NFI’s John Connelly to be Honored at GOAL 2022 with Lifetime Achievement Award

John ConnellyJohn Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute (NFI), is a recipient of this year’s Wallace R. Stevens Lifetime Achievement Award, recognized for his leadership, integrity and commitment to responsibility. Connelly will be honored on stage at the Global Seafood Alliance’s GOAL: The Responsible Seafood Conference in Seattle on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Connelly has been at the helm of the U.S.-based nonprofit seafood trade association since February 2003. NFI represents its members, who span the entire seafood supply chain, on Capitol Hill and beyond on matters that range from public policy to media relations and communications to public health and nutrition. Its members are committed to responsibly managed wild-capture fisheries and aquaculture as well as to a marketplace that supports free trade.

“For about a third of my life I have enjoyed the privilege of working with and for NFI members. It is humbling that GSA would recognize, through me, the efforts of the NFI leaders who sought to improve how fish are caught or farmed, to ensure their products are processed with integrity and safely, and to market their seafood with an increased focus on how American and other families want to enjoy their dishes,” said Connelly.

“Twenty years ago when we searched for the next president of NFI, one candidate, John Connelly, stood out, and he was easily our recommendation to the full NFI board as Richard Gutting’s successor,” said GSA Chair Wally Stevens, who served as NFI’s chair in 2001. “Little did we know at that time of the impact John would have on NFI and the entire U.S. seafood industry. However, maybe John’s greatest impact was on each of us as an example of what leadership is all about. While John may leave the NFI stage he will hopefully continue to influence our industry through teaching and public speaking.”

Added GSA CEO Brian Perkins, “With GOAL being held in the United States for the first time in 13 years this year it was only fitting to recognize one of the most influential individuals in the U.S. seafood industry over the past 20 years. Through his leadership and integrity, John has made quite a mark on our sector, and we look forward to honoring him in Seattle on Oct. 4.”

In addition to his role at NFI, Connelly has served on the boards of the International Coalition of Fisheries Associations, Marine Stewardship Council, Allfish (a public-private partnership with the World Bank), International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, U.S. Department of Commerce  Marine Fisheries Advisory Council, Seafood Industry Research Fund, University of Florida Institute for Sustainable Food Systems Global Leaders Aquatic Advisory Board, The Alliance For a Stronger FDA, and FISH (Fairness, Integrity, Safety and Health) Standard for Crew.

Prior to NFI, Connelly was Vice President of the American Chemistry Council. He was a U.S. Naval officer and retired as a Navy captain, specializing in political-military affairs. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a bachelor’s in history and earned a master’s in business administration from George Mason University at night. Connelly enjoys caring for his house in Connemara, Ireland, with his wife Margaret and their four children.

Connelly plans to retire by his 20-year anniversary at NFI in February 2023.

This is the first time GSA has presented a Lifetime Achievement Award in three years, when John Galiher, founder and CEO of Preferred Freezer Services, and Brahmanandam Potru, founder and CEO of Devi Seafoods Ltd., were recognized at GOAL 2019 in Chennai, India. Past recipients include I. Chiu Liao, Chingchai Lohawatanakul, Nguyen Dzung, Li Sifa, Ken Morrison, George Williams, Peder Jacobson, Bjorn Myrseth, Don Lightner, Bill Herzig and Wally Stevens. The award was renamed the Wallace R. Stevens Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.

GOAL 2022 is being held at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle from Oct. 3 to 6. Register here:

About the Global Seafood Alliance
The Global Seafood Alliance is an international, nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing responsible seafood practices through education, advocacy and third-party assurances. Through the development of its Best Aquaculture Practices and Best Seafood Practices certification programs, GSA has become the leading provider of assurances for seafood globally. The organization’s work addresses the full spectrum of responsibility, from environmental responsibility and social accountability to food safety. Established in 1997 as the Global Aquaculture Alliance, GSA is headquartered in Portsmouth, N.H., USA. To learn more, visit