Finalist, Seafood Champion Awards for Leadership


Now affiliated with Blue Ventures, David Parker is nominated for his previous work as Head of CSR and Marine Biologist for Young’s Seafood Ltd., where he focused on sustainable procurement and corporate social responsibility, ensuring that the business does the right thing, always. As Head of CSR for Young’s Seafood, much of David’s work involved positive and pro-active improvement projects aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the business, with special focus on wild fisheries and aquaculture through at-sea engagement and improvement. Previously David has worked in the environmental NGO sector working on marine and seafood issues for WWF and The Marine Conservation Society, as a biologist for the South Wales Inshore Fisheries Management Committee, and as a Crab & Lobster fisherman in the Bristol Channel. David’s passion for conservation and improvement projects carries over into his volunteer involvement on numerous boards and other organizations focused on similar fisheries sustainability issues.

How well does this nominee and his or her work demonstrate the qualities of the category?  

David is a born leader, choosing to be involved in fisheries sustainability wherever he can. In addition to his work at Young’s, David is a board member for several initiatives including the IFFO RS Certification Committee (working towards sustainable utilization of forage fisheries), Chair of the Fisheries Innovation Scotland Technical Advisory Committee (aimed at facilitating a truly sustainable Scottish fishing fleet through innovation), Vice Chair of the Steering Group for the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), and a member of the Marine Stewardship Council, The Scottish Advisory Group (working towards MSC certification for the Scottish Fleet) and the Seafish Risk Assessment for Seafood Sourcing (RASS). David has also recently finished a secondment with the Welsh Government working aboard fishing vessels helping to prepare the industry for the upcoming Landings Obligation (Discard Ban). He also works in his spare time for the Welsh Fishermen’s Association gathering data for several inshore fisheries.

In what ways has this nominee positively affected, or mitigated negative impacts of, the seafood industry?

David’s role as Head of CSR at Young’s Seafood has enabled him to have a direct impact on fisheries sustainability in numerous regions in the UK. One of the innovative work areas David has been leading at Young’s is a project using disruptive new technology utilizing LED lights in bottom trawls to significantly reduce the bycatch of juvenile fish, improve catch quality, reduce fuel usage and future-proof the industry against the imminent challenge of the Landings obligation (Trawlight). The Trawlight project follows 3 work streams. Stream 1: Develop / test Trawlight as a medium to change fish behaviour and reduce discards from over quota fishing. Stream 2: Work with partners (Fisheries Innovation Scotland, CEFAS, GTAG, catching sector, etc.) to identify other innovative solutions to the selectivity problem. Stream 3: Build, develop and experiment on new innovative technologies within the catching sector. Work with catching sector to share best practice and results.

In what way do you feel this nominee’s story could inspire others and communicate successes achieved in sustainable seafood?  

David’s story is inspiring because although his day-to-day professional activities have always been concerned with ocean sustainability and conservation issues, most of his free time is occupied working on these issues as well. David’s desire to contribute on a volunteer basis on numerous organizations interested in seafood sustainability clearly demonstrates his passion for this work and his desire to have as great an impact as he can. In particular, as Vice Chair of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, David brings an extremely valuable industry perspective to the table. David’s adoption of the GGGI’s vision clearly demonstrates that the key to successful solutions to ghost gear must involve the fishing industry directly, and that this interaction / engagement can and should be positive and reciprocal. David’s involvement in so many sustainability initiatives allows him to reach an enormous number of stakeholders and start meaningful conversations on seafood sustainability.

How would the work serve as a replicable model for others who want to have a similar impact?  

David’s passion and enthusiasm are infectious, and it’s impossible not to be inspired when speaking to him about ocean sustainability. David is, himself, an example of how one person can have an impact on such a huge issue. By getting actively involved in so many important sustainability initiatives, and by taking leadership roles in many of them, he has become a true leader in the industry. David was named as one of sector magazine IntraFish’s Top 40 Under 40, after searching internationally for emerging talent within the fishing industry. By engaging in such a broad variety of stakeholder groups, and by encouraging others within the industry to adopt similar sustainability practices to those of Young’s, David has helped spread his seafood sustainability message far and wide. Sometimes, all it takes is a little inspiration to get others on board – David is certainly that.

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