions services, and end-users, to facilitate growth and development of the aquaculture in host countries. To this end, the AquaFish Innovation Lab conducts short-term and long-term training efforts in host-countries as a central component of every research investigation.