WorldFish wins bid to host IIFET 2024

3 minutes read
 The 21st edition of the biennial conference will be held in Penang
Highlights
  • The conference will be held in Asia for the first time since Nha Trang, Vietnam in 2008. 
  • WorldFish’s winning bid includes four novel thematic sessions to give the 2024 conference a unique identity in addition to the themes that are common in past IIFET conferences.

WorldFish was announced as the host of the 2024 International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET) conference at the closing of the 2022 IIFET conference held in Vigo, Spain. The 21st edition of the biennial conference will be held in Penang, a state located in the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia, where WorldFish is based since relocating its headquarters in 2000. The 2024 conference will be held in Asia for the first time since Nha Trang, Vietnam in 2008. 

“We are very grateful to WorldFish and the organizers in Malaysia for offering to host our next conference of IIFET in Penang. This will be a great opportunity to strengthen our capacity to address the global challenges we face in managing the world's aquatic food sectors for sustainability,” said IIFET President-Elect Olivier Thébaud. 

IIFET conferences offer participants unrivaled opportunities to network with the top fisheries economists in both formal and informal settings. These conferences are attended by fisheries social scientists, managers and industry representatives from every fishing region around the globe. 

“We are excited to partner with WorldFish for IIFET 2024. The meeting will help to channel the intellectual insights and energy of fisheries economists into pressing global needs to enhance food and nutritional security from aquatic foods, build new international collaborations and support continued innovation in the economics of aquatic food systems and the trade of aquatic foods,” said IIFET President Martin Smith.

Proffering novel thematic sessions

For the 2024 conference, the attention of IIFET’s membership will be focused on the growth-inequality-resilience nexus that intersects with fisheries and aquaculture economics and trade. Photo by Jamie Oliver
For the 2024 conference, the attention of IIFET’s membership will be focused on the growth-inequality-resilience nexus that intersects with fisheries and aquaculture economics and trade. Photo by Jamie Oliver

WorldFish’s winning bid includes four novel thematic sessions to give the 2024 conference a unique identity in addition to the themes that are common in past IIFET conferences. The novel themes are 1) The economics of food and nutrition, 2) Ocean equity – Distributional justice, 3) Optimizing aquatic food systems for resilience and 4) Fisheries, aquaculture and trade futures. 

“Just six years before humanity is due to meet a set of ambitious UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we want to focus the attention of IIFET’s membership on the growth-inequality-resilience nexus that intersects with fisheries and aquaculture economics and trade. To progress towards fisheries and aquaculture sustainability as a contribution to the SDGs, particularly Goal 14: Life Under Water, we suggest the theme Aquatic Food Systems in the Blue Economy,” shared WorldFish Acting Director of Sustainable Aquatic Food Systems Edward Allison.  

The policy forum for the conference in Penang will focus on the emerging concept of nutrition-sensitive fisheries and aquaculture and will be headlined by the originator of the concept, WorldFish’s Global Lead for Nutrition and Public Health Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, who is also the 2021 World Food Prize Laureate. 

Thilsted was the first to examine the nutritional composition of indigenous small fish species commonly found and consumed in Bangladesh and Cambodia. Her research showed that the high concentrations of numerous essential micronutrients and fatty acids in these readily accessible and relatively inexpensive foods provided game-changing benefits for mothers' nutrition and health as well as for children's cognitive development in the first 1,000 days of life. 

From this breakthrough, she went on to develop nutrition-sensitive approaches and innovations to food production, distribution and consumption that have improved the diets, nutrition and livelihoods of millions of vulnerable women, men and children living in low- and middle-income countries across Asia, Africa and the Pacific. 

“We look forward to hosting a memorable IIFET conference in 2024. This announcement exemplifies WorldFish's ability to bring people together and promote the exchange of ideas, particularly in relation to aquatic food systems, on a global stage. We appreciate the IIFET Secretariat’s confidence and support in us,” said WorldFish Interim Director General Essam Yassin Mohammed, who is also CGIAR Acting Senior Director of Aquatic Food Systems. 

Sean Lee Kuan Shern

Science Communications Specialist, Communications