HONG KONG - The finalists for the 2016 international Seafood Champion Awards were announced at the sixth edition of Seafood Expo Asia in Hong Kong.
Four finalists were selected in each of four categories: Leadership, Innovation, Vision- and Advocacy. The winners will be announced at the 12th SeaWeb Seafood Summit, which will be held 1-3 February 2016 in St. Julian’s, Malta.
SeaWeb’s Seafood Champion Awards recognises individuals and organizations for outstanding leadership in promoting environmentally responsible seafood.
"This group of Seafood Champions finalists have been nominated for their creative and effective solutions to seafood sustainability issues that set an example for stakeholders across the globe," said Dawn Martin, President of SeaWeb.
"These leaders are blazing new paths in sustainable seafood and SeaWeb is privileged to be in a position to shine a light on their inspiring work."
The finalists were selected by an independent panel of seafood sustainability experts from industry, nonprofit and academia who hailed from Europe, North America and Asia.
“We give special thanks to our distinguished judges for generously devoting considerable time and expertise in making these selections,” commented Martin.
"Their depth of knowledge and global perspective provided balance and insight to a very complex evaluation process."
The Seafood Champion Award for Leadership recognizes entities or individuals who display leadership by organizing and convening seafood stakeholders in an effort to impact and improve the sustainability of seafood or ocean health. The finalists in this category are:
- Richard Boot - The founder and President of FishChoice, an online resource designed to reduce complexity for seafood buyers seeking to source more sustainably. FishChoice.com is a user-friendly one-stop-shop for sustainability information that consolidates seafood ratings by Marine Stewardship Council, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and other major seafood sustainability guides.
- Maria Damanaki - In her role as E.U. Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, she introduced a new European Common Fisheries Policy aimed at bringing fisheries to sustainable practices by 2020; and established a system of international cooperation for seafood traceability. She is currently Executive Director for Oceans at The Nature Conservancy.
- Ally Dingwall - As the Aquaculture and Fisheries Manager and member of the Sustainable and Ethical Sourcing team for Sainsbury's, he has led the U.K. retailer to become a recognized leader in sustainable sourcing of seafood products that are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified.
- Tony Martawijaya - This tuna supplier in East Indonesia has put supporting his fishermen ahead of personal gain by working to increase marketing opportunities, safety, and financial stability of fishers while requiring them to employ sustainable practices in catching fish.
The Seafood Champion Award for Innovation recognizes entities or individuals who identify and apply new solutions that meet or exceed the highest standards or requirements to address ecological challenges, existing market needs, or barriers to sustainability. The 2016 finalists are:
- Precision Seafood Harvesting - This New Zealand government-industry partnership has developed a new fish harvesting system that shows potential for greatly reducing the mortality of unintended catch such juvenile fish and by-catch species.
- David Stevens - As a fisherman working off the southern English coast, he has pioneered innovative new gear changes that helped him reduce catch discards to less than 0.1%, and inspired other fishermen to follow his lead in meeting challenging new E.U. discard ban regulations.
- Umino Sachiwo Miraini Nokosu Kai (Sustainable Seafood for the Future) - This Japanese volunteer organization is focused on getting Japan to put in place a data-based quota system for fishing companies similar to those in the U.S. and E.U systems, and to bring the message of seafood sustainability to the Japanese public.
- Young's Seafood - One of the first U.K. fish and seafood processors to put in place a comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility initiative addressing responsible sourcing, through 10 Principles for Responsible Fish Procurement and a Fish for Life program.
In the Seafood Champion Award for Vision, which recognizes entities or individuals who provide a clear, distinctive, and specific vision of the future that significantly advances the sustainable seafood community and may be related to technology, policy, products, markets or conservation tools, the finalists are:
- Ikishi Maguru wo Kengaeru Kai (Group Thinking about Tuna Resources of Iki Island) - A regional pole and line fishermen's association in Japan that voluntarily implemented a three-year suspension of Bluefin tuna fishing during spawning season in their region despite the impact on their incomes and the uphill battle convincing the government and large seafood companies to follow suit.
- Parties to the Nauru Agreement Organisation - A coalition of eight Pacific island nations that has been successful in jointly implementing innovative fisheries management strategies and state-of-the-art technologies to ensure the future of the world's largest tuna purse seine fishery, a resource critical to the future of these nations.
- Sustainable Seafood Coalition-A cooperative of U.K. retailers, producers and suppliers that has come together to define environmental sustainability to ensure that all fish and seafood sold in the U.K. are from sustainable sources and that voluntary claims about responsibility and sustainability are clear, consistent and meaningful.
- Tri Marine - A global fishing company that has invested in mitigating bycatch, improving data collection, and reducing overcapacity/overfishing and that has put into place a comprehensive sustainability policy that includes tracing fish from catch to shelf.
The Seafood Champion Award for Advocacy recognizes entities or individuals who positively promote sustainability or use the media to raise the profile of sustainable seafood, effectively work to strengthen public policy and resource allocation decisions, or influence public discourse and engages key stakeholders by publicly championing advances in sustainable seafood. The finalists in this category are:
- Ned Bell - Executive Chef at Four Seasons Vancouver (Canada) restaurant and founder of the initiative "Chefs for Oceans," a platform to educate, inspire and inform the foodservice industry and media on the importance of sustainable seafood. Chef Bell works closely with OceanWise, the Vancouver Aquarium's program rating seafood for sustainability.
- The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE) - This all-volunteer organization based in California focuses on inspiring and educating fishers, seafood suppliers, consumers, and legislators on ocean conservation, and has been involved in nearly every successful effort to regulate the sale of detached shark fins in the continental United States.
- Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators (COLTO) - Estimating that they produce over 90% of the global catch of toothfish (also known as Chilean Sea Bass), this coalition of fishing operators, fishing gear manufacturers, fish traders, and retailers has successfully worked with governments and nonprofits in the Southern Ocean to ensure that toothfish stocks are healthy and sustainable.
- Marine Research Centre, Maldives - Through its work at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission and as ambassadors of pole-and-line tuna, the small island nation of Maldives has had an outsized impact in implementing sustainably managed tuna fisheries and influencing neighboring nations to undertake fishery improvement projects to achieve MSC certification.
Winners will be honored at an awards ceremony on the first day of the SeaWeb Seafood Summit to be held 1-3 February 2016 in St. Julian's, Malta.
TheFishSite News Desk