NFI Crab Council Sustainability Envoy Abdul Ghofar passes away

Abdul Ghofar.

The National Fisheries Institute’s crab sustainability envoy for its Crab Council has died, according to NFI.

Details of Ghofar’s death were not publicly available, but NFI confirmed his passing in a 14 March statement.

“Abdul Ghofar was an accomplished fisheries biologist whose contribution to global blue swimming crab work was renowned. He was a tireless advocate for science and sustainability, but he was far more than that for the NFI Crab Council. He was our advisor, our guide, and he was our friend,” it said. “Dr. Ghofar had a gentle way, a kind heart, and a commitment to do the right thing. His thirst for knowledge drove him as a scientist and as an author, but his insistence on finding ways to apply research to real-world applications made him stand out. His vision and practicality combined to form an ideal envoy who, for nearly a decade, coordinated effortlessly between industry-led initiatives, scientific research, and crab harvesting communities.”

NFI hiring by the Crab Council in 2016 was viewed as a “decisive moment for the sustainability group,” Crab Council Executive Director Ed Rhodes said at the time.

“Dr. Ghofar is a standout in fishery improvement,” Rhodes said. "The wide-range of his works and their specific successes demonstrate a change agent whose future actions will benefit the Crab Council and the whole blue swimming crab sustainability movement.”

A native of Indonesia, Ghofar had an advanced degree in marine fisheries biology from the University of Wales and served as an advisor and educator on the blue swimming crab supply chain for more than 30 years. Many of his scientific articles on the species and industry were published by scientific journals. In his career, Ghofar worked with nonprofit and corporate partners including USAID, NOAA, FAO, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank on the application of science-based sustainability models into real-world practice. 

As NFI Crab Council liaison, Ghofar traveled throughout Asia tracking and enacting fishery improvement project benchmarks in Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, according to NFI. His role was funded by the Walton Family Foundation. 

“The NFI Crab Council has become the focal point for crab sustainability,” Ghofar said in a release at the time of his hire. “I am excited to join an industry-led initiative with a clear sustainability commitment and the funding and dedication to affect immediate and lasting improvements. As the Crab Council’s sustainability envoy, I will bridge importer with supplier to help realize their shared sustainability goals.”

In a joint statement, Rhodes and NFI Crab Council President Brice Phillips, the CEO of Phillips Foods, expressed their sadness over Ghofar’s death.

“Aside from his impactful work and clear fisheries legacy, Dr. Abdul Ghofar was quietly generous in ways many will never know,” they said. “The NFI Crab Council salutes not only his work but his spirit.”


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