AquaFish Communications Project

EESC’s multimedia experts document international aquaculture research in partnership with a USAID-funded research program.

Situation

The classic fish story is about the one that got away. The modern story for many commercially important fish is that not enough got away. The world is running out of fish to catch, with an estimated 90-percent decline in marine fish in the last 50 years. To meet the demand for protein from a growing human population, and to take pressure off of dwindling wild stocks of fish, people are turning to aquaculture.

For more than 20 years, the OSU-based and USAID-funded AquaFish Collaborative Research Support Program (recently renamed AquaFish Innovation Lab) has tackled this challenge by helping impoverished parts of the world develop small-scale aquaculture and sustainable fisheries.

However, AquaFish faced a communication problem: stakeholders and cooperators were uninformed of the program’s impacts and success. Though AquaFish’s in-country project investigators were strong on content, they were weak on storytelling. So AquaFish shared $225,300 of their USAID funding with EESC, allowing EESC faculty to visit key locations around the globe to gather stories, videos, and photos to document AquaFish success.

Our Approach

EESC assembled a three-member team. Each person trekked to a different part of the globe and worked closely with the local scientists.

  • Tiffany Woods, who leads EESC's public issues education team, traveled to Mexico and Honduras to report on research on tilapia and native fish.
  • Jeff Hino, EESC’s learning technology leader, flew to Kenya to report on efforts to save native fish in Lake Victoria and build aquacultural capacity in poverty-stricken villages.
  • Peg Herring, EESC’s department head, traveled to southeast Asia to follow the trail of niche markets for fish paste made from low-value small fish, and capture first-hand the empowerment of women within new emerging aquaculture business models.

Results and Impact

AquaFish posted EESC’s content on its website. The finished products included six videos, six news releases, and two feature articles, including one story that appeared in Oregon’s Agricultural Progress magazine.

The videos have been viewed more than 38,000 times on YouTube. The news releases were picked up several dozen times in the media, including by The American Fisheries Society, Fish Information and Services, Seafood.com, SportFishermen.com, and Global Aquaculture Advocate magazine.

AquaFish participants were delighted with the outcome. Here are a few of their comments:

“Your work is truly first rate. I have every hope you will be available to go somewhere else to report on CRSP!”—Hillary Egna, director of the AquaFish CRSP program

“A real pleasure working you! Thanks so much for all your expert journalistic touch—great photos, videos, and press releases.”—Laura Morrison, former AquaFish program coordinator

“The video is great! I really liked the editing and layout with lots of time spent with the fish farmers and views of the beautiful Honduran countryside and fish farm facilities.”— Dan Meyer, AquaFish host country co-PI and faculty at Zamorano University, Honduras

Partners

AquaFish Cooperative Research Support Program (AquaFish Innovation Lab)