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Spurring Meaningful Change on A Global Level: FishWise Marks Anniversary with Community Celebration

Created on Thursday, 25 October 2018

Santa Cruz, CA (October 12, 2018) – FishWise, a Santa Cruz, California nonprofit conceived in 2003 as a pilot seafood sustainability program, is today acknowledged as a leader in empowering seafood companies to become champions of the oceans. On Friday, October 5, 2018, the organization hosted 15 Years of FishWise, an open house in honor of its anniversary. The event was attended by hundreds of local community members.

“Over time, due to the seafood industry’s global nature, FishWise has expanded its reach and influence to tackle emerging sustainability issues in national and international fisheries and aquaculture operations,” commented CEO Tobias Aguirre. “The work of our business engagement, traceability, data, social responsibility, and learning teams reflects a comprehensive approach to advancing seafood that is environmentally and socially responsible.”

In honor of its anniversary, Santa Cruz Mayor David Terrazas presented FishWise with a proclamation, declaring October 5, 2018, as “FishWise Day” in the city of Santa Cruz.

“Today I encourage all citizens to join me,” invited Mayor Terrazas in the proclamation, “in congratulating FishWise on its 15th anniversary and expressing heartfelt appreciation for its contributions to the Santa Cruz community and beyond.”

Since its founding, FishWise has been working with independent grocers and major retailers to collect and share more information about the sustainability, legality, and social responsibility of seafood products.

“At this milestone in our journey we are celebrating our progress, as well as the new approaches and opportunities emerging through our efforts,” said senior project director Sara Lewis. “In the past year FishWise has worked directly with mid-supply chain companies to improve their counter-illegal fishing practices, led the Seafood Alliance for Legality and Traceability (SALT) with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and collaborated with our fellow NGOs to create traceability tools and guidance for companies.”

Among the organization’s significant accomplishments is the development of durable sustainability programs with its business partners – from Santa Cruz-based New Leaf Community Markets to national retailers like Albertsons Companies, Target Inc. and Hy-Vee – driving market demand for responsibly sourced seafood.

“For nearly 10 years, FishWise has been a trusted advisor helping us reach our goals to source sustainable, responsible seafood,” said Jason Pride, vice president of meat/seafood operations at Hy-Vee, Inc. “Through our partnership with FishWise, Hy-Vee has set a high standard for what is achievable in the retail grocery industry.” Based in West Des Moines, Iowa, Hy-Vee is an employee-owned chain of more than 245 supermarkets located throughout the Midwestern United States.

“Nationwide and globally, more companies than ever before want to sell sustainable products, yet some seafood is produced or harvested in unsafe conditions for workers,” said Aurora Alifano, social responsibility division director. “FishWise works with a network of experts to promote good industry practices that keep workers safe. Our efforts can help consumers support social responsibility by encouraging the purchase of Fair Trade-certified seafood from companies that are working hard to uphold human rights and improve labor conditions.”

“When you consider that these programs affect hundreds of seafood suppliers and millions of pounds of seafood – with connections to fisheries and aquaculture production around the world – it’s hard not to recognize and take pride in the global reach and impact of FishWise,” observed Ashley Greenley, director of business engagement.

Lewis agreed: “Today many companies are working collaboratively with FishWise on a diverse range of issues to spur meaningful change on a global level.”

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FishWise, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, supports the health of ocean ecosystems by working directly with businesses to promote environmentally and socially responsible seafood. Healthy oceans are vitally important as a source of food and livelihoods, and for the well-being of the planet as a whole. As a business consultant, NGO collaborator, and science-based thought leader, FishWise is committed to creating and advancing sophisticated and diverse solutions to address the environmental and human resource challenges in seafood sustainability.