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Editor's Note: Make your voice heard on organic

Fiona Robinson, Associate Publisher / Editor
By Fiona Robinson
April 01, 2013

Are you a seafood buyer who has lamented the fact that you can’t adequately take advantage of the $31 billion market for organic foods in the United States because there is no standard for organic farmed seafood? While many buyers have resorted to buying organic product from overseas, having an organic standard for domestic product would be a huge benefit for the industry to capitalize on.

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is still working on the final rule for organic aquaculture. If you’re a buyer or seller the time will come soon for the public to submit comments on the proposed rule, and according to the NOSB, each and every comment is read. If you have an interest in seeing organic farmed seafood in the United States, you must be ready to comment on the standards. As Mac Stone, NOSB chair, said, if you don’t shape the process, someone else will shape it for you. At Aquaculture America in Nashville, Tenn., in late February, he candidly said environmentalists and others who want to make the standard impossible to achieve for seafood will do everything in their power to make it so. “Environmentalists will surely submit [their comments], you need to make sure it’s not a lopsided conversation,” said Stone. The public comment period for the final rule will be sometime this summer. 

Do it for George Lockwood, the “grandfather” of organic seafood who has worked tirelessly for 13 years to get organic seafood standards established. While many people in the aquaculture industry are frustrated by the lengthy process (Lockwood included), don’t let it all be for nothing. We will let our readers know as soon as the public comment period opens — so be ready to do your part. What could organic farmed seafood mean to your business? Think about it. 


Letter to the Editor



EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a letter from Mike Lindquist, industry veteran from California and longtime friend of Diversified Business Communications, publisher of SeaFood Business.


Pure and simple, I am going to miss you; the wildness, the half-million-dollar deals with a verbal PO, the “Drink Like A Fish” parties, watching our baby industry grow up and friendships that began 35 years ago.

In the summer of 1978, I got “the phone call” from a close college friend working on a salmon processor in Bristol Bay. If I could be at Clark’s Point on Bristol Bay within 24 hours, he had a job waiting for me on the salmon processor. I was 19 years old and the great adventure within the industry that I became deeply committed to had begun.

I worked for six springs and summers leaving Seattle on salmon and herring processing vessels, primarily the Aleutian Dragon plying the waters between Cold Bay and Norton Sound, paying my way through college. The wildness, opportunities and great money steered me to Japanese studies and international marketing at the University of Oregon between seasons. My internship was in Tokyo and I graduated with only the seafood industry in focus.

I landed my dream job at Washington Fish and Oyster (Ocean Beauty Corporate). I had great mentors for the fast-paced Alaskan production of fresh and frozen that we moved throughout the USA, Japan and Europe. A few years later I was offered a great opportunity with JJ Camillo in San Diego and had the privilege of working for Maurice Camillo, one of the true gentlemen of our industry. He and his close-knit group of business buddies schooled me on reputation, integrity and setting your sights high.

It’s been an industry that I have embraced; the smell of fish is the smell of money. I’ve had the opportunity to watch my friends go from salesmen to company owners and leaders and small companies become giant multinationals.

Recently I was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma and a very short life expectancy. The seafood industry has been my world, and as I say goodbye I would like to give you my bucket list:

1. Shun the scum in our industry; starve them out of business and say good riddance. In order for our industry to play even, we need the rotten apples discarded.

2. Make the various NGOs accountable to you rather than accountable to them. Their methods, testing and certification needs to be standardized.

3. Create a national marketing scheme for seafood in a team effort across all fisheries to move our industry to a more highly visible protein sector.

4. Embrace our industry, get involved, enjoy all of it as it’s one of the few truly ever-changing markets that is sometimes crazy, full of opportunities and on the rise.

I have decided to spend the remaining time with my family; to travel with them, make great meals together, drink good wine and enjoy each day. I am hoping you also can include some of this while you perfect the “art of the deal” in your busy world.

Best Fishes, 
Michael Lindquist, Aquamarine Seafood, San Diego

Find other SeaFood Business articles covering organic seafood here.

April 2013 - SeaFood Business  

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