SeaWeb today announced 16 finalists for the 2017 Seafood Champion Awards who have demonstrated brilliance and tenacity in working across borders, language barriers and industries to change our relationship with the sea. From fish cops in East Africa to the creator of easily replicated 3-D ocean farms, and from a chef who cycled across Canada promoting sustainable seafood to a company whose solar-powered data collector puts small-scale fishing boats on the map, these Champions show an inspiring level of ingenuity and commitment.
The annual Seafood Champion Awards program, now in its 11th year, recognizes individuals and organizations for excellence in promoting environmentally responsible seafood. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on June 5 at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Seattle.
“This year’s finalists have a global perspective, whether they act locally or at a broader level,” said Mark Spalding, president of SeaWeb and The Ocean Foundation. “Improving seafood’s sustainability requires addressing difficult political, technical, social and economic questions. To create change, you have to forge alliances and bring people together around a common cause. These are not easy things to do, but the Champions on this list have forged ahead and are making real progress.”
GGGI has been named as a finalist for the Vision category! The Seafood Champion Award for Vision which recognizes distinctive visions that significantly advance the sustainable seafood community. The other finalists include:
- Bren Smith, who is leading the development and promotion of 3-D ocean farms. His nonprofit GreenWave helps fishers become ocean farmers by adopting GreenWave’s open-source, replicable model, which restores rather than depletes ocean ecosystems.
- Matthew Beaudin, executive chef of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, who moved $1 million in buying power to seafood producers within a 90-mile radius. He also is a regional and cross-border leader, developing aquaponics programs to support orphaned, HIV-positive children in Mexico.
- The Marine Research Foundation, a three-person nonprofit in Malaysia whose work protects endangered sea turtles while making Malaysia’s shrimp-fishing industry more sustainable. The MRF overcame entrenched opposition to the use of turtle excluder devices and now anticipates a full rollout of the devices, which will save an estimated 4,000 turtles. That will open access for Malaysia to a global market hungry for sustainable shrimp.
- The Global Ghost Gear Initiative, the first effort to tackle the problem of abandoned fishing gear on a global scale. This international, cross-sector partnership works with stakeholders from fishers to the United Nations to collect data and develop and model solutions that remove ghost gear from the ocean.