The initiatives being backed aim to improve market access for aquaculture producers and consumers.
There is also a focus on boosting aquaculture productivity through genetically improved species, investigating the micronutrient impacts of shellfish in diets, developing vaccines for bacterial diseases in farmed fish, producing insects for fish feed in aquaculture, and exploring the ecology and market potential of introduced shellfish.
As part of the US government’s Feed the Future program, a global hunger and food security initiative, with a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, and funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), 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.
“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 professor in MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Each scheme is led by a team of experts from US universities and developing-country research institutions.
The projects are said to complement the 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,” said Lawrence.
Mississippi State oversees and supports the full research portfolio of the lab as the program’s management entity and is the lead research institution for one of the six new projects.