Sea Pact announces newest grant recipients
Sea Pact, a coalition designed to promote sustainable seafood, has announced four new and three continuing recipients of their fifth round seafood sustainability grants.
New winners include the B.C. Shrimpers’ Association, the Responsible Aquaculture Foundation, SafetyNet Technologies, Blue Ocean Gear, and continuing recipients of Sea Pact funding including the University of North Texas, the Downeast Institute and Shannon Balfry with the Vancouver Aquarium.
“We are very excited to be able to double the number of grant awards this year,” Sea Pact Managing Director Rob Johnson said. “Sea Pact has demonstrated a successful model of precompetitive collaboration, and as we further develop as a key leadership platform for industry progress on seafood sustainability, we are extremely pleased to be able to extend our dedication to ‘provide the building blocks’ and expand our grant support to more fisheries and aquaculture improvement projects that are working to affect change in the industry and create real impact on the water.”
According to Sea Pact, The four new projects that received funding include:
• A B.C. Shrimpers’ Association project to mitigate the main bycatch issue of eulachon, or hooliganfish, in the shrimp trawl fishery in British Columbia, Canada, through the use of LED light technology. Verification of the effectiveness of this selective gear technology aims to support proposed regulatory change, and thus effect improvement on the economic feasibility of the fishery while minimizing the impact of the fishery on the environment including other species.
• Responsible Aquaculture Foundation’s (RAF) project to help build out the RAF Education Program, an internet-based education platform providing global training in responsible aquaculture across multiple languages. The project aims to improve the state of aquaculture by disseminating training regarding responsible and effective management of aquaculture farms, hatcheries and other facilities in the seafood production chain.
• SafetyNet Technologies’ Pisces project, which will fund experimental trials of light-technology devices to improve catch selectivity for a variety of commercially important species in Europe. This project aims are to 1) improve fishers’ ability to only catch targeted species, 2) reduce the capture of endangered and juvenile species, and 3) improve trawling operational efficiency and profitability.
• Blue Ocean Gear’s project for the development and testing of a “smart” crustacean trap to help crab and lobster trap fishermen use innovative technology to bring about more sustainable practices. The aims of the use of this smart trap are to be able to minimize fuel usage, increase catch per unit of effort, and help to quickly locate lost or entangled gear.
The three existing Sea Pact projects that received continued funding include:
• A UNT project is continuing to advance research utilizing probiotics as an alternative to antibiotics for improving growth and survival in marine finfish aquaculture.
• A Downeast Institute grant supporting work with clammers in the town of Freeport, Maine. The project approaches improvements on an ecosystem level by addressing invasive green crab predation, impacts of rising seawater temperatures, and enhancing wild and cultured clam populations.
• A continuing research project headed by Shannon Balfry seeking to improve sea lice mitigation within the net-pen farmed salmon industry. The project is having early success evaluating the potential for usage of native species Kelp Perch and Pile Perch to control sea lice populations in place of using anti-parasitic agents.
“All of these successfully funded projects hold a strong relevance to our industry in looking at creating positive change for our sustainable future,” Sea Pact Advisory Council Chair Guy Dean said. “We are excited to be able to help facilitate this process as well as highlight what can be achieved when industry members participate together in a precompetitive nature for common goals. Sea Pact congratulates the successful recipients and looks forward to continued positive results from these improvement and research projects.”
Sea Pact, a non-profit, is comprised of Albion Farms & Fisheries, Fortune Fish & Gourmet, Ipswich Shellfish Group, Santa Monica Seafood, Seacore Seafood, Stavis Seafoods, J.J. McDonnell, A.C. Covert and Seattle Fish Co. According to Sea Pact, the goal of the organization is to “lead and drive improvement of environmental, economic, and social responsibility throughout the seafood supply chain.”