Emerging scientist: Chin Yee Chan

As a global leader in fisheries and aquaculture research, science is at the forefront of our work, delivering robust evidence to policy makers, technological innovations to poor producers and consumers, and novel tools to transform fish agri-food systems. In this new series, we profile our emerging scientists, early career research talents who are already making a significant contribution to fisheries and aquaculture knowledge.

Chin Yee Chan is a Research Fellow based in Penang, Malaysia. Her research focuses on fish foresight modeling. Since joining WorldFish in 2014, she has received grants as the principal investigator on two CGIAR research programs and the 2017 WorldFish Board Award for Achievement in Research. Prior to WorldFish, she worked for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the United States where she received extensive training in both clinical and translational research and basic sciences. She holds a Master of Science in Chemistry from Universiti Sains Malaysia.

What is fish foresight modeling?

Fish foresight modeling involves quantitative assessments of fish production and consumption patterns at global, regional and national levels. 

Why is fish foresight modeling important?  

It helps decision-makers to explore plausible future scenarios to prioritize investments and policy interventions that align with the CGIAR’s objectives and key Sustainable Development Goals.This includes mapping of fish production and consumption patterns under future climatic conditions and socioeconomic and technological development contexts, specifying fish supply and demand gaps and production limitations, and assessing the potential impacts of targeted aquaculture, fisheries and value chain and nutrition innovations. 

We collaborate with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to calibrate and improve the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT) in Africa and the ASEAN region. We also collaborate with partners from the Australian National University to build the country-level fish sector model to examine future fish supply and demand scenarios to draw policy implications that can be of interest for policy makers in developing countries.  

What’s the greatest research challenge you face?  

During the modeling process, we often face multifaceted challenges and sometimes need to spend many hours to find solutions to the emerging issues. However, we feel rewarded when we receive attention and recognition after the output is shared publicly.

For example, the paper ‘Prospects and challenges of fish on food security in Africa’ was led by WorldFish and IFPRI researchers and was the first article to appear in the Global Food Security special issue ‘Foresight for agriculture’. This paper, of which I was the lead author, received much attention and laid an impo­rtant foundation for further strategic FISH research and planning in African aquaculture and capture fisheries.

What’s your favorite part of the research process?  

Our foresight modeling is often combined with participatory stakeholder consultation workshops to explore plausible futures. This interaction with stakeholders is my favorite part. This process enhances our understanding of key prospects and challenges for the fish sector, and the findings provide important information and references for regional and national decision-makers.

What do you hope your research achieves?  

Compared to other commodities, fish is a relatively new realm of analysis using foresight modeling tools. I hope foresight modeling will continue to grow and gain attention among foresight studies of fish agri-food systems. Hopefully we can harvest more solid outcome stories from the countries and regions we have studied.