Sustainability Innovation: Evidence-Based Approach to Shrimp Farming Challenges by Oxford and Can Tho

Alena Goebel


From a young age, I have been interested in food and how our food choices have an impact on animals, people and the environment. After pursuing an undergraduate degree with a focus on international development and ideology, I decided to expand my horizon and did an internship with a nutrition project in Malawi followed by travels in Southern and Eastern Africa as well as Central and South America. With these impressions, I then began a graduate degree in human development and food security and researched the downstream impacts of high seas fishing on developing nations as part of the Common Oceans Tuna Project of FAO for my thesis. I then worked in a development project in Mauritania for almost three years where our aim was to improve the food security through sustainable small-scale fisheries. This experience has shown me even more how interlinked small-scale producers and global developments are – and how little power small-scale producers have in this process. I hence decided to investigate this further with my DPhil project and contribute to a more environmentally and socially sustainable food system.

Research Interests

I am interested in creating a more sustainable food system through participatory policy approaches. My approach is interdisciplinary, taking social, environmental and economic factors into consideration.

Current Research

Global and local food systems face many challenges in terms of food and nutrition security as well as environmental sustainability. This is also true for aquatic foods. With many wild species being overexploited, aquaculture is now overtaking fisheries in terms of production volume. My research hence explores ways to make aquaculture more sustainable using a case study of shrimp farming in Viet Nam. The research aims to determine the strongest polluting factors and then working directly with farmers and policy makers to identify approaches that can make their farming practices more sustainable

Brief CV

2019-2022: Advisor for Communications and Sustainable Fisheries with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Nouakchott, Mauritania

2019: Research Volunteer with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy

2018-2019: MSc in Human Development and Food Security at the Università Roma Tre, Italy

2017-18: Food and Nutrition Security Internship with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Lilongwe, Malawi

2016: Exchange semester in Asian and International Studies and Communications at the City University of Hong Hong, Hong Kong SAR

2013-17: BA (Hons) in Film & Media and Politics at the University of Stirling, UK