MERYL WILLIAMS has worked for over 40 years in international fisheries, aquaculture, aquatic resource conservation and development. Currently, she is focusing on research and advocacy on women and gender equality in the fisheries, aquaculture and food value chains, and information and science for fair, inclusive and responsible fish production for food security and nutrition.


She is inaugural Chair of the Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section (GAFS) of the Asian Fisheries Society (AFS); Vice Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, member of the board of Aquaculture without Frontiers (Australia), and member of the Advisory Committee for Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation. She has also held board and committee positions on other high level governance bodies. From 1998-2002 she was Chair of the Advisory Board of the CGIAR Gender and Diversity Program that launched the pilot phase of the ongoing AWARD (African Women in Agricultural Research and Development) program. 
From 2008-2014 she was a member of the Governing Board of the International Crop Research Center for the Semi-Arid Tropics.

From 2004 to 2007 she was Chair of the ACIAR Board of Management and Policy Advisory Council, and, from 2007-2010 Chair of the ACIAR Commission.

Dr Williams was Director General of WorldFish Center (1994-2004), during which time she concentrated the focus of WorldFish on eradicating poverty, improving people’s nutrition, and reducing pressure on the environment. She was previously the Director of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Executive Director of the Bureau of Rural Sciences (Australian Government), tuna fisheries statistician at the Secretariat for the Pacific Community and fisheries biologist in the Queensland state government service.

She is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) and an Honorary Life Member of AFS. She has been awarded an Australian Centenary Medal, and the Crawford Medal (Crawford Fund, Australia) for contributions to international agricultural research, and named an Outstanding Alumnus of James Cook University. 

For AFS, she led the team that initiated the long running series of global symposia on women/gender in fisheries and aquaculture and maintains the global website for the Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section (GAFS) of AFS She is leading AsiaPacific-FishWatch, the AFS project developing online authoritative information for Asia-Pacific fisheries and aquaculture

She was educated at the University of Queensland and James Cook University.