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World Food Prize 2021 awarded to nutrition scientist WorldFish

14 May 2021


World Food Prize 2021 awarded to nutrition scientist WorldFish


This year’s World Food Prize will be awarded to a nutrition scientist who researched the positive contribution of aqua food to human health. On May 11, it was announced that Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Tilsted will receive the prize for her ground-breaking research, critical insights and innovations in aquatic food systems, including fisheries and aquaculture.

Dr. Thilsted was one of the first scientists to establish that small fish is an important source of various essential nutrients and fatty acids. Aqua foods such as small fish, including small pelagic fish such as herring and mackerel, are full of vitamins and minerals that are important for human health. Her research has transformed scientific insights into the nutritional benefits of fish. The research insights of Dr. Thilsted also led to an evolution in the food systems from ‘feeding’ to ‘nourishing’. In other words: from just feeding to the targeted provision of nutrients that ensure a good and healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Thilsted has worked for WorldFish for over ten years. WorldFish is an international non-profit research organization that does a lot of research into aqua food in developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. For more than 45 years, this organizations has been researching how sustainable aquacultures and fishing can contribute to the food of millions of people in these countries.

WorldFish has a long history of projects in Africa, including Nigeria. Fish is very important to this most densely populated country of Africa, because fish consumption accounts for 40% of the country’s total protein intake. The people of Nigeria consume 13.3 kg of fish per person per year. About 40% of this fish is small pelagic fish (Sources: WorldFish, FAO).

Following to the announcement of this prestigious award to Dr. Thilsted, Gerard van Balsfoort, chairman of the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association, says:

“I am proud that the members of the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association are able to provide by way of their sustainable and responsible pelagic fishing operations, many millions of healthy protein-rich and affordable fish meals on a daily basis to consumers in many developing countries, including Nigeria.”

The PFA wishes Dr. Thilsted every success with her further research and other activities.

About the World Food Prize

Since 1986, the World Food Prize is an international award recognizing scientist and other individuals for important achievements in the availability and quality of foods. The ceremony will take place in October this year.

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PFA represents the interests of nine European freezer-trawler companies involved in pelagic fishing activities for human consumption.

Learn more about the PFA policy of sustainable and responsible production.

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