Rosemary Firth (1912-2001) was a path-breaking British social anthropologist who specialized in the field of domestic economy. She wrote the 1941 volume Housekeeping among Malay Peasants, tracking in detail the household economics of traditional fishing communities on the east coast of Malaysia, a companion volume to that by her husband, Raymond Firth, Malay Fishermen: Their Peasant Economy. The 1966 update of her book gave an account of changes she observed in the 23 years between study visits, with prescient views on the impacts of modernization on traditional fishing communities.

In 2016, the inaugural Rosemary Firth Award of $500 US was given to honor the best presentation on economics and/or trade in relation to gender in aquaculture and fisheries at the IIFET 2016 Scotland Conference. The aim of the prize was to highlight the best quality IIFET Conference presentation that applies economic analysis to gender issues, including gender inequality and/or inequity. Building on efforts to highlight gender research at previous IIFET Conferences, this prize aimed to help bring gender into economics and trade research themes in a rigorous manner by promoting quantitative research based on sound economics and gender methodologies. In future years, the Rosemary Firth Award was converted to a best paper competition, and organized in a fashion similar to other best paper prizes offered at IIFET conferences. 

The prize is supported by a grant from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration Fisheries (NOAA) of the United States of America.

In fisheries and aquaculture, gendered economics research is almost non-existent. At IIFET-2016, the Special Session, Gender Research as a New Frontier in Fisheries and Aquaculture Economics: In the Footsteps of Rosemary Firth, aimed to start to redress the dearth of economics and trade research on gender in fisheries and aquaculture.

Winner, IIFET 2020 Rosemary Firth Prize for Best Paper on the Economics of Gender in Fisheries and Aquaculture: Zahrah Izzaturrahim (University of Indonesia) for her paper, What it Means to be A Man and Woman in Our Society: Capturing Gender Construction through Gender Division of Labour in Fisheries

Winner, IIFET 2018 Rosemary Firth Prize for Best Paper on the Economics of Gender in Fisheries and Aquaculture: Carmen Pedroza-Gutierrez (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México) for her paper, The gender division of labor in fish processing in Lake Chapala. A source of bargaining power

Honorable Mention, 2018: Jennifer Meredith (University of Washington) for the paper, Fish or flight: The impact of transferable access rights on rural Alaskan salmon harvesters

Winner, IIFET 2016 Rosemary Firth Best Presentation on Gender Economics: Chikondi Manyungwa (Department of Fisheries, Lilongwe, Malawi) for her presentation, An investigation of women participation in fish value chains and value chain governance in Malawi: a case of Msaka on Lake Malawi and Kachulu on Lake Chilwa.

Highly Commended, 2016: Zahrah Izzaturrahim (Department of Anthropology, University of Diporegoro, Semarang, Indonesia) for her presentation Measuring the Role of Women in Fisheries: A Case from Tambak Lorok, Central Jawa, Indonesia.