CAMBRIDGE — Imani Black, a graduate student at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, spoke to members of the Rotary Club of Cambridge about a lifelong interest in the aquaculture industry, which has led to her research in the historical minority engagement in commercial fisheries.
Ever since she was a young girl, Black said she has had a passion for restoration and conservation specifically the rapidly growing shellfish aquaculture industry. Upon graduating from Virginia Institute of Marine Science, she began working at various oyster farms, nurseries and hatcheries in Virginia and Maryland.
From 2018–20, she had the opportunity to work as the assistant hatchery manager at Hoopers Island Oyster Company, working in all aspects of shellfish growout. This experience helped to strengthen her interest in minorities in the profession. From this, Imani founded Minorities in Aquaculture, a nonprofit organization striving to empower and support women of color in the field. Through this, she hopes to educate women of the traditional watermen legacy and heritage.
“The goal of the nonprofit is to remove obstacles for minorities and provide educations on aquaculture’s sustainable and environmentally beneficial impacts on the environment,” Black said. “... they feel through education, they can create a more diverse, inclusive aquaculture industry.”