The Norwegian company Kvarøy Arctic announced this week the two beneficiaries of its second scholarship program for women who work and research in the field of aquaculture, one of them a student from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The student of the University Institute for Research in Sustainable Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (IU-ECOAQUA) of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), the Portuguese Marta Carvalho, for the global modality, and the Nigerian Agustina Oyebadejo, In the section intended exclusively for candidates from the African continent, they have been chosen from among 200 applications from more than 30 countries to be beneficiaries of the 'Women in aquaculture' scholarship, which includes a fund of $ 10,000 for each of the two winners .
This scholarship, convened in collaboration with the NGO Seafood and Gender Equality (SAGE), It is exclusively for women who carry out their work in the field of aquaculture and also offers the unique opportunity to work on the Kvarøy Arctic farms in Norway for one month on a paid basis. Its aim is to highlight the talent of emerging researchers in the aquaculture sector through an immersive program and at the same time encourage students in training to continue specializing and betting on the aquaculture industry, mostly dominated by men.
Most of the requests came from students from United States, Nigeria and Kenya, with more than 90 nominations, and from countries such as Iran, Myanmar, Zimbabwe and New Zealand. The group of applicants was subjected to a screening that reduced the candidates based on the focus of the studies and the financial needs of their projects, among other qualifying factors. The requirements to be able to access the scholarship consist of being studying a training program related to aquaculture, being a woman and being fluent in the English language.
For the only recipient of the scholarship convened for the entire planet “this is an excellent initiative that proves the great generosity of a company that is recognized worldwide for its work in sustainable salmon aquaculture. This scholarship will give me the opportunity to continue training and to continue increasing my skills and knowledge in the aquaculture sector, for which I am very grateful to Kvarøy Arctic ”, highlights Marta Carvalho.
Carvalho completed his undergraduate and master's degrees at the University of Porto, his hometown. In his last year of master's degree, thanks to an ERASMUS + scholarship, he carried out the experimental investigations of his thesis in the Aquaculture Research Group (GIA) of the IU-ECOAQUA of the ULPGC under the direction of Professor Marisol Izquierdo. "The experience was so positive for both parties that I decided to enter ACUISEMAR's doctoral program in 2017-2018 also under the direction of Professor Marisol Izquierdo and Professor Daniel Montero," he adds.
In April 2018, Carvalho obtained two doctoral scholarships, one from the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation and another from the Canary Islands Agency for Research, Innovation and Information Society (ACIISI), which is what he finally opted for. Since then, he has developed his doctoral thesis in a research work that aims to find new ingredients that allow the development of more sustainable and efficient aquaculture feed at the time of maximizing the growth, health and well-being of the marine species typical of the aquaculture.
One of the specific objectives of his research is to study new sources of omega-3 for these feeds, particularly EPA and DHA, nutrients of extreme importance for vertebrates in general, including fish and humans. In this way, he affirms Carvalho, "These sources rich in omega-3 will allow, not only to increase the efficiency of production, but also to increase its content in the final product that reaches the consumer, thus increasing the benefits in human health associated with the consumption of fish."
The result of these years of research and intense work are the articles that Marta Carvalho She has managed to publish in prestigious international scientific journals in the sector and the presentations of her studies at international congresses, in addition to obtaining this important 'Women in Aquaculture' scholarship.
In 2018, the Organization of United Nations for Food and Agriculture, (FAO), reported that women represented only 19% of the 20.5 million people who work in aquaculture. Based on these figures, the company Kvarøy Arctic decided to start the 'Women in Aquaculture' program in 2020 to support women in this field through a dynamic experience of learning and work.