Justin Boevers leaves position as FishChoice program director

Justin Boevers has left nonprofit sustainable seafood sourcing organization FishChoice after serving as its program director for the last 10 years.

Boevers, who will remain based in Olympia, Washington, will be doing part-time work for Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and is “exploring opportunities to see what else is out there for working independently,” Boevers told SeafoodSource.

According to its website, FishChoice “works with the leading global sustainable seafood assessments to align sustainable seafood sourcing information into one set of data that can be used for suppliers to identify and promote the sustainability of their seafood in a transparent effort, enable businesses to track the sustainability of their seafood and keep it up-to-date, and more.”

Boevers said he was the nonprofit’s first hire and he enjoyed growing its reach from a few hundred businesses to several thousand.

“I’m proud of the work I did there,” Boevers said. “We had a great team that was small and nimble, and I think we accomplished a lot. And I met hundreds and hundreds of people along the way who really care about sustainable seafood. In my time at FishChoice, we built one of the largest sustainable seafood supply chains out there.”

As program director, Boevers helped businesses throughout seafood supply chains learn more about the sourcing and sustainability of their products, with a focus on certifications and rating systems.

Boevers said the biggest challenge of his job was helping large distributors trying to match their products to the “myriad of rating systems out there, and keeping up with all the ratings changes.”

“A lot of the businesses we worked with didn’t do seafood full-time; It was just a part of what they had to worry about. It was a nonstop process of keeping those businesses up-to-date on the sustainability of their seafood and growing the number of businesses we were reaching,” he said.

Boevers said the work FishChoice is doing remains vitally important.

“Lot of chefs and retailers need a lot of help to see if they’re sourcing fraudulently labeled seafood or illegally harvested seafood. There’s a lot of work to be done in that kind of risk management and due diligence,” he said.

Of just as much important, Boevers said, is doing more groundwork of mapping out and assessing seafood supply chains for sustainability.

“There is still so much seafood that we don’t understand the sustainability of – good, bad, or otherwise,” he said. “More than 50 percent of seafood is still unassessed. We just need a better handle on that because, at the end of the day, if businesses don’t have that information, how are they supposed to manage seafood sustainability?”

Photo courtesy of International Pole and Line Foundation


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