Women in Seafood: Emilie Dubuc

Emilie Dubuc is the Director of Quality Control and Sustainability for Norref-Colabor, the leader in fish and seafood in the province of Quebec, Canada. Dubuc has always been fascinated by the sea. She considered becoming a marine biologist, but focused her education in food science. She started at Norref as the Quality Coordinator and three years later was promoted to Quality Director. As sustainability became more and more of an important issue, Dubuc dove into learning all she could and added Director, Quality Control and Sustainability to her title. Since then, she has received the HACCP and Federal accreditations as well as work with Norref to receive Chain of Custody certification by MSC/ASC as well as be certified organic for the products they carry. She has initiated a partnership with OceanWise and Sea Choice and in 2013, created Norref’s first World Oceans Day event to promote sustainability. Dubuc is always looking for new sustainable products and suppliers to help Norref stay in the forefront of sustainability.

Sea Delight: Sustainable seafood is an industry for the future. Maintaining a healthy ocean with responsibly sourced fish is simply good business. What attracted you to the seafood business in the first place?

Emilie Dubuc: It’s actually by accident that I found a job in the seafood business at Norref. When I started, I didn’t know much about our oceans and freshwater lakes and rivers, but I always loved eating fish and seafood. Thus, I thought it would be great to work for this industry.

SD: The seafood industry is a significant contributor to the world’s growing need for healthy sustainable food. Why is sustainability important to you?

ED: As the time passed, my work became a real passion. But if we had continued to fish the way we used to I would not have been able to pass on this passion to the future generations.

SD: What are some of the projects you are currently working on that will enhance the future of the seafood industry?

ED: With Norref, we created an event for our clients to discover sustainability. Each year we present multiple suppliers and organizations (such as Ocean Wise and MSC) and their products in a show with conferences so our clients can understand more about sustainability. Here in Quebec it’s still a new “trend” that is not yet embraced by restaurateurs. I also work with clients who want to change their menu to something more sustainable by finding alternatives and to get them partnered with Ocean Wise.

SD: The seafood industry is one of the most complex global systems in the world because it’s about feeding people. What has been your biggest challenge working in the industry in general and also addressing sustainable seafood?

ED: My challenge as a French-speaking Canadian is to raise awareness about the sustainability issue with customers, restaurateurs and retail managers. There is not as much information in French than there is in English. They don’t feel connected to the problem since they (or most of them) cannot read about it. Also, in Montreal we are far from the nearest ocean, so it’s not an employment sector. Usually, people that are interested by the issue are the ones who could be affected directly by a loss of quota or a total shutdown of the fishery. People here don’t feel the same pressure towards sustainability as someone who lives near those fisheries.

SD: The best leaders are lifelong learners. What have you learned most recently that has made an impact on your career?

ED: Actually, sustainability and everything related to it, is what I’ve learned in the past five years. Since it became so much of an issue for me and Norref, my role changed and I am now responsible for all sustainability partnerships, certifications and for finding new products and suppliers.

SD: What advice would you give other women interested in a career in the seafood industry?

ED: It’s still a man’s industry, so be tough and if you think you’re right, stick to your idea. Make your voice stand out and your ideas and viewpoints be heard. You won’t always win your fights, but you will be able to make people change their minds if you’re perseverant enough.

 

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HOW OCEAN POLLUTION AFFECTS HUMANS

Ocean pollution is becoming a pandemic, occurring all over the globe. The oceans take up over 72% of the world’s surface and every year 8 million tons of plastic is being dumped deliberately into this beautiful and diverse ecosystem.

Plastic is one of the largest factors of ocean pollution and even though it is dumped hundreds of mile offshore, it still manages to find its way back to our beaches and coastlines causing devastating issues for marine life and their habitats. Did you know that over 1 million seabirds and over 100,000 marine mammals die every year by ingesting plastic?

If you would like to learn more about ocean pollution and how it affects marine life, marine plants and humans, then take a look at the shocking infographic below, created by the team at https://www.divein.com

Intro written by Andrew Dilevics, Community Manager at DIVE.in – online Scuba Diving Magazine

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Women in Seafood: Dr. Oluyemisi Oloruntuyi

Dr. Oluyemisi ‘Yemi’ Oloruntuyi is the Head of Developing World Fisheries at the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in the United Kingdom. She has been with the Marine Stewardship Council since 2000.  Her role within the MSC is leading the implementation of the Developing World Fisheries Program strategy, including promoting the participation of developing countries in the MSC’s Certification Program and evaluation, development and implementation of policies to ensure participation of developing country fisheries in the MSC Program.  Before joining the MSC, Dr. Oloruntuyi was involved in fisheries research and training in Nigeria, where she worked on issues related to fisheries resource management, aquaculture and environmental impact for more than 10 years.

Sea Delight: Sustainable seafood is an industry for the future. Maintaining a healthy ocean with responsibly sourced fish is simply good business. What attracted you to the seafood business in the first place?

Dr. Oluyemisi ‘Yemi’ Oloruntuyi: I started out with a general interest in ecology, but quickly became very interested in fisheries as a specific discipline because of the extent of our dependence and interaction with this part of our environment. My specific interest in the seafood business sector developed with the recognition that while there is a lot of concern about the impact of fishing on fisheries resources and its associated ecosystems, with the right systems in place the seafood business sector provides a viable mechanism to help mitigate some of these concerns while at the same time maintaining the livelihoods and food security of millions around the world that depend on fishing.

SD: The seafood industry is a significant contributor to the world’s growing need for healthy sustainable food. Why is sustainability important to you?

YEMI: Unsustainable fishing is a major global problem. The UNFAO estimates that about 29% of global fish stocks have been fished beyond sustainable limits.  However I believe, we can fish responsibly and – manage our fisheries carefully so that stocks are replenished and impact on the marine ecosystem is minimized. I often think about the future and the legacy that we hand over to generations to come. Thirty to 50 years into the future, I would like that generation to look back on us – not as the generation that squandered their natural resources and compromised their existence, but the generation that had a vision of safeguarding the ocean and all the contents in it. I’m passionate about making sure that this food resource is not left in jeopardy.

SD: What are some of the projects you are currently working on that will enhance the future of the seafood industry?

YEMI: We are working in developing countries to encourage fisheries to work towards meeting sustainability requirements for certification.  Some of the efforts we are involved in  include: development and implementation of a capacity building program to help train various stakeholders, including governments, scientist, NGO’s, fishery managers, etc. to support them to take steps towards meeting the Marine Stewardship Council’s Standard for sustainable fisheries.

We are also encouraging these developing world fisheries to learn how other MSC-certified fisheries have worked to achieve certification and how such lessons might be applied in other fisheries around the world. By this, I hope that fishery managers will better understand the sustainability gaps in their fisheries and also give them tools to address those gaps so they can become more sustainable, eventually becoming certified and reap the rewards of sustainability in the market place.

SD: The seafood industry is one of the most complex global systems in the world because it’s about feeding people. What has been your biggest challenge working in the industry in general and also addressing sustainable seafood?

YEMI: One big challenge I see is the fact that we still don’t know enough of many of the world’s fisheries. In many parts of the world, we don’t have adequate data on fisheries’ resources or enough information to effectively determine the amounts that can be taken out before the sustainability threshold is crossed. There is a need for more information on fish stocks, the ecosystem and how fishing interacts with the environment.  Obviously it is unlikely that we will ever have enough information on everything that we would want to. But in those cases where we don’t have enough data there is a need to be more precautionary in the way that we use those resources. This happens sometimes but unfortunately it is not always the case.

SD: The best leaders are lifelong learners. What have you learned most recently that has made an impact on your career?

YEMI: One thing I’ve learned is the importance of partnerships. The challenges facing the sector are significant and cannot be addressed by one sector, stakeholder groups, country or organization. Each of these groups bring particular strengths and influence to the table and when these are all brought together to provide solutions, to help fisheries the results are often quite remarkable.

SD: What advice would you give other women interested in a career in the seafood industry?

YEMI: I would advise anyone interested in a career in this sector to learn to see the challenges we face today through the perspective of others that have a stake in it. Learn more about the disciplines behind other stakeholders involved in fisheries – fishery management, environmental impact, business, finance, development, regulation, biology, ecology, etc. Ultimately seek means by which the best of each of these worlds can be combined to bring about the best outcome for the sector. Women are essential contributors to this important food supplying industry and therefore, critical agents for change. They participate in all segments of the industry including retail, processing, research and administration, but to varying degrees. There are very few women in industrial fishing and in leadership positions. Personally I’d love to see more women heading up departments in the sector where decisions are made concerning the future of our oceans. The seafood industry is never dull. You learn new things every day. It is a sector that needs a diverse workforce to forge ahead with the objective of safeguarding the ocean.

 

 

 

Handy International Joins Mexican Grouper FIP

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The Sea Delight Ocean Fund, Inc. and CeDePesca are proud to announce that Handy International has joined our efforts to support the Mexican Grouper Fishery Improvement Project (FIP).

Since 2014, the Sea Delight Ocean Fund has been working with the Centre for Development and Sustainable Fisheries (CeDePesca) in the Campeche Bank, in the Gulf of México, to improve the performance of the management system for its groupers´ and snappers’ fishery.

The challenges for getting such improvements are huge, since thousands of fishers´ families depend on this activity for their living and limiting effort is not an easy target.

The FIP proposal to create a rights based management system is based on this reality and step by step has been gaining momentum between Mexican fishers, scientists and managers.

“Through our work with the NFI Crab Council, we’ve come to realize the importance of full industry participation in Fisheries Improvement Projects.  The Sea Delight Ocean Fund and CeDePesca are off to a strong start with the work plans already in place, however, to have a successful FIP, we will need to bring more industry participants on board.  Handy is excited to help bring the effort in that direction, and we hope to see more industry participants join the FIP as we move forward,” said Brendan Sweeney, Vice President of Operations at Handy International.

“We are thrilled to join efforts with Handy International towards the improvement of the Mexican Groupers and Snappers Fishery,” said Adriana Sanchez, President of the Sea Delight Ocean Fund.  “I believe their participation is a prime example of how industry can cooperate in a pre-competitive arena towards the improvement of a fishery that benefits us all. We look forward to working with Handy International and learning from their experience as a founding member of the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) Crab Council. I hope other industry leaders see this partnership as an opportunity for them to also participate and become active stakeholders in this FIP.”

“We are very happy for this achievement and very excited about the opportunity to work together with Handy International, Sea Delight and Mexican fishermen on this FIP. This is the first grouper FIP in the whole region and now, with the support of Handy International, we can strengthen our activities at the ground level towards improvement,” said Ernesto Godelman, chairman of the CeDePesca.

The Sea Delight Ocean Fund received grants in 2014 from Resources Legacy Fund as well as Sea Pact, a coalition of leading sustainable seafood distributors in North America. This funding helped conduct an MSC pre-assessment of the fishery in March of 2014 and support on the ground activities such as reporting on the current status of the fishery and subsequent progress, organizing workshops using the Environmental Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing (ERAEF) to discuss environmental impacts of the fishery; and coordinating local workshops with fishermen to discuss the pre-assessment results. It also helped develop an improvement and activities plan to get the necessary improvements completed.

If interested in learning more about this FIP, Ernesto Godelman from CeDePesca will provide additional information at the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) Americas Snapper Grouper Supplier Roundtable during the North American Seafood Expo on Monday, March 7th. Please contact Bryan Szeliga bryan.szeliga@sustainablefish.org for additional information and to RSVP for this meeting.  You can also contact Ernesto directly at ernesto.godelman@cedepesca.net.

 

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About Sea Delight Ocean Fund: The Sea Delight Ocean Fund, is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2012 to create and support global fishery improvement projects and better fishing practices initiatives that protect marine resources and promote conservation efforts globally. All proceeds from this event will help further marine conservation programs led by the Sea Delight Ocean Fund.

About Handy International: Handy International is America’s oldest seafood processor and has consistently maintained the highest quality standards in the seafood industry for over 100 years. Handy was established in 1894 by John T. Handy and has been located in Crisfield, Maryland since 1903. The plant has relocated to a larger space but is still in Crisfield, Maryland with the corporate office in Salisbury, Maryland. Specializing in the processing of the area’s best-known delicacy: soft crabs, our product line also includes handmade crab cakes and seafood cakes, shrimp products, crab meat, oysters and artisanal fish. We continue to be a family-owned company with a focus on quality and transparency. http://www.handycrab.com

About CeDePesca: The Center for Development and Sustainable Fisheries was founded in Mar del Plata city, Argentina, in 1997. It is a Latin American non-for-profit Civil Association with legal status granted by Mexican, Brazilian, Argentine, Panamanian, Peruvian and Chilean authorities. It has the mission of working towards socially, economically and ecologically sustainable fisheries, together with local fishers, fishing industry and the supply chain. It aims mainly at training, researching and spreading management systems that ensure the sustainable use of fisheries resources and, within this framework, supporting the organizational development of small-scale fishermen as well as the creation of a legal and economic framework that ensures their increasing participation in resource management and in the protection and fostering of this sector on a Latin-American regional scale. Currently CeDePesca is driving 10 FIPs involving 7 Latin American countries. http://www.cedepesca.org/

 

About Sea Delight: Sea Delight, LLC is dedicated to providing the freshest and highest-quality “tasteless smoke” seafood, including Yellowfin Tuna, Snapper, Swordfish, Grouper, Mahi Mahi, and Tilapia, sourced from fisheries engaged in better fishing practice initiatives.  Sea Delight proactively participates in Fisheries Improvement Initiatives, which contribute to the education and improvement of worldwide fishing practices at the source level to guarantee superior products. Sea Delight, LLC operates in conjunction with ADS Seafood LLC., dba Atlantic Fisheries, from its 16,000-square-foot headquarters located in Miami, Florida.  For further information please visit www.sea-delight.com