Management and Volunteers

AwF (UK) and then AwF in the US were registered as non-profit organizations in 2004.  AwF (UK) was absorbed into AwF in 2012 when Michael felt fresher hands perhaps could play a role but the UK AwF re-emerged in 2016 as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Many distinguished individuals served as board members of the original AwF's during this initial decade and all provided their time and energy to AwF as volunteers; it was this that enabled AwF to claim zero management costs - something very unusual for any charity organization. AwF projects were solicited through its website and reviewed by a voluntary technical advisory group. chaired by AwF Director Geoff Allan and only those projects meeting specific scientific and practical criteria were referred to board members for approval.

From the inception of AwF, it recruited volunteers who registered for field work. These individuals started coming forward from immediately after Michael's 2003 keynote paper in Brazil, and before AwF was officially registered!! The volunteer database was initially managed by Michael, later by AwF board members Joe Tomasso and Dave Conley, and then with the assistance of Cormac O'Sullivan. AwF volunteers have served in a wide range of countries, including those with specific AwF field projects and those involved in the 'Farmer to-Farmer' programs. Expertise from almost every scientific discipline in aquaculture quickly became available to AwF and the list includes many from the private sector. In 2008 there were 180 AwF volunteers in the database; by the end of 2012 this had grown to nearly 350.


Michael New, AwF’s founder and the UK Patron entered the aquaculture industry in 1969 following extensive experience in the animal feedstuff industry. After research on freshwater prawn culture he worked as an aquaculture consultant (1973-1979 and 1981-1986). Mr New managed an UNDP/FAO project in Thailand (1979-1981) designed to expand freshwater prawn farming. He was Senior Aquaculturist (1986-1988) in the FAO global Aquaculture Development and Coordination Programme and an FAO Senior Fishery Resources Officer (Aquaculture) in 1991-1992. He was Programme Coordinator of the ASEAN-EEC Aquaculture Development and Coordination Programme, a regional twinning programme based in Bangkok (1988-1991 and 1992-1995). After 1995 he returned to freelance consultancy. 

He has worked in 43 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe and authored nearly 150 technical manuals, scientific papers, book chapters and popular articles on aquaculture. He has also chaired or been a keynote/plenary speaker at numerous international conferences.

In 1999 Queen Elizabeth appointed Mr New as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of his services to aquaculture in developing countries. He is a Past-President of WAS and of EAS and an Honorary Life Member of both societies. He is a holder of the WAS Exemplary Service Gold Medal and the Gold Medal Award of the Asian Fisheries Society, and an Honorary Life Member of the China Society of Fisheries. 

Thanks to one of AwF's chairmen, the late M.C. Nandeesha, the AwF group as a whole is also fortunate to have the patronage of Professor M.S. Swaminathan, FRS. Profesor Swaminathan is widely regarded as the scientific leader of the green revolution.


From 2003 to 2012, AwF raised almost US$450,000 for its work. Nearly $264,000 was administered for AwF by other organizations and over $181,000 was donated to AwF directly. All expenditures were destined for project work. AwF's only expenses were for registration fees, the submission of reports to charity and taxation authorities, and communications. Until mid-2012, management costs were zero - a claim that very few charities can make. These remarkable achievements were made possible by the generosity of AwF donors and the voluntary work of its directors, its technical advisory group and other supporters.

During these first ten years of AwF, funding came from multiple sources, including personal donations from AwF directors and their families and friends, and local fund-raising activities. Charities and corporate donors were also generous. Many donations were in kind, rather than money, including the design and placement of advertisements. The original advertisement contained a picture from David Little, who later became an AwF director. Further advertisements were designed by Peter Chettleburgh's team in Capamara Publications and advertisement campaigns cost AwF nothing. Many aquaculture magazines and internet sites kindly placed them without charge, including Aquaculture Europe, Aquaculture Asia Pacific, Aquafeed, Aquafiia, Aquafin, Aquaculture Research, AquaTT, Eurofish, Fish Farming International, Fishing Chimes, Growfish (GAIN), Hatchery International, International Aquafeed, IntraFish, Northern Aquaculture, Panorama Acuicola, Panorama da Aquicultura, and World Aquaculture.

A very substantial proportion of AwF income was obtained by individuals who organized fund-raising activities. These included abseiling in Northern Ireland; art exhibitions in France; birthday parties in England and Thailand; dragon boat racing, raffles, bar collections, Santa runs and street parties in England; and student activities in Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, India, and the USA.

The field activity work of AwF between 2003 and 2012 was carried out in many countries in Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America. These small-scale projects funded by AwF were generally performed with local partners such as branches of international NGOs and local NGOs. Some activities were joint projects with other organizations, including the Asian Institute of Technology and the WorldFish Center.