Hundreds of aquaculture professionals from all over the world gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA in February 2018 for the annual World Aquaculture Society (WAS) conference of Aquaculture America 2018 (AA 2018). AquaFish Innovation Lab partners and students from Bangladesh, Burma, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Vietnam, and the US shared their work across various AA 2018 sessions, including a technical session hosted by AquaFish Innovation Lab.

The conference theme, “Shaping the Future – Telling Our Story,” emphasized the importance of outreach in aquaculture and reframing public perception of aquaculture. In the words of Kathleen Hartman, WAS director, in the conference welcoming note “We are all here at this conference to build on the story of aquaculture – celebrating yesterday, sharing today and shaping the future.”

AquaFish Innovation Lab Technical Session Chairs. From left to right, Dr. Theodora Hyuha, Dr. Hillary Egna, Dr. Sunila Rai, and Dr. Shahroz Mahean Haque.

Photo courtesy of AquaFish Innovation Lab. 

AquaFish Innovation Lab Director, Dr. Hillary Egna and AquaFish partners, Dr. Shahroz Mahean Haque, Dr. Sunila Rai, and Dr. Theodora Hyuha, chaired a AquaFish Innovation Lab Technical Session, which provided a forum to tell part of AquaFish Innovation Lab’s story. AquaFish Innovation Lab researchers and students shared research findings, lessons learned, and much more. The AquaFish Innovation Lab session was well-attended and the 20 presenters engaged the audience on a variety of topics including value chains in aquaculture, alternative feed ingredients, and methods to increase food security, among others. Check out the full list of presentations and abstracts on the AquaFish Session webpage of the AA 2018 website.

Kwasi Obirikorang presenting during the AquaFish Technical Session.

Photo courtesy of AquaFish Innovation Lab. 

Two presenters of the AquaFish Technical Session were recognized for their presentation style, organization, flow of information, and innovative content. Dr. James Diana from University of Michigan was awarded Best Overall Presentation for his presentation titled, “Do Household Fish Ponds Improve Family Nutrition? A Study in Nepal.” Kwasi Obirikorang, AquaFish Innovation Lab PhD student from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, was awarded Best Young Scientist Presentation for his presentation titled, “Digestibility and Ammonia Excretion Rates of Low-Cost Nursery Diets for Nile Tilapia Oreochromis niloticus Fry.”


In addition to the AquaFish Technical Session, the AquaFish Innovation Lab Management Team presented five posters highlighting AquaFish Innovation Lab’s role in advancing culture of low-trophic species, improving gender equity, promoting stakeholder engagement at several scales, and complying with federal mandates on open data. Check out their posters on the AquaFish Poster webpage.


In an effort to increase accessibility to aquaculture innovation, participation, and networking, AquaFish Innovation Lab collaborated with United State Aquaculture Society to award three students with Best Student Abstract awards. The following three students were acknowledged for their achievement:

1.    Nathan A. Kring, Kentucky State University, USA

2.    Shamim Naigaga, Auburn University, USA

3.    Lay Nguyen, Auburn University, USA

AquaFish Innovation Lab also awarded five student abstracts for their contribution to international development. These abstracts were well written, aligned with the AquaFish Innovation Lab's mission and objectives, and demonstrated high scientific merit. The following five students were recognized for their achievement:

1.    Gifty Anane-Taabeah, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA

2.    Mojibar Rahman Ripon, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Bangladesh

3.    Gertrude Atukunda, National Agricultural Research Organization, Uganda

4.    Stephanie Ichien, Oregon State University, USA

5.    Zech Halasi, Makerere University, Uganda

AquaFish Innovation Lab was grateful to participate in AA 2018 and tell its story. The conference provided an exciting outlet to share research and lessons learned, broaden AquaFish Innovation Lab’s network, and highlight the expanding potential for aquaculture in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. From each other’s stories, attendees from across the world were able to gain inspiration and knowledge necessary to continue tackling challenges in global aquaculture.