A Celebration of Our Staff’s Achievements in 2022
As we say goodbye to 2022, we reflect on all we have ahead of us. New leadership is coming soon (watch for big news early next year!), along with all the opportunities they will bring to the global sustainable seafood movement. Our government and retail partners made commendable progress in verified, sustainable seafood sourcing- allowing us to aim even higher next year.
The FishWise staff is by far our greatest strength. We have deep gratitude for everyone who dedicated their time and effort to our mission this year! We’d like to offer a few highlights of individuals who, with the support of all FishWise staff, hit some impressive milestones in 2022:
Project Manager, An Nguyen, plays a major role in helping our U.S. grocery retailer partner meet its social responsibility goals for 2022. This year, An assessed vendors’ seafood sourcing to ensure that our partner it continues to meet its sustainable seafood commitment. With the support of our Social Responsibility team, An also equipped vendors with tailored recommendations to improve their social responsibility programs and practices.
A recently launched web series organized by Project Director, Garrett Okrasinski, has enjoyed global participation this year. In partnership with SEA Alliance, Global Tuna Alliance and World Benchmark Alliance, the series is an educational journey that embeds human rights due diligence throughout operations. The series includes sessions based on RISE foundations- decent work at sea, responsible recruitment, and worker engagement. Garrett helped develop the series and presentations, and acts as a facilitator.
This year FishWise expanded into the hospitality industry! Traceability Project Director, Sarah Caldwell, is now leading a partnership with Iberostar Hotels and Resorts. Sarah has helped Iberostar create a plan to meet its goal of 100% responsible seafood by 2025. Her thoughtful approach will use traceability and verification guidance to address environmental sustainability, the livelihoods of fishers, and the broader economic impact of the seafood industry on communities.
In 2022, Project Manager, Alyssa Withrow, headed up one of our partner’s most ambitious endeavors yet. FishWise helped Hy-Vee examine its supply chain closely enough to successfully identify all vessels involved in its tuna supply chain over a six-month period, as part of a Greenpeace initiative. Alyssa received the supplier’s vessel lists and completed a deep-dive to ensure the vessels were in compliance with best practices for worker safety and legal, verifiable fishing. We commend Hy-Vee for signing on for another 12-month examination starting in 2023 and Alyssa for her work on this impressive project! She’s slated to have a global impact.
Shaping the first application of the Comprehensive eCDT Principles & Pathway is a serious undertaking. This year Kate O’Rourke, FishWise’s Operations Director helped make SALT’s work in Tanzania with their partner Aqua-Farms Organization possible. She brought her systems thinking and co-design experience from her background in global development to the electronic traceability work. Kate traveled to Tanzania, to present the project at the Fisheries and Aquaculture for a Vibrant Blue Economy conference, and again to co-lead the co-design workshop.
SALT’s work in Tanzania this year has brought momentum to the development of an electronic traceability system for a small-scale octopus fishery in Kilwa. Thanks to Senior Project Manager, Nina Rosen, who introduced the Traceability Principles and its steps (co-designed in part with the Tanzanian fisheries government in 2020) to this African partnership, the organizers were well-rooted in the underlying ideas of comprehensive seafood traceability. Nina traveled to Tanzania twice in three months to prepare for the event by organizing logistics and meeting key partners. Now, Nina is working with the binational team to develop a strategy for electronic traceability in the fishery.
Part of our research on labor abuses is evaluating which key data elements (KDE) offer an accurate snapshot of labor risks that can be verified from afar. In 2022 Project Director, Amy McGann, led a broad engagement of human and labor rights experts in order to determine the most useful KDEs. Developing a small set of social KDEs to identify risk is difficult because the data that surfaces labor rights risks is not necessarily the same for all regions of the world. Experts determined the most important piece of labor-specific data is whether workers are represented by an independent worker organization. Amy’s research has contributed to the seafood community’s understanding of social KDEs and the importance of empowering workers to achieve transformational change.
Senior Project Manager, Nahla Achi, is our visionary for the educational resource, the Roadmap for Improved Seafood Ethics (RISE). This year she streamlined our outreach to vendors of a major U.S. grocery retailer, which resulted in every one of the grocer’s suppliers participating. Over 50 suppliers took RISE E-learns for labor rights, with many digging deeper into the curriculum on RISE. Her work has created a long-term impact by simplifying due diligence for vendors, and the in-depth knowledge they walked away with is part of a much larger impact on sustainable seafood.
This year IT Senior Project Manager, Chris Young, created a unique product for a major U.S. grocery retailer, which had a huge impact on our partnership! Tracing seafood from bait to plate takes a lot of data and cooperation, so Chris created a dashboard specially designed for our grocery partners. It streamlines the data from hundreds of vendors to help our partners manage progress toward 100% sustainable seafood products. FishWise prides itself on making the process toward sustainability easier for our partners and Chris’ work this year will serve as a valuable resource to our partners for years to come.
In January 2022, Joan Eads joined FishWise as interim executive director. Joan led several initiatives that helped FishWise through a transitional time, like a compensation study, improved human resources and operational processes and working with a search firm for find the next Executive Director. She conducted an organizational assessment and set goals for internal operations and board development. She helped teams at FishWise create purpose and vision statements for each division and addressed organizational culture. Her work culminated in July with a staff and board in-person retreat. We reaffirmed that we are a holistic organization and identified traits and expertise needed in the next Executive Director.
A sincere thanks and a happy new year to every FishWise staff person, partner, and allied NGO! We can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in 2023.