FishWise seeks to educate consumers, retailers, distributors and other companies on sustainable fishery issues, with the goal of decreasing the unsustainable harvest of fish, while improving fisher livelihoods, fish populations and ocean ecosystems.
FishWise was founded in 2002 to enable consumers and grocery retailers to support seafood sustainability and thereby protect ocean ecosystems. The organization’s co-founders, Teresa Ish and Shelly Benoit, identified a critical gap in which consumers did not have information to make informed choices and well-intentioned businesses did not have the tools and resources necessary to accurately and credibly incorporate sustainability into their seafood cases. Through a test program with New Leaf Community Markets in Santa Cruz, California, FishWise was born.
Over the next couple of years, new tools such as an online training system for employees and point of sale materials were developed that improved customer service and loyalty, driving both conservation gains and increases in total seafood sales. Based on that success, FishWise expanded, in 2006, to Andronico’s and Nugget Markets, two of California’s leading independent retailers. The FishWise retail program can now be found on both coasts of the United States, and continues to expand its geographic scope.
Similarly, FishWise continues to build its expertise and refine its role in the sustainable seafood movement. While consumer education and the retail program will always be a key part of the organization’s work, FishWise is increasingly working behind the scenes with seafood buyers and upper management to develop comprehensive seafood policies. As a result, FishWise has become a seafood consultancy dedicated to providing companies the credibility, expertise and tools they need to make strong corporate commitments to sustainable seafood.
FishWise believes that healthy ocean ecosystems and freshwater habitats are vital to maintain biological diversity and are the building blocks of a long term and sustainable seafood industry. By combining credible science and NGO expertise, the innovation of seafood businesses, and the power of informed consumers, FishWise believes that we can chart a new course for the seafood industry. Our belief is that everyone in the supply chain has an important role to play, from the coastal communities and companies that farm and catch fish, to the specialty retailers and distributors that differentiate themselves through sustainable business practices, to the largest companies that possess the leverage to drive innovation and conservation in their supply chains. All of us must work together to enact the change necessary to protect our ocean resources long into the future.