Steve Hedlund leaves GSA to join Cooke; Better Seafood Board welcomes new members

Steve Hedlund Cooke headshot

To keep up to date with the latest personnel changes across the seafood industry, SeafoodSource is compiling a regular round-up of hiring announcements and other personnel-related shifts worldwide. If you have an announcement, please send it to [email protected].

- Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick, Canada-based Cooke Aquaculture has appointed Steven Hedlund (pictured) as its director of public affairs. Previously, Hedlund worked as the communications, media, and events manager for the Global Seafood Alliance. He was also the spokesperson for GSA’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification program. 

“I’m absolutely thrilled for the next chapter in my career with the Cooke Inc. family. I appreciate the opportunity to represent Cooke Aquaculture USA and its 200-plus employees throughout Maine and to directly contribute to the future of aquaculture and seafood in a state that I’ve called home for 30 years now. It’s an honor. Let’s get to work,” Hedlund said in a LinkedIn post

Hendlund’s last day at GSA will be 29 December, he wrote. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Steven to Cooke Aquaculture USA in Maine,” Cooke Vice President of Public Relations Joel Richarson said in a release “He brings an impressive set of skills from decades of experience in the seafood industry, and he is passionate about environmentally sustainable seafood production, promoting the benefits of aquaculture in the local food system, and preserving Maine’s heritage of a vibrant working waterfront.”

-The U.S. National Fisheries Institute announced a new chairman and new members to the board of managers for the Better Seafood Board (BSB), on 8 December. The board was created in 2007 to investigate economic fraud in the seafood industry.

New members include Jodi Blanch of Gorton’s Seafood, Jason Driskill of H-E-B, Victor Garrido of Quirch Foods, and Brian Head of Trident Seafoods. 

“We’ve got a great group of industry leaders who are energized about fighting fraud,” National Fisheries Institute Regulatory Program Manager and BSB Secretariat Mike Bowen said. “When we look for nominations to join the team that manages our group we always find committed, high-level professionals willing to step up. It’s heartening.”  

Mike Kraft of FISH Standard for Crew will also be a new addition representing public interests, BSB said in a release. 

“With the addition of this new section the BSB is committed to providing our members the tools and education to ensure they can meet their commitments,” Bowen said. 

- Nordstrand, Norway-based seafood processing company Optimar announced Lene Christin Bratseth has been appointed its vice president for sustainability and business development, as of 1 March 2024.

“All companies must adapt to the green shift to remain competitive. Sustainability efforts must go hand in hand with value creation,” Bratseth said in a release. 

- Destin, Florida U.S.A.-based Rock N Roll Sushi has appointed Craig LeMieux as CEO and Terri Jessen as vice president of operations. 

“It's been a great three-year run as CEO of Rock n Roll Sushi, but it's time for someone else to grab the baton and run. I'm excited to hand it off to my long-time friend and business partner," former Rock N Roll Sushi CEO Chris Kamolis wrote on LinkedIn. LeMieux is becoming the company's chief development officer.

Both LeMieux and Jessen bring experience in franchising, which will be optimized as the company plans to expand to the Southwest U.S., Restaurant Dive reported. 

-Oslo, Norway-based seafood processing and manufacturing company First Seafood has announced Roger Aspen has been appointed as the director for all its salmon processing plants. Prior to joining First Seafood, Aspen worked at Gardabaer, Iceland-based Marel Fish as a customer sales manager.

“Roger is an engineer within aqua technology and has more than 20 years of experience in the salmon processing industry,” First Seafood wrote on its LinkedIn. 

First Seafood recently opened a plant in Kongsvinger, Norway, and has announced its plans to build another facility in Bergen.

-The Norwegian Seafood Council has appointed Åshild Nakken as the seafood envoy for Southeast Asia.

“With Åshild, we get a very good capacity that can continue and develop a very exciting region for Norwegian seafood, where we have done solid work together with the industry over a long period of time,” Norwegian Seafood Council Global Operations Director Børge Grønbech said in a release.

Before the new role, Nakken worked at Leroy Seafood for 12 years as the director of market and business development, according to her LinkedIn. 

Photo courtesy of Cooke


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500