Dr. Nelly Isigi Kadagi is a conservation leader, fisheries scientist, and educator, working at the interface of science, policy and capacity development. She is the Director, World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Education for Nature Program and Conservation Leadership and the Co-Principal Scientist of the WIOMSA-MASMA funded BILLFISH-WIO project – a multidisciplinary and multi-country research project bringing together 10 countries and diverse collaborators. She is also a recipient of the 2021-2022 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
In her current role at WWF-USA, Nelly oversees the organization’s strategy for conservation capacity development and leads the operation of the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program (EFN), a longstanding initiative with over 28 years of success working to enhance capacities for conservation leadership and science across the globe.
Her work as a fisheries scientist has primarily focused on understanding sources of fisheries conflicts and improving the quality of fisheries data collection, analysis, and reporting, particularly large pelagic fish such as billfish. Nelly’s pioneer work on billfish species has seen her conceptualize and lead the largest billfish research group in the Indian Ocean (BILLFISH-WIO). She has also served as the Director of Research and fundraising for the African Billfish Foundation where she championed billfish research, and as a United Nations – FAO-IOTC regional fisheries expert tasked with improving data collection and reporting for sport and recreational fisheries.
She holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology (Fisheries and Aquatic Science) from the University of Florida (USA), Masters degree in Biomathematics, North Carolina State University (USA).