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WorldFish logo.svg
Motto"To reduce poverty and hunger by improving fisheries and aquaculture"
TypeNonprofit research organization
HeadquartersPenang, Malaysia
Region served
FishBase Consortium
Parent organization
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
RemarksFormerly the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM).

WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research organization with headquarters in Penang, Malaysia, and offices in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. WorldFish’s mission is to harness the potential of fisheries and aquaculture to reduce poverty and hunger in developing countries.[1]

WorldFish is a member of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR),which a global agriculture research foundation.[2]

WorldFish uses its experience in fisheries and aquaculture to comply with Sustainable Development Goals.[3][4]

WorldFish has introduced technologies and practices that are brought to scale through a network of partners. The Center works on a breeding program to develop the Abbassa strain of Nile tilapia that helped increase aquaculture productivity.[5]

In Bangladesh, WorldFish trained and supported thousands of rural farmers by helping them improve the productivity of their homestead ponds and gardens.[citation needed]

WorldFish has been recognized with a Tech Museum Award[6] and several World Bank Development Marketplace Awards.[7]

WorldFish research[edit]

WorldFish is committed to meeting two key development challenges: 1) Improving the livelihoods of those who are poor and vulnerable in places where fisheries and aquaculture can make a difference and 2) achieving large-scale, environmentally sustainable increases in supply of and access to fish at affordable prices for poor consumers in developing countries.[8]

To meet these challenges, WorldFish focuses its expertise and research in the following areas:

  • Building adaptive capacity to climate change in fisheries and aquaculture
  • Strengthening gender equality in fish-dependent communities
  • Increasing the benefits to poor people from fisheries and aquaculture value chains
  • Improving nutrition and health through fisheries and aquaculture
  • Identifying and promoting policies and practices to increase the resilience of small-scale fisheries
  • Sustainably increasing the productivity of small-scale aquaculture

WorldFish is one of the 15 specialized research centers of the Consortium on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR),[9] and is also an implementing partner for the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH).[10] In collaboration with national governments and partners, FISH leads research to enhance sustainability, productivity and access to fish by those who need it most.[11]

Impact and innovation[edit]

WorldFish, with its partners, has raised incomes for millions of poor people by integrating aquaculture with agriculture and has empowered poor communities to participate in the sustainable co-management of their fisheries. At its core, WorldFish is a scientific research organization. The center works with an extensive network of donors and partners to create positive change for the millions who depend on fish in the developing world. It has helped countries cope with disaster and conflict by restoring fisheries, providing nations with tools to improve the planning and management of major river basins and strengthening national capacities for fisheries management.

Three areas of work have generated particularly large impact:

  • The breeding of higher yielding tilapia fish varieties, widely used in aquaculture across Asia, raised productivity and incomes of poor small-scale farmers: $170 returned for each $100 invested per annum.[12]
  • The Strengthening Aquatic Resource Governance (STARGO) project helped lake communities in Zambia, Cambodia and Uganda build lake capacity to manage conflicts over fish resources and lay a foundation for sustainable management of natural resources.[13]
  • In Egypt, WorldFish used selective breeding approaches to develop the Abbassa strain, which grows up to 28% faster than the most commonly used commercial breed.[14] The Improving Employment and Income through the Development of Egypt's Aquaculture Sector (IEIDEAS) project supplied 50 fish farms and 130 hatcheries with the fast-growing strain.[15] IEIDEAS is strengthening the Egyptian aquaculture industry by providing training and by generating employment for people who depend on the sector.


The following information provides major milestones in the development and operation of the WorldFish Center, from the conceptual phase to the present, highlighting organizational changes and developments, such as the formal establishment of the Center, the establishment and closure of sites outside the headquarters, Board Chair and Directors General, and milestones which led to the entrance of the Center into the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Some of this material is taken from 'A Lasting Catch.[16]'

1973-1974 Conceptual phase:

1975-1976 Exploratory phase:

  • Rockefeller Foundation Program, hosted by the University of Hawaii, commences in early 1975.
  • Dr Philip Helfrich (USA) of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii, accepts the post of Center Director ( January 1975-November 1976).
  • Staff and consultants fly 650,000 km, visiting 500 individuals and 43 national agencies in 47 countries, developing long-range programs and selecting a suitable headquarters location.
  • Research programs are set up with the following thrusts: Aquaculture, Traditional Fisheries, Resource Development and Management, Marine Affairs, and Education and Training.
  • The Center produces its first publication in 1975.

1977 Establishment phase:

  • On 20 January 1977 'ICLARM' becomes an independent institution. Two months later the headquarters moved to Manila in the Philippines.
  • The first Director General, Dr John C. Marr (USA), is appointed (November 1976-March 1979).
  • Dr James E. Johnston (USA) is appointed first Board Chair (1977-1983)


  1. ^ WorldFish Center mission, The Tech Awards article.
  2. ^ WorldFish Center as part of CGIAR, Institute of Development Studies, WorldFish Center article.
  3. ^ [1], online pamphlet.
  4. ^ CGIAR as a Provider of International Public Goods, pdf document
  5. ^ Abbassa strain of Nile Tilapia, SciDevNet article.
  6. ^ Tech Museum Award, Bio-Medicine, Biology Research Tools article.
  7. ^ World Bank Global Development Marketplace awards, article.
  8. ^ Welcome to WorldFish, Article,
  9. ^ SEAT Article,
  10. ^ CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems,
  11. ^ FISH what we do,, Article
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-08-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), Research For Development
  13. ^ [2],
  14. ^ [3], Sci Dev Net
  15. ^ [4], Globe Fish Highlights
  16. ^ Schioler, E. (2002). "A Lasting Catch". WorldFish. WorldFish Center. p. 147 pp.

External links[edit]