In the August 2008 issue, Food & Wine magazine honors 4 Eco-Ocean award winners, including Ocean Conservancy and VP Mark Powell (hey, that's me) for efforts to improve the sustainability of the troubled red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.
Winner: Ocean ConservancyIt's nice to know that someone noticed. Of course, this was the work of a dedicated team and I wish everyone could be listed in print.
Mark Powell, vice president of fish conservation for the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy advocacy group, has made sweeping changes to help restore the Gulf of Mexico red snapper population by lobbying government groups and partnering with some of America’s most powerful fish buyers. Because of generations of overfishing, the snapper population has dwindled to three percent of what it was 125 years ago. Last year, Ocean Conservancy successfully pushed the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to limit by about half the number of red snapper that commercial fishermen can catch, and advised shrimpers to reduce accidental bycatch of snapper by about three-quarters. To aid the cause, Ocean Conservancy met with mammoth retailer Wal-Mart and its shrimp suppliers and urged for the reduction of snapper bycatch (Wal-Mart has pledged to sell only Marine Stewardship Council–certified fish by 2011). Powell is also working with Bob Sullivan, the corporate CEO of the Chicago-based Plitt Company, which supplies fish to Whole Foods Markets and top local restaurants. In turn, Sullivan pressured government agencies for stricter snapper quotas. Because of efforts like these, Powell says, “In the future, everyone eating Gulf Coast red snapper will be eating sustainable Gulf Coast red snapper” (oceanconservancy.org).
Thanks, Food & Wine, you've got great taste! Tweet