Round the World in 26 Days – Stop 1: Scenes from Sea Pact

Created on Thursday, 17 January 2019

From San Diego to Sulawesi to Sumbawa and back, Fall 2018 brought Project Director Erin Taylor through a whirlwind tour of diverse seafood perspectives. In this 2-part special report, she shares some snapshots from the journey.

They say, “When it rains, it pours” — and for me, that happened in the best way possible this October and November when a slew of consecutive events led me to explore diverse facets of the seafood world firsthand for a month straight.

The trip began with a baby step from my Santa Cruz base down to San Diego. Here, a group of ten seafood companies across the US and Canada gathered for the 2018 Sea Pact meeting.

The main focus of each year’s meeting is to evaluate and select candidates for funding, as Sea Pact was founded, in part, to support innovative projects that improve fishery and farm practices. From an original pool of over 80 applicants, six projects were chosen, covering work from fishery improvement to aquaculture to social responsibility (stay tuned to hear this year’s cohort of grantees!).

One of the most valuable things about each Sea Pact annual meeting, though–and my personal favorite aspect–is that it brings a chance to connect in-person with progressive industry leaders. The information sharing and lively conversations advance the thinking of all present, making us all better sustainability and business innovators in our respective positions.

Sea Pact members take a break from the official meeting to observe a fish cutting by host Santa Monica Seafood and its Chesapeake Fish Co. division.

It also doesn’t hurt that we got to do all this connecting over fish tacos!

This year’s meeting host, Santa Monica Seafood, gave us the rare opportunity to enjoy fish literally from boat to plate on the first day of the meeting.

In the morning, the group watched as freshly caught yellowfin tuna and swordfish were offloaded from a fishing boat. The boat’s captain–who was donning a broad sun hat and tackling some form of breakfast bowl with vigor and a fork–watched over things as the crew crane-lifted each fish out of the hold, rinsed it, and put it on ice.

Later in the day, the group returned to the pier to enjoy some truly fresh grilled swordfish tacos. Of course, you can’t do a taco justice without piling on some delectable toppings!

In California, there has been some innovation around new, more environmentally friendly ways to catch swordfish using what’s called deep set buoy gear. This method catches swordfish deeper in the water, resulting in fewer unintended run-ins with other species and better quality fish. Santa Monica Seafood has been sponsoring this gear research for the past several years.

Despite a belly full of tacos and my head buzzing with exciting things to come from Sea Pact, it was time to prepare for the next leg of my journey: Bali!