Finalist, Seafood Champion Awards for Leadership
SeaShare is a non-profit organization established in 1993 by fishermen, fisheries managers, and stakeholders. Their goal was to allow the retention of valuable fish caught incidentally, and use those fish to feed hungry families. Regulations needed to change and a network established to obtain, process, and distribute those fish from remote areas of Alaska to food banks. Of the 45 million pounds of seafood SeaShare has donated across the U.S. the last 20 years, five million pounds came from incidentally caught fish retained by fishermen, rather than required to be discarded. SeaShare also recognizes that seafood has dietary and cultural significance for communities across Alaska. Its network of fishermen, processors, freight and other partners provide an important link for those communities. Sustainability stands on three legs: economic, environmental, and social. If the social welfare of those who work the water is not attended to, the resource and the communities become unsustainable.
How well does this nominee and his or her work demonstrate the qualities of the category?
SeaShare leads the U.S. seafood industry in a collaborative effort to minimize waste and maximize utilization throughout the seafood supply chain. It is a great example of the efficiency of corporate, foundation, and individual generosity. Over 200 million servings of healthy, sustainable, high quality protein have been distributed so far to hunger relief agencies across the U.S. SeaShare enlists fishermen, processors, freight and cold storage companies, and financial donors to work together. Participants in the bycatch donation program respect marine resources, and want to see them utilized in an efficient manner. Now, 90 percent of the seafood donated is first-run, marketable product, donated by fishermen and processors. Current partners include: • 122 fishing boats • 18 at-sea processors • 15 shore plants • 8 receiving agencies in Alaska • Feeding America’s national network of 200+ food banks • 26 cold storage, freight, and packaging companies • 31 corporate and foundation partners.
In what ways has this nominee positively affected, or mitigated negative impacts of, the seafood industry?
SeaShare recognizes every fish landed has value. SeaShare’s network provides an avenue for those fish to be utilized rather than discarded, which allows hungry families across the country to access high protein seafood. In addition to feeding people, the donations generated through SeaShare and distributed through the food bank network build acceptance for seafood consumption among a demographic that may not otherwise be reached, while improving nutrition for millions of Americans. Retaining bycatch and using it to feed hungry people also provides a positive, unifying aspect to a diverse group of stakeholders who make their living from the oceans. Fishermen respect the ocean and value marine resources. Likewise, state and federal fisheries managers strive to maintain healthy, sustainable stocks. SeaShare has been a leading resource for them since 1993; providing the network to improve utilization of marine resources, one of the main objectives governing U.S fisheries policy.
In what way do you feel this nominee’s story could inspire others and communicate successes achieved in sustainable seafood?
SeaShare’s donation model proves the efficiency of collaboration. Working together we can generate more than any one entity could achieve individually. SeaShare plays a critical role in the context of seafood sustainability, and is synonymous with the goals of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Central to this code is the alleviation of food insecurity and addressing poverty. Section 6.2 of the Code reads “Fisheries management should promote the maintenance of the quality, diversity and availability of fishery resources in sufficient quantities for present and future generations in the context of food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.” SeaShare is one of the very best expressions of seafood sustainability.
How would the work serve as a replicable model for others who want to have a similar impact?
In addition to the work SeaShare does generating donations, they are also a leading advocate for full utilization (waste minimization). SeaShare represents the U.S. seafood industry on the national stage. They continually share their story and advocate for increased utilization and broader participation at events around the world. The world’s population is forecasted to reach 10 billion people by 2050, taxing all food resources and specifically proteins. It is critical that our supply chains explore all opportunities to improve utilization and reduce waste. SeaShare is a leading voice in that discussion and can serve as a model for other countries.