In this five-minute interview, Dr. Blake Ratner, Director General of WorldFish, explains the organization’s six-year strategy (2017–2022) to deliver on its mission – to strengthen livelihoods and enhance food and nutrition security by improving fisheries and aquaculture. WorldFish pursues this through research partnerships focused on sustainable aquaculture, resilient small-scale fisheries, and enhancing the contributions of fish to nutrition of the poor in developing countries.

In Bangladesh, many poor fishers struggle to cope during the government-imposed hilsa fishing ban. Boosting the resilience of the communities whose livelihoods depend on hilsa (also known as ilish), the national fish of Bangladesh, is therefore the goal of the USAID-funded Enhanced Coastal Fisheries in Bangladesh (ECOFISH Bangladesh) project. Since 2014, the project has established 280 hilsa conservation groups in 81 villages, and is training women in new livelihood activities such as vegetable gardening.

Fishing is often seen as a man’s domain, meaning in developing countries that women’s contributions often go unseen and women are excluded from decisions on small-scale fisheries governance. Dr Pip Cohen, Program Leader of the Resilient Small-Scale Fisheries Research Program at WorldFish, explains how WorldFish works to overcome these barriers.

Chuma and Sifuba’s story features in one of the seven real-life video case studies that are part of the Moving Forward Together guide, produced by WorldFish and Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs.

WorldFish and Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs partnered together to produce the Moving Forward Together guide, which is now ready for piloting with communities.

In this short interview, Dr. Blake Ratner, Director General of WorldFish, explains why gender equity research is an important part of the organization’s work to strengthen livelihoods by improving fisheries and aquaculture.

For many generations, farmers in the coastal south of Bangladesh have engaged in gher farming, where an aquaculture pond is dug into a rice field and the surrounding banks are used for vegetable cultivation. 

Between 27% and 39% of the global fish catch is being wasted each year, but the impact of these losses is most felt by the poor in developing countries. Froukje Kruijssen, a senior advisor at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam and a value chain consultant to WorldFish, explains why the poor are so vulnerable to postharvest losses and what WorldFish is doing about it.

To help rural farmers access information about aquaculture, the USAID-funded Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition (AIN) project has trained fish feed and seed suppliers to become local service providers (LSP). Since 2015, over 1275 individuals have started operating as LSPs, by giving free training and consultations to local farmers in Bangladesh.

Every year during the hilsa breeding months, normally September and October, it is illegal to catch juvenile or mother hilsa, the national fish of Bangladesh. To help poor and rural fishing families comply and cope with the ban, the USAID-funded ECOFishBD project provides training and support to fishing families to farm fish in homestead ponds, grow vegetables for home consumption and form savings groups.

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