Aquaculture North America

Virtual Event
Women in North American Aquaculture Summit 2022
September 8, 2022 at 11:00am EST

Building intentional dialogue and equity in aquaculture

Moderator: Imani Black, Founder & CEO, Minorities in Aquaculture

  • Imani Black
  • Natalie Abdo
  • Taja Sims-Harper
  • Anoushka Concepcion
This panel will feature an open discussion with Minorities In Aquaculture (MIA) founder, Imani Black and MIA members Natalie Abdo, Taja Sims-Harper and Anoushka Concepcion about their different experiences as women of colour in the aquaculture industry.

This discussion will highlight the current status of DEI in aquaculture and identify impactful approaches that could advance diversity, equity and inclusion as we continue to strive for a more sustainable seafood fishery.

Imani Black
Imani Black was born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in Chestertown. After receiving her B.S. in Marine Biology from Old Dominion University, Imani has worked on oyster farms, nurseries and hatcheries along the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland for the last six years. From 2018 to 2020, she was the assistant hatchery manager for Hoopers Island Oyster Company, having the opportunity to work in all aspects of shellfish grow-out. In 2020, Imani founded Minorities In Aquaculture, a non-profit organization that strives to empower and support women of colour in the aquaculture industry by educating women of traditional watermen legacy and heritage in coastal communities.

Natalie Abdo
Natalie Abdo received her B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of South Florida in 2020, and she is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Florida. Natalie is currently an environmental specialist II with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and acts as lead for their Status Network Program and head of data management. Natalie has a passion for aquaculture, social justice, and sustainability, and hopes to one day start her own non-profit focused on aquaculture and minority groups.

Taja Sims-Harper
Taja Sims-Harper is a doctoral student in the marine biology Ph.D. program at University ofNew Hampshire (UNH). Originally from California, Taja earned her bachelor’s degree in marinescience from the University of Maine. At UNH her research focuses on microplastics in oystersand other marine life in Great Bay in the lab of Bonnie Brown, professor of ecological geneticsand the chair of the department of biological sciences. Taja’s research also includes mapping thebay using GIS and other mapping programs to find out where microplastics may be moving andsettling.

Anoushka Concepcion
Anoushka Concepcion is an associate extension educator focusing on marine aquaculture with the Connecticut Sea Grant Program based at the Avery Point Campus in Groton, CT. She is also a faculty member in UConn’s Department of Cooperative Extension. Her programming focuses on supporting marine aquaculture stakeholders in Connecticut, including the nascent seaweed aquaculture industry and associated stakeholders. Anoushka collaborates with industry and regulators to address emerging challenges associated with seaweed aquaculture. Specifically, she assists with the development of guidance on potential human health hazards associated with seaweed grow-out and processing, market development and permitting.

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