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Seafood Industry Research Fund 

A 501(c)3 organization established in 1964

Russ Mentzer
Dear Seafood Industry Professional,

Welcome to the Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF) newsletter! Here you can find quarterly updates on SIRF's activities, current research and funding information. Through your generous support, SIRF provides the seafood community with scientific studies that further business and improve the bottom line. Read in this newsletter how SIRF is linking industry and academia with articles on SIRF Funding, Antibiotic Research, Hockey Fundraiser and Digital Marketing

We could not fund exciting research without your support. Thank you for your continued contributions. To view past SIRF sponsored research, please visit  and contact us with any questions you may have
Russ Mentzer, Chairman
Seafood Industry Research Fund
Current Research
SIRF Funds $3.3 Million in Research
The Seafood Industry Research Fund has announced that with the inclusion of the 2016 research projects, SIRF has now funded over $3.3 million in scientific research. The most recent SIRF sponsored studies, performed by leading universities and laboratories, have focused on diseases in aquaculture, decomposition and remote testing technology and environmental impact.

"SIRF remains focused on the pressing issues of the seafood industry funding results oriented and immediately employable solutions to the many challenges we face today," said Derek Figueroa, Chief Operating Officer of Seattle Fish and a graduate of NFI's Future Leaders program.  "Our work on Alternatives to Antibiotics for Tilapia Aquaculture is groundbreaking and exciting," Derek said. "We are hopeful it will offer a solution to consumers concerned about antibiotic use in proteins."

The Race to Antibiotic Free
Recently consumers are exerting more pressure on the food industry. Maybe more pressure than regulatory agencies. Restaurant chains and large food companies are moving away from protein with antibiotics as quickly as their supply chain can supply. Last week, Subway pledged to serve antibiotic free poultry and within nine years to serve only antibiotic free protein - beef, pork, chicken, and turkey. It wasn't government regulation it was consumer demand that made these changes.  

Surveys find that 60 to 70+% of consumers interviewed stated they were concerned about antibiotics in meat. Subway joins Chipotle, McDonalds, Panera, and Chick-fil-A, in committing to antibiotic free poultry.  New restaurant chains will be pressured into joining these antibiotic free companies which includes In and Out Burger, who has committed to serving antibiotic free beef.
Poultry processors are moving ahead converting from the use of antibiotics to antibiotic free poultry as quickly as they can. Tyson Foods has committed to converting all flocks to be produced without antibiotics by September 2017. Pilgrim's Pride, the number two producer, and Foster Farms have committed to antibiotic free over a longer period of time. And 95% of the chicken produced by Purdue has been antibiotic free chicken since 2002. Poultry is the number 1 protein with 88.9 pounds consumed per capita (U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau.) When all poultry is antibiotic free, will it pressure pork and beef producers to move to antibiotic free? It already has. Tyson is working to eliminate antibiotics in its pork production and currently they market antibiotic free beef. Cargill is also racing to eliminate antibiotics in its pork production.
While the use of certain antibiotics is approved for use with raising certain livestock, and thus safe, consumers perceive this as a human health issue.  The second week in April, 54 Asset and Pension management companies with a total of $1 Trillion under management, joined together sending letters to the major U.S. restaurant chains and food production companies, demanding the elimination of antibiotics in proteins. Those organizations advised in their letter that the use of antibiotics in their products place companies at a financial risk. 

The assertion is based on the use of antibiotics having been
found to enable the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, as seen in the nasal swabs of agricultural workers employed on farms that use antibiotics. This is a distinctly different finding from workers on farms that do not use antibiotics. While antibiotic use in agriculture is not the only causal factor in the development of antibiotic resistance, recent research finds that it is one of the sources contributing to the human health concerns with the antibiotic of last resort, Vancomycin, now losing effectiveness against some bacteria.


There have been recommendations to fund research that may refute or marginalize the claims of antibiotic resistance through agricultural channels. But the main issue with antibiotic use in seafood production is that there are very few antibiotics that FDA has approved for use with aquaculture. So any use of unapproved antibiotics is something that cannot be condoned, even if science shows that the risk of antibiotic resistance is minimal.
The seafood community should consider how it will respond to consumer driven antibiotic concerns. Decomposition and unsanitary conditions are the leading causes for FDA rejections. The detection of unapproved antibiotics in seafood is the second cause for detention and the frequency has been increasing.
SIRF has decided to act responsibly and immediately beginning work on the best solution to the problem of using unapproved antibiotics in aquaculture- eliminate the need for antibiotics. Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF) has sponsored the University of Wisconsin Madison and Virginia Tech to conduct an exciting, relevant research project titled:  ENHANCING SEAFOOD QUALITY AND SAFETY BY REDUCING RELIANCE ON ANTIBIOTICS: APPLYING A NOVEL ANTIBODY IN TILAPIA. 

This research is based on new technology currently in trials in the poultry industry. Thus far the tests have successfully prevented diseases in chickens without the use of antibiotics. In addition, the mortality of chickens is less, the growth rates and feed conversion are similar to flocks exposed to antibiotics. Costs are equal to or lower than the cost of a normal antibiotic regimen. Initial trials with other animals including beef and pork show success at early stages. If successful, the solution will be better than the use of antibiotics and at the same or lower cost making this truly a market driven solution. This project is species specific and not considered a resolution to antibiotics in all species of seafood.
SIRF thanks the generous donors who have made this research possible and invites others to contribute to the continuing efforts to resolve antibiotic issues in seafood.
SIRF Hockey Game Report
by Mike Gorton, Slade Gorton & Company Inc.
The 2016 NFI/Seafax hockey game, played at Harvard on March 7th, is now in the history books as perhaps the most one-sided game in the fundraising series with Seafax grinding out a 7-1 victory in dominant fashion.
A pre-game ceremony honored the late Ken Conrad for his contributions to the seafood business. Ken's son Justin Conrad, President of Bay Hill Seafood Sales, dropped the first puck. 

Two of NFI's top all time scorers, John McGeough and Chris Della Grotta, who were being counted on to help keep Seafax's highly skilled 2nd line under control, were unable to make the game.  As a result Seafax's speedy 2nd line of Mark Pandolfo, Sterling Weatherbee and Todd Clark, scored 6 out of their 7 goals.  Mark netted four goals and Sterling two while Todd Clark collected several assists.  The NFI obviously couldn't deal with this line's superior speed.

Despite final outcome, the first period was hotly contested for the opening 18 minutes before Mark Pandolfo scored on a wide-angle shot into the far corner, an effort he duplicated just before the period ended giving Seafax 2-0 advantage.  Jason Hamilton of Seafax added a nifty goal in the 2nd period to up the lead to 3-0.  Both goalies Zack Joy of Seafax and Craig Pollard of NFI were playing very well each making some outstanding saves.

However, by the 3rd period it was quite evident that the NFI Team was being worn down by Seafax's constant pressure as Pandolfo and Weatherbee each added 2 more goals while Carl Hampe Jr. managed to score the NFI's lone goal after Seafax's 6th.  

It wasn't that the NFI wasn't getting some good opportunities, but Seafax's goalie Zach Joy was just too tough to penetrate.   He made many spectacular saves including several off rebounds, essentially stonewalling the NFI Team.  In all the years of SIRF's Hockey fundraiser, Joy's goaltending marked a superior performance.

The NFI Team did manage to shut out Seafax's big Captain, Jim Bonnvie, despite his rough and intimidating play. John Connelly, NFI President, once again adroitly handled the job of refereeing without injury though slow with the whistle on a few calls.  So for the 2nd year in a row, Seafax captured the prestigious Gorton Cup. 

The game raised approximately $42,000 for SIRF, completing both the Bill and Betty and More Living Tribute Fund and the Wally Stevens Future Leaders Fund in addition to getting a great start on the new Ken Conrad Fund, which is already up close to $40,000.
Many thanks to all of our many supporters!
Mike Gorton
Chairman, Slade Gorton & Company Inc.
Digital Marketing
SIRF has retained digital marketing agency SocialCompass to manage and grow its social media presence. Located in Brunswick, GA SocialCompass has a confident grasp of the seafood industry with experience directing the digital marketing efforts of national brand seafood companies.

"SocialCompass has the marketing tools to elevate an organization's visibility and generate buzz," said SIRF Chairman Russ Mentzer. "With honed strategies, SocialCompass will showcase SIRF in action, demonstrating the seafood research organization as an innovative and vital industry component."

Maintaining SIRF's social media portfolio, SocialCompass will generate content for the research non-profit's Twitter and LinkendIn accounts, communicating current work, gaining followers and soliciting donations.  

Issue Date


Quarter 2 2016

Quick Links

Marshall "Ken" Conrad Memorial Fund

In December 2015, the seafood community lost Marshall "Ken" Conrad. 

Ken served as Chairman of the National Fisheries Institute in 2010 and also served on the Board of Directors of the National Restaurant Association, where he was Vice Chairman and Treasurer before ascending to the Chairman's position in 2014

SIRF has established the Marshall "Ken" Conrad Memorial Fund to honor his contributions to the seafood industry.

To donate to the Marshall "Ken" Conrad Memorial Fund, click here.
Wally Stevens Future Leader Perpetual Fund

Wally Stevens has guided the seafood industry as an NFI Chairman, GAA Executive Director and SIRF contributor. SIRF established the Wally Stevens Perpetual Fund to honor his long-serving commitment to the seafood community.

To donate to the Wally Stevens Perpetual Fund click here.
More About Donations

SIRF's research and operating funds come entirely from generous donations made by individuals and corporations who support our mission of sponsoring scientific research of immediate and practical use by the seafood industry. Visit our website for details about open funds and information about making donations.  




About SIRF


The Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF) was established in 1964 and was originally named the Fisheries Scholarship Fund. It is a tax exempt, philanthropic, educational organization.  


SIRF is supported entirely by voluntary contributions from individuals and companies in and related to the seafood industry.


Click here to learn more about how the fund supports research of interest to the seafood industry.   


We appreciate the opportunity to share information about SIRF, our research funds and projects and thank you for your support!

SIRF Board of Directors

Quick Links

SIRF | 7918 Jones Branch Drive | Suite 700 | McLean | Virginia | 22102-3319