NFI Red Crab Council receives award for sustainability mission in China

O2 Founder and CEO Rich Lincoln.

The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) Red Crab Council was recently awarded an "A" rating by, a group that tracks fisheries improvement projects (FIP), for its efforts to improve crab fishery sustainability in China.

Launched in 2009, the NFI Crab Council is an association of U.S. seafood companies partnered with Ocean Outcomes (O2) dedicated to improving crab fisheries management and funding FIPs across India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. The council claims its members represent roughly 85 percent of the blue swimming crab imported to the U.S.

The Crab Council is five years into the Red Crab fisheries improvement project (FIP) in China, an initiative to improve the sustainability of the approximately 40,000 metric tons caught along the Minnan-Taiwan Bank. The "A" rating is a recognition of the tangible improvements made through that effort, according to the Crab Council.

“I have called this effort ‘The little FIP that could’ for many years now,” said Newport International President Anjan Tharakan, who chairs the Crab Council. “Year after year, O2, their partners QMCS in China, and our member companies find a way to keep it moving in the right direction. I am as proud of the work done on the ground as I am that commitment. The operating climate has not been easy.”

The Red Crab FIP is set to continue this year with dockside catch monitoring and scientific analysis of catch samples.

“This FIP has earned an A rating in the face of all sorts of adversity,” O2 Founder and CEO Rich Lincoln said. “On some levels, our strategy has had to change to keep the lights on, but an early commitment to engage government and fishery stakeholders in the Zhangzhou region has paid dividends and created real partners.”

In March 2023, the NFI Red Crab Council announced that its sustainability envoy, Abdul Ghofar, had died. Since his hiring in 2016, Ghofar had worked on fishery improvement projects across Asia.

“Aside from his impactful work and clear fisheries legacy, Dr. Abdul Ghofar was quietly generous in ways many will never know,” NFI Crab Council President Brice Phillips, the CEO of Phillips Foods, and Crab Council Executive Director Ed Rhodes said in a joint statement. “The NFI Crab Council salutes not only his work but his spirit.”

NFI has not yet hired a replacement, according to its crab blog.

Photo courtesy of Rich Lincoln/LinkedIn


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