Sustainability advocates from around the world, working up and down the supply chain, drive progress through leadership, innovation, vision and an activist spirit

BOSTON, March 20, 2017—FISH-i Africa, a partnership of eight East African countries, is one of four finalists for the 2017 Seafood Champion Award for Innovation, SeaWeb announced today. A panel of seafood sustainability experts from industry and nonprofit organizations based in Asia, Europe and North America recognized FISH-i Africa for its efforts to combat large-scale illegal fishing by sharing information and taking collective enforcement action. Its role in investigating illegal fishing activity has created a more responsible fisheries sector.

Nicholas Ntheketha, Chair of FISH-i Africa commented, “We are all delighted that the success of the FISH-i Africa initiative is being recognized and we are proud to be finalists in the Seafood Champion Awards. Our aim is increase compliance in the fisheries sector of the Western Indian Ocean, and we are doing this by working together, sharing information and cooperating on enforcement action. Compliance to the rules and regulations will lead to a more sustainable and profitable sector, with the benefits being felt in the region.”

The annual Seafood Champion Awards program, now in its 11th year, recognizes individuals and organizations for excellence in promoting environmentally responsible seafood. There are 16 finalists in four categories. 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.”

 

The Seafood Champion Award for Innovation recognizes those who identify and apply new solutions to ecological challenges, market needs or sustainability barriers. In addition to FISH-i Africa, the finalists are:

 

  • Pelagic Data Systems, which has developed a vessel-tracking technology based on an affordable, solar-powered data collection device for small vessels. The technology has helped combat IUU fishing in Gabon, Mexico, Honduras, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines and the U.S.
  • Alan Lovewellof the 1,200-member, community-supported fishery Real Good Fish. He also runs Bay2Tray, a program within Real Good Fish that brings affordable local fish to public school districts with high poverty rates and sends fishermen into classrooms to teach about the ocean, fishing and health.
  • Karl Warrof Better Fishing. He has improved the sustainability of bottom trawling with an easily fitted cage mechanism that can free 95 percent of juvenile fish, saving fuel costs and allowing fishers to catch species selectively.