Global Seafood Alliance Mourns Loss of NFI’s John Connelly

John ConnellyThe Global Seafood Alliance (GSA) mourns the loss of National Fisheries Institute (NFI) President John Connelly, who passed away at the age of 61. The organization’s staff, its board of directors and its members send their deepest sympathies to Connelly’s family and friends, including his wife Margaret and four children.

“With John Connelly’s passing, the U.S. seafood industry – and the global seafood industry by extension – has lost a committed leader whose ability, humanity and humility set an invaluable example for us all to follow,” said GSA CEO Brian Perkins. “Twenty years ago, I served on the search committee that NFI formed to find a new president who would both unite and defend our industry with intelligence, dedication and tenacity. We found an individual who exemplified those qualities, and so many more, in John.”

“Many of us at GSA knew him personally, because he made time for everyone,” added Perkins. “We were honored that John joined us in Seattle recently to accept our Lifetime Achievement Award. And what a lifetime it was. We send our heartfelt condolences to John’s wife Margaret and his four children. John will be dearly missed by all who knew him and who benefited from his leadership and fellowship.”

GSA honored Connelly with the Wallace R. Stevens Lifetime Achievement Award at its GOAL 2022 conference in Seattle on Oct. 4. He was recognized for his leadership, integrity and commitment to responsible seafood production and sourcing. GSA Chair Wally Stevens presented the award to Connelly.

“In New Hampshire, we measure a person’s impact as to whether they left the woodpile higher than what they found. But the woodpile must be carefully built, not just to be high but to be solid and strong. That is what John Connelly did for both NFI and the seafood industry in general,” said Stevens, who also served on the search committee that recommended Connelly to the NFI board of directors. “John embodied the best qualities of leadership on so many levels. His ability to attack an issue with incredible focus, energy and integrity led to many victories for our industry, while not leaving the vanquished feeling humiliated. Today we mourn the loss of a great advocate for our industry and a personal friend to many of us.”

Connelly had been at the helm of the U.S.-based nonprofit seafood trade association since February 2003. He was an ardent advocate for NFI’s members on Capitol Hill and beyond on matters ranging from public policy to media relations and communications to public health and nutrition. His achievements include the creation of the Better Seafood Board; the merger of the National Tuna Federation and subsequent development of the NFI council system; the launch of the annual Global Seafood Market Conference; and the conception of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership. He also served on multiple industry boards.

After 20 years at the helm of NFI, Connelly had planned to retire in February 2023.

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