In this issue:
Seafood Summit 2009
Seafood Champion Finalists
Alliance Quick Links
Upcoming Events

International Boston Seafood Show
15-17 March 2009

IACP 31st Annual International Conference
1-4 April 2009
All Things Organic
4-7 April 2009

European Seafood Exposition 2009
28-30 April 2009
This afishianado provides you with a wrap-up of activities at Seafood Choices Alliance's 2009 Seafood Summit, the largest and most diverse Summit ever. Stay tuned for an announcement about the 2010 Summit location.  Request for proposals for the 2010 Summit will be sent out in April.  Also in this afishianado, we recognize our annual Seafood Champion award finalists. Congratulations to the ten finalists, and we look forward to revealing the Seafood Champion winners to  you at the Boston Seafood Show on March 15! If you're not at Boston, be sure to visit www.seafoodchoices.org on Monday to find out who the winners are.
Seafood Summit Closes with Largest Audience Ever, Announcement of New Partnerships

San Diego Boat2The 2009 Seafood Summit, organized by SeaWeb's Seafood Choices Alliance, concluded February 3rd with a call for continued collaboration for the future of the sustainable seafood movement. Melanie Siggs, Director of Seafood Choices Alliance, drew a parallel to the challenges facing the seafood industry and conservation community to the current global economic crisis and implore Summit attendees to apply the lessons learned to their everyday activities.  "Surely we are way smarter than the financial sector and wouldn't 'over borrow' from our ocean planet," she said, addressing representatives during the Summit closing. "You've demonstrated how to share responsibility...but there are still so many to engage in these discussions...we must bring new voices to this community for the future of this movement."

The 2009 Seafood Summit, Sharing Responsibility for Real Change, proved to be the most successful yet, with a record number of attendees from business, conservation, academia, government, media and nongovernmental organizations. In all, 475 people representing 32 countries attended the conference designed to facilitate frank, and at times contentious, dialogue to advance the issue of responsible management of sustainable fishing and aquaculture.

Some of the key news to emerge from the three-day event includes the following:

    Ten Seafood Champion finalists were announced during the kick-off event of the Summit. The Seafood Champion awards are presented annually by Seafood Choices Alliance to honor those who have made significant strides in improving practices and awareness of responsible seafood sourcing. See the next story for more information about the Seafood Champion finalists.

    The certification bodies Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) and GLOBALGAP announced on Sunday a new partnership to harmonize their existing aquaculture standards. The move is designed to develop international certification systems for farmed fish.  The partnership comes less than a week after the conservation group WWF announced the formation of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, an organization that will house the standards currently being developed by the Aquaculture Dialogues hosted by WWF.

    A new initiative to promote sustainability within the canned tuna industry will be unveiled in the coming weeks. Susan Jackson, president of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), discussed plans for a global partnership between canned tuna suppliers, scientists, and conservation organizations such as WWF.  The goal of the project is to have tuna fisheries become capable of being certified in compliance with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

For a complete list of the Seafood Summit's panels, presentations and workshops, visit www.seafoodsummit.org. The majority of presentations are now available for download in PDF format.  Also available are conference materials such as the full program, agenda, and an updated attendee contact sheet.   All available presentations and conference materials can be downloaded from: http://seafoodchoices.org/seafoodsummit/SeafoodSummit2009.php.

For any questions regarding Seafood Summit 2009 or other Seafood Choices Alliance events, please email info@seafoodchoices.org. We hope to see you next year in Europe for Seafood Summit 2010!
Seafood Champion Finalists Announced at the 2009 Seafood Summit

Champion Award Ten Seafood Champion finalists were announced during the kick-off event of the Seafood Summit, Seafood Choices Alliance's annual conference. The 2009 Champion finalists are the American Albacore Fishing Association, London restaurateur Caroline Bennett, Gary Johnson of McDonald's Corporation, Australis Auquaculture, organic shrimp farmer Mathias Ismail of Madagascar, French fishing organization Association des Ligneurs de la Point de Bretagne, Santa Monica Seafood Company, Tracy Taylor of supermarket chain Ahold, Seafood Scotland and Dr. Tom Pickerell of the UK Shellfish Association.  

    American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA)
AAFA is a US-based association that represents a pole and troll caught albacore fishery in California, and is responsible for dramatically expanding the market for sustainable albacore products across the United States and Europe. The first tuna fishery to be certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), AAFA made its albacore available on an equal-opportunity basis in order to effectively penetrate the market for tuna. AAFA's pricing program provides fishermen with the certainty and incentive necessary to earn their support for sustainable fisheries.

    Caroline Bennett
Caroline Bennett is the owner of London's only sustainable sushi restaurant, Moshi Moshi. She pioneered the move away from bluefin tuna in her sushi restaurants and has passionately highlighted the plight of the bluefin tuna, whose rapid decline has been indicative of overfishing. As well as innovating in her own restaurants, Caroline has also co-established the Pisces-Responsible Fish Restaurantinitiative. Pisces-RFR helps chefs source better quality, more sustainable and more local fish and rewards good fishing practices with better prices for the fishermen. Through Caroline's work she is both encouraging others to improve sustainability and also making this improvement more logistically possible by directly connecting restaurants with responsible fishermen.

    Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson is the Senior Director of Worldwide Supply Chain Management for the multi-national McDonald's Corporation. Recognizing over a decade ago that McDonald's would face challenges to have an assured supply of whitefish, he created McDonald's Global Fish Forum in 2001, bringing suppliers together worldwide to assess global whitefish sources. In 2002, Gary led efforts to develop a sustainability standard for McDonald's fish sourcing that remains the company's standard. Working with their suppliers under Gary's leadership, McDonald's has fostered improvements in several key whitefish fisheries, including reducing illegal fishing of Barents Sea cod, and shifted sourcing of roughly 20,000 metric tons of whitefish to better managed fisheries.

    Australis Aquaculture
Australis Aquaculture farms and distributes Barramundi across the US marketplace. The company utilizes sustainable aquaculture technology, such as innovative water reuse systems and feeds to improve the environmental performance of its farms. As one of the world's largest indoor fish farms, Australis is adamant about the high quality of both feed and fish, and works closely with several environmental groups to ensure consistency. The company supports its fishermen by paying better prices and advancing them feed and equipment, enabling them to better themselves and their communities.

    Mathias Ismail
Mathias Ismail is the Managing Director of OSO Delta Peche - an organic shrimp farm based in Madagascar. OSO was the first shrimp farm in the world to achieve the official organic certification AB Label (France / EU n2092-91 regulation). Specialists have been brought in to develop nursery plantations and grow local species of trees, including mangroves, that are used to provide a resource for the local community, stabilize pond banks and protect the site from wind erosion. Mathias and OSO have made a commitment to choose sites and farming methods to minimize any impacts on the unique environment that Madagascar offers.

    Association des Ligneurs de la Pointe de Bretagne
Association des Ligneurs de la Pointe de Bretagne is a fishermen's association based in France. In 2008, it established a self-imposed fishing ban on sea bass from February 15 to March 15, the species' most vulnerable season because it is reproducing. The 150 fishing companies represented by the Association and committed to the "Pointe de Bretagne" program have shown that healthy economic activity and observance of essential biological cycles are not incompatible. They also launched the first line-caught sea bass marking operations in 1993, a small orange label fastened to the fish's gills that indicates to buyers the method used to catch the fish.

    Santa Monica Seafood Company
Santa Monica Seafood Company is a US-based seafood wholesaler that is a leader among its peers when it comes to advancing seafood sustainability. The company has implemented a variety of outreach and education programs for its customers, from arranging sessions with leaders of the sustainability movement to publishing information about sustainability in their newsletters and on their web site. Currently certified to sell over 15 species of MSC-certified wild species, they work closely with a number of environmental groups and certifying agencies to remain on top of current sustainability issues and to raise the profile of certified products among their customer base.

    Tracy Taylor
Tracy Taylor is the senior US buyer for the international supermarket chain Ahold NV. She facilitated her company's decision to remove Patagonian toothfish, orange roughy, and sharks from their seafood cases, an unprecedented public commitment by Ahold USA, owner of over 700 retail grocery stores. Tracy's experience and dedication made possible Ahold USA's 2008 public endorsement of the Common Vision for Sustainable Seafood and her leadership among her peers led to her recent role chairing the Food Marketing Institute's Sustainable Seafood Task Force.

    Seafood Scotland
Seafood Scotland's major goal is to enhance the competitive performance, quality practices and global position of a responsible and sustainable Scottish seafood industry, and in doing so, help fishermen to maximize their return from a finite resource. In order to help achieve a sustainable future for Scotland's fisheries, they have implemented a number of communications tools, including bringing conservation experts to the docks, organizing workshops and events, and building an interactive sourcing web site used by the entire supply chain. By collaborating with players from across the supply chain and the conservation community, Seafood Scotland use initiatives, such as the Scottish Skippers scheme, to improve the responsibility of seafood sourcing.

    Dr. Tom Pickerell
Dr Tom Pickerell joined the Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB) to manage the UK Shellfish Industry Development Strategy, which aims to expand and develop the UK's shellfish sector. Tom maintains that such development can only occur through the long-term, sustainable management of stocks and supporting ecosystems. Tom gained the support of Defra (the UK government department responsible for fisheries) and achieved the inclusion of shellfish industry development in their Marine Program Plan 2008/09 as a priority project for achieving sustainable fisheries. He is also working with the Marine Stewardship Council to use pre-assessment as a management tool, and has established a National Scallop Group with industry and environmental organizations with the goal of finding an "acceptable footprint" for the harvest of scallops.

The Seafood Champion Awards are presented annually by Seafood Choices Alliance, a program of the ocean conservation organization SeaWeb, to honor those who have made significant strides in improving practices and awareness of responsible seafood sourcing.  The winners will be announced at a reception during the Boston Seafood Show in March.

Melanie Siggs, Director of Seafood Choices Alliance, commended the ten finalists for their commitment to the preservation of the ocean's resources and those that depend on them.  "It is a privilege to honor these outstanding finalists," said Siggs. "The challenges facing industry, governments and communities that depend on a responsible supply of fish are real and complex.  Through their actions both the Champion finalists, and the attendees at the 2009 Summit, are demonstrating sharing responsibility with each other and their peers to accomplish real change to protect oceans and the seafood industry for future generations."

Seafood Choices Alliance is an international program that provides leadership and creates opportunities for change across the seafood industry and ocean conservation community. We're about synergies and identifying creative solutions to long-held challenges. By building relationships and stimulating dialogue, Seafood Choices is encouraging and challenging all sectors of the seafood industry along the road toward sustainability.

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