First presented in 2006, the Seafood Champion Awards annually recognize individuals and companies for outstanding leadership in promoting environmentally responsible seafood. SeaWeb established the award to honor those in the seafood industry whose past and/or present contributions demonstrate a commitment to innovation that leads to change.
Any individual, company or organization is welcome to submit nominations. Candidates can be nominated by others or self-nominated. Nominators may submit nominations for more than one candidate, but we strongly discourage individuals or groups submitting more than once for the same candidate, whether as an individual or as an organization.
Candidates can include individuals, companies or organizations whose accomplishments demonstrate outstanding commitment to advancing seafood sustainability in the fishing, aquaculture, seafood supply and distribution, retail, restaurant and foodservice sectors, as well as conservation, science, academia and the media. Nominations must specify whether they are nominating an individual or an organization.
To learn more about the Seafood Champion Awards, visit the Media Kit, which contains press releases, photos, and videos of the Champions and awards.
2016 Seafood Champion Award Winners
Out of a field of more than 90 nominees, a panel of seafood leaders chose 16 finalists and four winners for the 2016 Seafood Champion Awards. The winners included a retail executive who set the bar for sustainable seafood in the United Kingdom, a Cornwall fisherman who influenced EU policy and technology innovation, a coalition of Pacific Islands nations that acted aggressively to ensure the health of their tuna fishery, and a Maldives ministry that pushed sustainability for Indian Ocean fisheries as the 2016 Seafood Champions. The finalists came from around the world including Australia, Canada, the U.K., Indonesia, Japan, the Maldives, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand and the U.S.
The finalists were recognized at the conclusion of the first day of sessions at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit held in Malta, February 3-6, 2016. This was followed by an awards reception in which Mark Spalding, President of SeaWeb, presented the four winners with their trophies to thunderous applause from fellow seafood leaders at the Summit.
The Seafood Champion Award for Leadership went to Ally Dingwall, Aquaculture and Fisheries Manager at Sainsbury’s in the U.K. Dingwall is a model of how individuals can make a difference in large companies. His leadership led to Sainsbury’s earning recognition as MSC Fish Retailer of the Year in 2014, serving as an integral member of many sustainable seafood organizations, and advancing its commitments to sustainable sourcing of wild and farmed seafood. Dingwall also encouraged other U.K. retailers to reach MSC commitments.
David Stevens and his company, Crystal Sea Fishing in Cornwall, U.K., received the Seafood Champion Award for Innovation for initiative and leadership as well as technical innovation in meeting the EU’s mandate to eliminate fish discards at sea. Stevens formed a partnership with the U.K. fisheries agency to conduct discard reduction trials. After years of testing gear innovations, he found the best configurations to avoid discarding juvenile haddock and other unwanted species. Stevens’ work led to changes in EU rules to allow the new gear and inspired other fishers to follow his lead.
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement Organisation, based in the Marshall Islands, earned the Seafood Champion Award for Vision for seeing the need to manage the Western and Central Pacific tuna fishery for the long term and quickly taking effective action. The eight nations in the group collectively control over 50 percent of the global supply of skipjack tuna, and the PNA has used that power to institute practices and technologies that preserve the fishery while benefiting local economies.
The Seafood Champion Award for Advocacy went to the Maldives Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture for its efforts to promote sustainable fishery practices and policies in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives’ advocacy led to MSC certification of the skipjack and yellowfin pole-and-line fisheries and inspired a number of other countries to develop their own fishery improvement projects.
“All too often the easy thing to do is sit back and accept ‘business as usual.’ It takes ambition and often courage to stand up and show that there is a better way to do things,” said Steve Trent, executive director of Environmental Justice Foundation and one of six judges who evaluated the nominees. “What stood out for me in this selection of finalists was the scope of activities and range of players, coming from government, industry and the nonprofit sector, all of whom were essentially working to achieve the same core goal: ethical, sustainable and legal seafood.”