Open Ocean Aquaculture Trade Group Open for Membership
The Ocean Stewards Institute (OSI), a trade organization advocating for the fledgling open ocean aquaculture industry, announced today that it has been incorporated and is open for membership. Open ocean aquaculture, seafood trade and supporting industries are invited to apply for full membership. Affiliate membership is offered to interested individuals and parties in government agencies, academia, NGOs and the media.
The Ocean Stewards Institute’s mission is to represent and work towards the best use and management of the open oceans. In order to meet the increasing demand for healthful seafood, the OSI will promote appropriate balancing of the expansion of environmentally sound open ocean aquaculture, with the protection of open ocean resources and habitats.
“We can speak for the ocean, in the same way that a conscientious farmer can speak for the land,” said Neil Anthony Sims, President of Kona Blue Water Farms and Founding Board member of the OSI Steering Committee.
“A key goal of the Ocean Stewards Institute is to provide leadership in setting standards of sustainability, humane treatment and healthfulness of products from open ocean fish farms. This would enable us to meet the expectations of the community and the consumer about our operations within the public domain.”
Additional goals of the OSI include:
• Industry representation in testimony on the Offshore Aquaculture Bill, to encourage rational, considered development of open ocean aquaculture in Federal waters.
• Advocating for increased offshore aquaculture research funding and development assistance on the Federal level.
• Working with Federal agencies and environmental organizations to set standards for certification of sustainability.
• Establishing a forum for consideration of industry-related issues such as diving standards, and insurance, and providing access to information on equipment and products.
• Providing input to other planned developments or uses of open marine waters.
Other Founding Board members include Brian O’Hanlon, of Snapperfarms, Inc., Langley Gace, of OceanSpar, LLC, from Bainbridge Island, Washington State, and Chris Beattie, from Skretting, Canada. The inclusion of a net pen engineering firm, and an international feed manufacturing company, reflects the vertical support industries involved in offshore aquaculture. Sims said that the Ocean Stewards Institute will also draw from a broad geographical range, but will initially be focused on the Americas.
“We are also very pleased to see strong interest in participation from throughout the seafood trade, including leading chefs, restaurateurs, retailers, distributors and wholesalers” said Sims. “There is growing recognition throughout the seafood supply chain that open ocean aquaculture has to happen – but that it also has to be done right.”
“In keeping with our role as Ocean Stewards, we have an interest in protecting the waters in which we work, so that we can balance the opportunities with our responsibilities,” said Sims. “The open ocean offers tremendous potential for meeting the world’s future seafood needs. It is our heritage, but we are keenly aware that it is also our legacy.”
Interested industry representatives and affiliates can request a membership application form by email at email@example.com.