Mark J. Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation

We conjoined The Ocean Foundation and SeaWeb via an Organizational Partnership Agreement, which became effective on November 17th 2015.  The Ocean Foundation will assume maintenance of SeaWeb’s 501(c)(3) status, and will provide the management and administrative services for the two organizations.  I am now the CEO of both organizations, and the same 8 board members (5 from TOF, and 3 from SeaWeb) will govern both organizations as of December 4th.

100B4340.JPGThus, The Ocean Foundation will both continue the work and strong integrity of SeaWeb’s sustainable seafood programs through its work with business leaders, policy makers, conservation groups, media and scientists; as well as its attention to many other crucial ocean issues.

The Ocean Foundation supports a market-based approach as part of holistic multi-prong approach to ocean health and sustainability (economic, social, aesthetic, and environmental). We have long supported the SeaWeb Seafood Summit and its work with the seafood sector to transform their industry towards sustainability. The Ocean Foundation has also supported the Summit as a financial sponsor. We have seen the value of consumer education on seafood choices through Seafood Watch and other seafood guides.  We are also experts in process and product certification programs, and the value of eco-labels that come from them.  The Ocean Foundation has worked with the Environmental Law Institute on governance standards for certification of aquaculture. In addition, we have done extensive research under the auspices of a Clinton Global Initiative partnership on international sustainable aquaculture.  TOF worked with the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School and with Environmental Law Institute to investigate how existing federal laws – specifically, the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the Clean Water Act – may be used effectively to ensure we limit the environmental harm of offshore aquaculture.

In addition, we at The Ocean Foundation see tremendous opportunities for transparent sustainability audits as part of accountability in corporate social responsibility programs as a way to approach markets (trust your fish monger).  Our holistic approach means getting at getting the Total Allowable Catch right, dealing with illegal fishing, slavery and a myriad of extant market distortions, so the market approach can in fact be sound and do its magic.

And, this work has not just applied to seafood, we also supported and worked closely with Tiffany & Co. Foundation on what became the SeaWeb Too Precious to Wear campaign.  And, we continue these communications efforts to change market behavior for pink and red corals to this day.

To further our efforts, I will be speaking at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit (February in Malta) on the relationship between ocean acidification and food security, and at the Seafood Expo North America (March in Boston) on how climate change will affect the seafood industry, and challenging it to prepare.  Join me at these meetings, and we will continue the conversation.

Photo credit: Philip Chou/SeaWeb/Marine Photobank