Indre Kvarøy, Norway —Today, Kvarøy Arctic announces the recipients of its second year Women in Aquaculture scholarship program. Among a competitive global applicant pool of nearly 200 women from over 30 countries, Kvarøy Arctic has awarded scholarships to Oyebadejo Augustina from Nigeria and Marta Carvalho from Portugal.
Hosted in partnership with Seafood and Gender Equality (SAGE), the Women in Aquaculture scholarship program seeks to uplift emerging leaders through its immersive, experiential program which includes a $10,000 (USD) fund to each recipient and a hands-on opportunity to experience working at Kvarøy Arctic’s farm sites in Norway.
“As a father, and as a professional in a company that is 1/3 female owned, I understand the value of raising strong women and supporting their growth and leadership skills,” says Kvarøy Arctic CEO Alf-Gøran Knutsen. “We hope these scholarships are an example of how our industry can uplift the next generation, and serve as an inspiration for other companies that support our diversity and impact goals.”
The majority of applications were received from students in the United States, Nigeria, and Kenya with over 90 entries from countries including Iran, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, and beyond. The applicant pool was narrowed based on focus of study and financial need, among other qualifying factors.
“We were extremely pleased to see such a broad pool of applicants for these scholarships,” says SAGE Founding Director Julie Kuchepatov. “While the number of applicants is a sure sign that more women are studying aquaculture with plans to make it a life-long career, the financial need for this education is striking and a main theme regardless of country. We know that a woman’s lack of access to financing in aquaculture is a barrier to entry and we hope these scholarships serve as an enduring contribution to break down that barrier.”
In 2018, the FAO reported that women made up only 19% of the 20.5 million person workforce in aquaculture. Kvarøy Arctic started the Women in Aquaculture program in 2020 to support women in the field through a dynamic learn/work experience.
“These scholarships are one small way to bring valuable, creative young women into the fold and show them that they are supported, not overlooked and ignored,” says Kvarøy Arctic Strategic Development Officer Jennifer Bushman. “We want to acknowledge ALL of the amazing applicants. All of them are deserving of every chance to pursue and achieve their dreams. We are better for their efforts and grateful that they are on this journey with us.”
About Oyebadejo Augustina
Oyebadejo was acquainted with fishing and the concept of aquaculture in her upbringing in the coastal town of Badagry, Nigeria near Lagos. She witnessed the difficulty of the profession in an area where wild fishing harvests are limited, aquaculture operations are cost prohibitive, and professional opportunities for women are scarce.
“Nigeria has a domestic production of fish at about 800,000 metric tonnes and is known to be one of the largest importers of fish in the world yet we cannot meet the demand of the population,” says Oyebadejo whose family has been supporting her education in the field. “This scholarship will help me with practical skills and knowledge of efficient fish production. I think this is a way to build aquaculture in my country and influence the economy positively while saving a lot of lives.”
Oyebadejo is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Technology in Fisheries and Aquaculture at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria. She is experienced in all stages of the fish lifecycle from hatchery management to harvesting and sales. Her long-term goal is to set-up a training center in her community so she can mentor other young girls and women. She is the first in her family of seven girls to attend university.
About Marta Carvalho
Marta is a native of Porto, Portugal and has pursued various degrees with the support of a variety of scholarship programs. She holds both a BS and MS in Aquatic Sciences from the University of Porto and is currently pursuing her PhD in Sustainable Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In her PhD, she is focused on finding novel omega-3 sources for fish feed to increase environmental and economic sustainability.
As part of her studies, Marta has participated in an aquaculture research group where she ran an autonomic trial related to fish nutrition and co-authored her first scientific article. She then took an internship in the Canary Islands as part of an esteemed research group in aquaculture.
“We need men and women together to progress and to make aquaculture a sustainable and a healthy way of consuming fish,” says Marta. “I really believe that sustainable aquaculture is the future and I’ve developed a special interest in omega-3 nutrients, which are so important for humans as well as for fish,” says Marta. “I’m pursuing a deeper knowledge of these nutrients and how they can contribute to fish health and welfare, farm productivity, and an increased nutritional value for human consumption.”
SAGE (Seafood and Gender Equality) has a mission to build a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive seafood industry and sustainable seafood movement. To achieve our mission, SAGE uplifts, amplifies, and integrates the diverse voices of women in global seafood production through education, advocacy, and communication. You can read more about SAGE at our website www.seafoodandgenderequality.org.
About Kvarøy Arctic
Kvarøy Arctic is a third-generation Atlantic salmon farm on the Island of Kvarøy along Norway’s Arctic Circle. Led by CEO Alf-Gøran Knutsen, Production Manager Gjermund Olsen, and Operations Manager Håvard Olsen, the Kvarøy Arctic team is ushering in a new era of sustainability for salmon farming as a net producer of fish protein with a commitment to traceability and transparency through IBM blockchain technology.
Kvarøy Arctic is the first farmed finfish to carry the Fair Trade USA seal, and is BAP, ASC and Global G.A.P. certified. The salmon has the merroir of Norway’s cold, clear waters with delicate marine flavors and slight brininess. It is one of a small number of farm-raised fish certified by the American Heart Association’s® Heart-Check program. Kvarøy Arctic is actively expanding its U.S. retail presence. It is currently available through domestic U.S. distributor Pod Foods, at restaurants, and through select retailers like Giant Eagle, Cherry Hill Market, Cox Farms Market, Acorn Acres, and Whole Foods Market U.S. locations.