SeaWeb names six Seafood Champions at 2015 Summit
SeaWeb named six Seafood Champions on Monday night at its 11th Seafood Summit in New Orleans in recognition for their inspirational work promoting seafood sustainability.
Bill DiMento (pictured, center, with SeaWeb President Dawn Martin and John Goodlad of the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group), chief sustainability officer for seafood supplier High Liner Foods, based in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, was named the first-ever Grand Champion for his exhaustive work that stretches across all four award categories: leadership, innovation, vision and advocacy. DiMento is an internationally recognized seafood sustainability leader with more than 35 years’ industry experience. He led High Liner’s efforts to achieve 99 percent of its strategic goal to sustainably source all of its seafood.
Winners — individuals and companies noted for outstanding leadership in promoting environmentally responsible seafood and ocean health — were chosen from a group of 16 finalists from Argentina, Canada, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of the Maldives, Panama and the United States, covering five continents.
They were selected from more than 100 nominations from the fishing, aquaculture, seafood supply and distribution, retail, restaurant and foodservice sectors, as well as conservation and social non-profit organizations, academia and the media.
“These Seafood Champions are looking beyond the status quo in best practices and responsible sourcing, and are addressing seafood sustainability in the context of ecological, human rights, and community needs,” said Dawn M. Martin, president of SeaWeb. “That kind of drive, passion and creativity will pave the path to a healthy future for this economically and environmentally important resource and the rest of us who depend upon the ocean as part of our daily lives.”
The Seafood Champion Award for leadership went to Andrew Jackson of the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organization (IFFO) for working with stakeholders toward creating a uniform standard and encouraging responsible production of fishmeal and fish oil, often used as feed in aquaculture. As a result of his efforts, 100-plus fishmeal/fish oil production plants in nine countries are now independently certified to IFFO’s standard.
The award for Innovation went to Anova Food, LLC: Fishing & Living Initiative, for advancing sustainable fisheries by incorporating community development and the wellbeing of fishers in their work to achieve environmental goals. Through Fisheries Improvement Projects (FIPs) and fisher education, Anova is bringing the Indonesian handline yellowfin tuna fishery up to Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards.
The award for vision was given to TJ Tate, for her work as sustainability director for Gulf Wild, a brand of responsibly caught seafood providing traceability and accountability to each reef fish landed. TJ was recognized for her pioneering work including video monitoring on fishing boats, bringing scientists and fishers together, and creating a market for bycatch.
The award for advocacy was shared between two winners: Ayumu Katano, Japanese fisheries expert, author and educator, and the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF). Katano's focus on sustainability stands out in Japan, especially for his efforts to explain sustainability and fisheries in terms that resonate within the Japanese culture. EJF’s Oceans Campaign has used community-based surveillance and easy-to-use technology in places like West Africa in their work to eradicate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
“The people, the organizations and the countries celebrated here tonight give us all hope for the future," said Martin. “In just the last few years we have seen tremendous growth in both the way the seafood industry has embraced sustainability and how the public has acknowledged its connection to ocean health. This year we received the greatest number of Seafood Champion nominations in the history of the awards — a sign that the leadership on this issue continues to grow and that those leaders deserve to be recognized.”
For more information on the Seafood Champion Awards, visit www.seafoodchampions.org.