Q&A with Phil Gibson of Resiliensea
Note: The Global Seafood Alliance spotlights various members dedicated to GSA’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 Phil Gibson, CEO of Resiliensea.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I have over 35 years of experience working in the seafood industry. I lived in Alaska in my younger years, working on boats and in processing for part of that time. I was also in the grocery business and for 22 years I worked for Safeway supermarkets in its Seattle regional headquarters and then in the corporate office in California. The last seven of those years I was the corporate group director of seafood. Notable achievements during that period were development of a line of fresh & frozen seafood products that produces over $200 million in sales today, a just-in-time seafood warehouse delivery system to ensure maximum freshness, and for implementing a comprehensive sustainable seafood policy that became a model for other retailers. I retired from the company in 2013 and started Resiliensea Group, a consultancy specializing in helping companies develop sustainable sourcing policies and employee training programs. In 2017 I also became involved in development of LocalCoho, a land-based RAS Coho salmon farm in New York state that was the first BAP certified farm of its kind in the country. I am now the CEO of that company, and we are looking forward to full production later this year. This facility is the first of several that we will build close to markets across the country.
Why did you join GSA?
I have always been an advocate of the organization as a leader in seafood sustainability and for its efforts to facilitate improvements in aquaculture. When I started my consulting business, I became a member of GSA because I believe in the mission and industry progress it advocates. I’m looking forward to more as it expands into new areas of seafood sustainability.
What solutions does responsible aquaculture provide?
I believe aquaculture is the best solution for providing sustainable protein to a growing global population. Responsible aquaculture promotes practices that do not harm the environment, which in the past was a big issue. Responsible aquaculture produces a cleaner environment and creates healthy conditions to raise fish and shellfish which limits stress and promotes growth. It creates a virtuous circle that is necessary for sustainable food production.
What are the three words that best describe the future of the industry?
I think one of the frontiers in aquaculture remains to be fish meal and fish oil replacement and there is much innovation in the field. The growth of the aquaculture industry will need these replacements in order to remain a viable source of protein. Land-based salmon production is also advancing rapidly. Innovative growing methods are improving processes and overcoming hurdles, making it now competitive with ocean net pen operations.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve traveled to?
I have been to many interesting places, but the most memorable occurred a couple of years ago when I attended the GOAL conference in Ecuador. While there I took advantage of proximity and spent a week in the Galapagos Islands on a catamaran tour with my wife and 14 other guests from around the world. It was the trip of a lifetime as we experienced a unique ecosystem that made us appreciate more the wonders of nature. I totally recommend it as a bucket list item.
Thanks for being a member, Phil!