Q&A with Donna Lanzetta of Manna Fish Farms

Editor’s note: In 2018, the Global Aquaculture Alliance will spotlight various members dedicated to GAA’s mission of responsible aquaculture. Membership starts at only $50 for individuals and $5,000 for businesses. Start utilizing our extensive benefits. Featured this month is Donna Lanzetta of Manna Fish Farms in New York.

Tell us about your background.

Donna Lanzetta of Manna Fish Farms
Donna Lanzetta of Manna Fish Farms.

I’m a lifelong seafood lover and foodie, attorney, real estate broker and entrepreneur. My family moved out to East Quogue from The Bronx in the 1950s, and I was born in Riverhead, N.Y. I grew up in and on the bay, with most of my childhood spent in activities surrounding fishing, crabbing, clamming and cooking.

My first job was making clam chowder and hamburgers at the beach. As kids we rented out rafts at the ocean, complete with cigar box for cash. I graduated from cook to waitress, serving food and ultimately cocktails at Le Mans, the hottest disco in The Hamptons.

After graduating from Westhampton Beach High School, I earned a dual major business degree in marketing/management from LIU Southampton, and then I went on to law school at Pace University in White Plains, N.Y.

After graduating law school, I worked primarily in civil litigation, and I taught contract law at night as an adjunct business professor at Rockland Community College. I lived in New York City with my husband for a time and then out of the city to again after our first child was born. I am the proud mother of two wonderful sons, and, after divorce in 2004, we relocated full time back home to The Hamptons. Prior to law school I sold real estate in Westhampton, and when I returned home, I began again, adding commercial real estate in New York City to my sales.

Now I am focused on a permit for real estate in the ocean — the lease of a water column, the contracts for production, production equipment and seafood sales! The future of offshore aquaculture in the United States is bright.

Why did you join GAA?

I joined the GAA to stay current in the aquaculture industry. GAA illuminates the path of sustainability, through education, networking, collaborations and implementation of Best Aquaculture Practices standards. This is our ultimate goal at Manna Fish Farms.

What solutions do responsible aquaculture provide?

Responsible aquaculture provides an opportunity to feed the world, with minimal impact upon the environment, and minimal utilization of natural resources. Utilizing one-tenth of 1 percent of the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ), aquaculture has the potential to produce an amount equal to our total annual wild catch.

What are three words that best describe the future of the industry?

Ocean. Farming. Imperative.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve traveled to?

Newfoundland. Seafood was born there. Don’t forget to kiss the cod!

Donna Lanzetta and other GAA members are listed on our website.