Dr Nelly Isigi Kadagi has received the inaugural WIOMSA Emerging Scientist award for scientific excellence and her innovative approach in research, her international and regional eminence and her remarkable track record in mentoring and guiding other emerging scientists in the WIO region and diffusing knowledge across borders. One of her most significant achievements is serving at the frontline of billfish education and research in the western Indian Ocean region. In doing so, she has engaged fishers, government departments and the private sector and raised over USD 150 000 to support billfish tagging, resulting in over 55 000 tagged billfish. Dr Kadagi is currently a principal investigator on the ongoing BILLFISH-WIO project funded by WIOMSA. The USD 330 000 project involves over 20 collaborators in the WIO region and beyond, including regional scientists and students in all 10 countries of the region – including Somalia, a country that has received funding for the first time in the history of WIOMSA’s MASMA programme.
Dr Kadagi has been involved in several capacity development initiatives, including the first-ever regional fisheries stock assessment workshop that took place in 2018. She has recruited a Master’s student from Somalia who is registered at Pwani University, and is supervising, mentoring and coaching nine students (three doctoral students, four Master’s students and two undergraduates) through the BILLFISH-WIO project. She has authored or co-authored several publications and won a number of awards and grants, delivered keynote presentations and holds memberships of various academic, honour and professional societies.