Aina Afanasjeva, Director, EUROFISH International Organisation, passed away on Sunday, 14 March 2021, in Riga, Latvia following a long struggle with illness. Aina, who turned 60 on 10 January this year, is survived by her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren.
She led the organisation for 12 years steering it through the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis of 2008 with a steady hand and working closely with the EUROFISH Governing Council to ensure the continuation of EUROFISH services to its member countries. Hungary, a country with an important inland aquaculture sector, joined the organisation on her watch, and Aina played a crucial role in expanding the EUROFISH project portfolio with multilaterally and bilaterally funded projects. She had a vast network of colleagues, partners, and friends not only across Europe, but in countries around the world, and the messages of condolence that have been ticking in steadily testify to the deep affection and respect she inspired.
Aina joined EUROFISH in 2009 from a position in the European Commission, DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, where since 2005 she managed the implementation of EU structural funds programmes in the fisheries sector in different Member States. Before that she was Deputy Director of the Latvian fisheries administration for nine years. Among her major tasks were the negotiations on trade in fisheries products, preparation of Latvia's accession to the EU, as well as representation of national interests in various EU institutions. Aina Afanasjeva had a long record of international relations (WTO, FAO and the EU) and she was one of the key national representatives contributing to the establishment of EUROFISH. She had a background in commodities and trade in food products, the technology of fish products, and a masters’ degree in food chemistry.
Marco Frederiksen will be taking over as Acting Director until a new Director is found.