Washington, DC – Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted has been named the 2021 World Food Prize Laureate. Often referred to as the Nobel Prize for food research, Dr. Thilsted is the first woman of Asian heritage to receive the award. Her work focuses on unlocking the benefits of fish for diets, health and livelihoods.
“Dr. Thilsted’s work has helped scientists understand just how beneficial fish can be. She’s shown that fish not only provides essential micronutrients and fatty acids, but also improves the absorption of nutrients from traditional agrarian staples,” said Jennifer McGuire, Registered Dietitian from the National Fisheries Institute.
The World Food Prize Foundation says her work is, “reshaping scientific understanding of the benefits of fish in diets” and helping “prioritize increases in fish consumption and production, transforming the diets and incomes of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Her award-winning work includes a focus on expanding small-scale aquaculture systems where small and large fish species are farmed together.
“Dr. Thilsted’s research is unique because it’s holistic,” said National Fisheries Institute Chair Derek Figueroa, President of Seattle Fish Company. “Not only is she looking at the vital dietary side, she’s looking at the jobs, income and the sustainability of whole communities. The transformational power of seafood is truly on display.”
The Foundation calls her work a “trailblazing approach” that “extends throughout the entire chain of producing, processing, transporting, selling and consuming aquatic food.”
“We’re not just talking about generally nourishing people,” said McGuire. “We’re talking about work that helps get the right nutrients to the right people, from nursing mothers to ageing populations. It’s truly remarkable.”
“NFI congratulates Dr. Thilsted on this award and thanks her for her tireless work,” said Figueroa.