2018 Seafood Champion Award finalists announced by SeaWeb

Seventeen individuals and organizations have been named as Seafood Champion Award finalists, given annually for excellence in promoting environmentally responsible seafood.

The finalists were selected by a panel of seafood sustainability experts from industry and nonprofit organizations based in Asia, Europe, and North America. Four winners, one in each of four categories, will be announced at a ceremony 19 June at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Barcelona, Spain.

"Many of these finalists put a human face on the social issues that are increasingly part of the seafood sustainability discussion," SeaWeb Program Director Ned Daly said. "From preventing slave labor and supporting women workers to feeding the hungry and helping fishing communities leverage sustainable practices into market access, they show us that the seafood community has the courage to engage in even the most entrenched and difficult problems." 

The Seafood Champion Award for Leadership recognizes people and organizations that bring stakeholders together to improve seafood sustainability or ocean health. The finalists are:

  • Chefs Trading, a United States-based international seafood import and export company owned and operated by chefs. In addition to tagging all their products with traceability information back to the boat, the organization provides a fishery improvement project (FIP) in Costa Rica with both financial and organizational support.
  • David Parker, head of corporate social responsibility for Young's Seafood in the United Kingdom. Parker is known for his at-sea engagement and improvement work in both wild fisheries and aquaculture. In addition to spearheading innovations such as a project to use LED lights in bottom-trawls to reduce bycatch, Parker volunteers with numerous organizations working for seafood sustainability.
  • Guy Dean, vice president and chief sustainability officer of Albion Farms and Fisheries, has been involved in the seafood industry for almost 30 years in roles ranging from farmer, harvester, and fisher to processor and distributor. Dean represents the seafood industry on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Multi-Stakeholder Committee. In addition, he co-founded Sea Pact, a group seafood companies committed to improving the social, economic, and environmental performance of the global seafood supply chain.  
  • SeaShare is an Alaskan nonprofit organization established by fishermen and other stakeholders to use bycatch to feed the hungry. Over the last 20 years, this collaboration of fishermen, processors, freight, and other partners has donated 45 million pounds of seafood to food banks. 

The Seafood Champion Award for Innovation recognizes those who identify and apply new solutions to ecological challenges, market needs or sustainability barriers. The finalists are:

  • Bubba Cook, a manager for World Wildlife Fund's Smart Fishing Initiative, is leading the implementation of blockchain traceability into the tuna longline sector, starting in Fiji. Blockchain will expose illegal supply chains and secure the traceability of legal product in an un-hackable digital ledger, allowing this information to be distributed throughout the supply chain from boat-to-plate and arming consumers with the right information to make their own buying decisions.
  • FisheryProgress.org web platform is a one-stop shop for reliable, verified information about Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) progress. While information related to FIPs had been complex and dispersed, FisheryProgress.org has created a one-stop shop for reliable information on approximately two-thirds of all FIPs globally
  • Gerald Knecht, president and founder of North Atlantic Seafood, founded Bali Seafood International 10 years ago in Indonesia. Working with impact investors, BSI is building integrated fishery community centers that offer better prices, cold storage, processing and support services, and education directly to small-scale fishing communities that adhere to responsible fishing practices. 
  • Pelagic Data Systems, based in California ,U.S.A., is the creator of a groundbreaking ultra-light vessel-tracking system that is a solar-powered, autonomous data-collection device, approximately smartphone-sized, that records vessel location and transmits over a secured cellular network. Since 2014, PDS has launched programs in more than 15 different countries.
  • Skretting, an international company headquartered in Norway, is applying two decades of research and development to formulating fishmeal-free aquaculture feed, including a commercially-available salmon feed that will enable the salmon industry to grow and provide more fish to the human population without increasing the pressure on wild fish stocks. 

The Seafood Champion Award for Vision recognizes distinctive visions that significantly advance the sustainable seafood community. The finalists are:

  • Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that is working to promote sustainable livelihoods, protect fragile ecosystems, and build strong, transparent supply chains through independent, third-party certification. The Fair Trade Certified Seafood Program has engaged more than 5,000 fishermen and workers under the Capture Fisheries Standard. Fair Trade certified products are currently found in 20 leading North American retails including Safeway, Hy-Vee, and Whole Foods Market.
  • International Association for Women in the Seafood Industry is a new organization dedicated to women in seafood. In 2017, it participated at the World Seafood Congress 2017, created a scholarship exchange for female seafood professionals, and conducted a global survey to help understand the situation. 
  • Kampachi Worldwide Holdings is pursuing environmentally-sound production of high-value marine fish in offshore sites, using innovative engineering and biology, and working closely with regulators and the conservation community. 
  • Open Blue is an aquaculture operation dedicated to raising cobia 12 kilometers off the coast of Panama in proprietary SeaStations fully submerged at depths of up to 100 feet. Vertically integrated from egg to plate, Open Blue Cobia became the world’s first ASC-certified cobia operation in January 2018.

The Seafood Champion Award for Advocacy recognizes the promotion of sustainability, use of the media to raise the profile of sustainable seafood, work to strengthen public policy and resource allocations, and championing of advances in sustainable seafood. The finalists are: 

  • Beth Lowell, senior campaign director at Oceana, heads a campaign exposing seafood fraud through DNA testing. Lowell’s successful work to bring this issue into the public eye helped convince U.S. President Barack Obama to appoint a task force in June 2014 to consider potential solutions.
  • Daren Coulston is a former deep-sea fisherman and businessman who turned to advocacy after talking with Indonesian crew members who were rescued following the sinking of their South Korean vessel in 2010. He has advocated for more than 600 Indonesian crew members and secured them approximately USD 10 million (EUR 8.1 million) in back pay.
  • International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) is a human rights organization that works with trade unions, faith-based organizations, environmental groups and community organizations to support workers and their families. ILRF began documenting forced labor and human trafficking in the Thai seafood sector in 2012. Since then, its Thai Seafood Working Group has grown from a small coalition of mostly U.S.-based organizations to an internationally-recognized network of over 60 organizations from 15 countries that is influential in government and industry.
  • Patima Tungpuchayakul, founder of the Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation, has emerged as a key actor in the effort to end slavery at sea in Southeast Asia. In more than two decades as an activist, Patima has helped to create awareness of chronic human rights violations and improve the lives of migrant workers and the laws governing their employment. Between August 2014 and October 2016, Patima rescued 3,000 trafficked workers stranded on remote islands in Indonesian waters by the Thai fishing industry.

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