MSU-based Fish Innovation Lab awards $1.15 million in new grants, addresses global food security through improved aquaculture and fisheries

May 05, 2021

Contact: Laura Zseleczky


Youth day laborers in the Mymensingh region of Bangladesh net major Indian carp species to perform a regular health check. Researchers with the MSU-based Fish Innovation Lab are working with aquaculture farms in Bangladesh to increase production using genetically improved carp. (Submitted photo by M. Gulam Hussain)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish at Mississippi State University is announcing $1.15 million in grants, expanding its portfolio of research in addressing global food security challenges through reliable and inclusive provisions of fish.

As part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future program and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Fish Innovation Lab works to reduce poverty and improve nutrition, food security and livelihoods in developing countries by supporting research on sustainable aquaculture and fisheries systems.

“Fish are an essential source of animal protein and income for people in developing countries. These new projects expand the Fish Innovation Lab’s work to ensure more people can access fish as part of their diet and benefit from livelihoods in aquaculture and fisheries sectors,” said Dr. Mark Lawrence, director of the Fish Innovation Lab and a William L. Giles Distinguished Professor in MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Building on the Fish Innovation Lab’s existing portfolio of 13 research-for-development projects worldwide, the newly awarded $1.15 million supports six projects spanning aquaculture and fisheries activities along the fish value chain in Bangladesh, Ghana, Malawi and Zambia. The new projects aim to improve market access for aquaculture producers and consumers, boost aquaculture productivity through genetically improved species, investigate the micronutrient impacts of shellfish in diets, develop vaccines for bacterial diseases in farmed fish, produce insects for fish feed in aquaculture, and explore the ecology and market potential of introduced shellfish.

Several people sit and listen to a speaker as Fish Innovation Lab researchers meet with community members in coastal Kenya
Fish Innovation Lab researchers meet with community members in coastal Kenya to discuss their study to improve nutrition security through increased access to and consumption of marine fish. The Fish Innovation Lab supports 19 projects in seven countries across Africa and Asia. (Submitted photo by Terezie Mosby)

Selected as direct commissioned activities under the Fish Innovation Lab, each project is led by a team of experts from U.S. universities and developing-country research institutions. The projects complement the Fish Innovation Lab’s current research portfolio, filling gaps by addressing specific areas of need and expanding work in new countries and with new partners.   

“The research program cultivated by the Fish Innovation Lab aims to produce applicable research results, increase the capacity of local partners, and support the adoption of new innovations,” Lawrence said.

Mississippi State oversees and supports the full research portfolio of the Fish Innovation Lab as the program’s management entity and is the lead research institution for one of the six new projects.

Recognized as a Center for Knowledge for Aquatic Health by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, Mississippi State is a leader in providing solutions to fight global hunger and improve livelihoods in priority countries. MSU’s Global Center for Aquatic Food Security works to address challenges facing aquaculture and finds solutions to meeting the world’s food security needs while ensuring a safe supply of fish.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum is a former Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture who has made food security a central focus of his professional life. Currently, he serves as chairman of both the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and the Board of International Food and Agricultural Development.

For more information about the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish, visit fishinnovationlab.msstate.edu or contact the lab at fishlab@cvm.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.  

About USAID

USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency for international development and humanitarian efforts to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance and help people progress beyond assistance.

About Feed the Future

Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition. For more information, visit www.feedthefuture.gov.

About the Fish Innovation Lab

Funded by USAID, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish aims to reduce poverty and improve nutrition, food security, and livelihoods in developing countries by supporting the sustainable development of aquaculture and fisheries. 

This news release was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Feed the Future initiative. The contents are the responsibility of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.