SWSS: SeaWeb announces winners of 2016 Seafood Champion Awards

Published on
February 1, 2016

Seafood Summit celebration honors four winners and 16 finalists for advancing seafood sustainability and ocean health

Advocates for sustainable fisheries around the globe were honored with 2016 Seafood Champion Awards Monday, 1 February 2016 at the Seaweb Seafood Summit in St. Julian’s, Malta.

Winners of the four annual awards given for leadership, innovation, vision and advocacy in the promotion of ocean health and environmentally responsible seafood included, respectively: Ally Dingwall, the aquaculture and fisheries manager at Sainsbury’s in the United Kingdom; David Stevens of Cornwall, U.K.-based Crystal Sea Fishing; the parties to the Nauru Agreement Organization; and the Maldives Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture.

Six judges chose the winners from a group of 16 finalists, which had been winnowed down from an initial list of 90 nominees from sectors as diverse as aquaculture, retail, nonprofit organizations, academia, the media, restaurant and service sectors, fishing and seafood supply and distribution.

Dingwall was selected for the Seafood Champion Award for Leadership for his work in guiding Sainsbury’s path towards becoming MSC Fish Retailer of the Year in 2014. He has also played a key role in several sustainable seafood organizations and encouraged other retailers in the U.K. to commit to MSC standards for sourcing of seafood.

Stevens, owner and CEO of Crystal Sea Fishing, received the Seafood Champion Award for Innovation for his development of optimal methods for the avoidance of capture and waste of juvenile haddock and other bycatch. His technological breakthrough developed out of a partnership he formed with the U.K. fisheries agency to conduct discard reduction trials, and eventually led to updates in European Union rules allowing for gear modernized for implementation of his methods.

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement Organization earned the Seafood Champion Award for Vision for its effective efforts in managing the Western and Central Pacific tuna fishery. More than 50 percent of the global stock of skipjack tuna is located in the waters of the 8 countries belonging to the organization. In a short period of time, they banded together to develop and implement best practices and technologies that preserve the fishery while benefitting each of the partner countries’ economy.

The Maldives Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture was named the winner of the Seafood Champion Award for Advocacy following its efforts to implement and support sustainably fishery practices and policies in the Indian Ocean. Recently, the Maldives’ skipjack and yellowfin pole-and-line fisheries were awarded MSC certification, and the country has gone even further by inspiring other countries in the region to develop their own sustainability and fishery improvement projects.

SeaWeb, a program of The Ocean Foundation, seeks to promote and improve ocean health and sustainability, focusing especially on encouraging the acceptance and adoption of science-based solutions. Seaweb and The Ocean Foundation President Mark Spalding said the 2016 award winners shared qualities of incredible persistence and willingness to lead.

“It’s never easy to be the first to do something others believe is risky or even impossible,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important to celebrate these champions—they will inspire others to build on their accomplishments, and to take on the tough challenges that remain in the effort to ensure ocean health and advance seafood sustainability.”

For more information on the awards, go www.seafoodchampions.org.

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