What’s a fisheries innovation?

Examples include fishery improvement projects (FIPs); initiatives that provide small-scale fishers access to new markets; technology that reduces fisheries bycatch or minimizes the environmental impact of fishing gear or occurrence of derelict gear; technology (such as satellite and vessel monitoring) to help authorities prevent illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing; initiatives that address worker safety and wellbeing aboard fishing vessels; technology that promotes more sustainable fisheries supply chains; and initiatives that incorporate the impacts of climate change into sustainable fisheries management.

Is the competition sponsored?

Interested in sponsoring the Global Fisheries Innovation Award? Contact GSA’s Jim Batchelor.

Who is eligible to apply?

Both individuals and companies performing activities related to wild-capture fisheries may submit applications. Third parties may also submit an application on behalf of an individual or company.

How do I apply?

Applications for the 2023 competition will be accepted beginning in the spring. Questions? Contact GSA’s Dan Lee or Steven Hedlund.

How are the finalists determined?

In the first round of judging, seven judges narrow the list of applicants to nine. The judges are GSA’s Dan Lee and George Chamberlain and current and former GSA Standards Oversight Committee members Patrick Blow of Marks & Spencer, Alejandro Buschmann of i-mar Research and the Development Center of Coastal Resources and Environments, Lukas Manomaitis of the U.S. Soybean Export Council, Dawn Purchase of the Marine Conservation Society and Michael Tlusty of the University of Massachusetts-Boston. In the second round of judging, the 12-member SOC selects three finalists. The three finalists will then be invited to present their innovations at the GOAL 2022 conference in Seattle from Oct. 3 to 6, with the winner being selected by audience vote.

Who were the finalists and winner of the 2022 competition?

The three finalists of the inaugural Global Fisheries Innovation Award were North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group, Cruz Foam and Precision Seafood Harvesting. By audience vote at GOAL 2022 in Seattle, John Felts of Cruz Foam was selected as the winner.

John Felts Cruz Foam


John Felts, Cruz Foam, United States

Innovation: In a classic example of turning trash to treasure, Cruz Foam is converting chitin – a substance extracted from the exoskeletons of shellfish, including crab, lobster and shrimp – into a durable, biodegradable packaging for the seafood industry, as an eco-friendly alternative to expanded polystyrene, also called foamed polystyrene, EPS or Styrofoam. In doing so, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company is offering one possible remedy to the pressing problem of ocean pollution.

Responsible Seafood Advocate article: ‘Regulation is pushing toward greenifying materials’: How one innovator is upcycling seafood waste into biodegradable packaging foam