Tuesday, January 12, 2016

12/01/2016: True gender champion recognised


Aquaculture without Frontiers is delighted to announce Dr Meryl Williams as the first woman of the month for 2016!  Meryl’s extensive and continuing contribution to international research in fisheries and aquaculture, and advocacy of women and gender in aquaculture is an inspiration to women globally.
For the past 40 years, Meryl has worked tirelessly in Australian and international fisheries, aquaculture, aquatic resource conservation, agricultural research and development and published widely on aspects of fish harvesting and fisheries management around the world.


More recently, her work emphasises fish in relation to food security and nutrition and its potential in feeding the world’s anticipated population of 9 billion people. Her contribution to women and gender in aquaculture and fisheries includes the initiation of the website http://genderaquafish.org/ devoted to the exchange of information on gender in aquaculture and fisheries from all parts of the world.

After graduating in 1975 from James Cook University with a science degree, she collected the Dr Palmerston-Rundle Prize for biological sciences.  After being elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Technology and Engineering in 1993 she was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal in 2003. Last year, Meryl was awarded the prestigious Crawford Fund medal for her contribution to international agricultural research, through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the CGIAR system.

Meryl commenced work for the Queensland government in 1977, moving to the Tuna and Billfish programme of the (now) Secretariat for the Pacific Community in 1981, then to the Australian Department of Primary Industries and Energy in the mid-1980s, and later to the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

From 1994 to 2004, she was Director General of the WorldFish Centre where her work focused on reducing environmental pressure and poverty and improving the quality of nutrition. From 2004 until 2007, she chaired the Board of Management and was President of the Policy Advisory Council of ACIAR. In 1990 she became executive director of the Bureau of Rural Resources and three years later, the Director of Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Meryl’s contribution to international committees includes being the Vice Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation and an Honorary Life Member of the Asian Fisheries Society (AFS).

Currently she is leading the AFS AsiaPacific-FishWatch project to develop an online information system for Asia-Pacific fisheries and aquaculture. She has also led a number of key international evaluation teams for the World Bank and United Nations FAO. We are privileged to have Meryl as a member of the board of Aquaculture without Frontiers (Australia) Ltd.

We welcome Julie Kimber as our Women’s Network secretariat and thank Virginia Mosk for her efforts in helping us establish the network.

Visit the AwF site HERE.

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