Conference Agenda

AC 2024: Where connection grows and collaboration sparks

Alliance Conference is an annual gathering for members of our Global Hub community. This intimate event convenes experts and enthusiasts like you in the responsible seafood movement for an opportunity to explore new developments in the movement, showcase your organization’s current environmental and social responsibility projects and initiatives, and build strategic partnerships with colleagues, old and new.

We invite you to meet us in Cancun, Mexico October 15-18, 2024 for #AC24!


Environmental and Social Integration Event: 12:00 – 4:00 PM

To meet increasing demand and interest, The Alliance has designed a half-day session preceding the main agenda to explore the nexus between environmental and social accountability in the responsible seafood movement. This “Day Zero” session is intended for participants in the Alliance’s new Environmental and Social Integration Network as well as all conference attendees interested in fostering the promotion of workers’ rights and social accountability.

This interactive session will be facilitated by social expert Pamela Wharton and include guest speakers and experts. During our time together, the group will specifically explore how we can promote and develop more comprehensive approaches to ensuring responsible seafood, such as:

  • Ensuring that fishers and fisher-led organizations have a seat at the table is critical to ensuring the sustainability of both environmental and social accountability practices. The session will provide an opportunity to hear directly from fishers on how they balance livelihoods, welfare, and environmental sustainability, and how they are organizing to strengthen their influence in global markets and public policies.
  • There are several initiatives to promote the inclusion of electronic monitoring and Wi-Fi technologies on fishing vessels to combat both illegal fishing practices and human rights abuses. What does the research and current pilots tell us and how can we speak with one voice to promote the adoption of these technologies?
  • Certifications and audits are one tool to promote responsible seafood however, they are not always as effective for identifying labor abuses. What complementary tools exist and can be developed to be used alongside audits to better identify labor abuses, promote fair livelihoods and workers’ rights, and ensure a more sustainable seafood sector?

Admission to Day Zero is included in your general conference registration fee, however, we do ask that you kindly RSVP here by September 2 to assist with planning.


Pamela Wharton, Wharton Consulting (USA)

Part 1: 12:00 – 1:50 PM

Social Responsibility, Human + Labor Rights, Worker Voice

How do fisher-led organizations engage government and market actors? How do they propose to protect their rights and welfare? What challenges do they face? The Accountability Research Center collaborated with CONMECOOP in Mexico and fisher-led organizations in Ecuador, Ghana, Indonesia, and Thailand to learn from organizers in global seafood supply chains. This panel will share lessons learned from that and other case studies. The discussion will address how fishers balance livelihoods, welfare, and environmental sustainability, and how fishers are organizing to strengthen their influence in global markets and public policies. 

Conversation led by Accountability Research Center and CONMECOOP

BREAK: 1:50 – 2:20 PM

Part 2: 2:20 – 4:00 PM

Certification; Social Responsibility, Human + Labor Rights, Worker Voice; Traceability

Certifications and audits are tools to promote responsible seafood, however, they aren’t always as effective for identifying labor abuses. What complementary tools exist and can be developed for use alongside audits to better identify labor abuses, promote fair livelihoods and workers’ rights, and ensure a more sustainable seafood sector?

Conversation led by FishChoice, Fish Standard for Crew, Global Seafood Alliance, and Fair Trade USA

Want to join us for our Day Zero session? Confirm your attendance here.

Welcome Reception: 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Networking Event

Welcome to Mexico! Please join us at the hotel’s pool lawn to catch up with old friends and meet new colleagues before the conference begins. Light refreshments will be served.

Day One

Breakfast: 8:00 – 9:00 aM

Welcome and Opening: 9:00 – 9:30 aM

Keynote Plenary Session: 9:30 – 10:30 aM


Breakout sessions – round one: 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Attendees select one breakout session to attend.

Building the Dialogue on Indigenous Rights and Aquaculture

Social Responsibility, Human + Labor Rights, Worker Voice; Aquaculture


This session will discuss some of the challenges around aquaculture production in Indigenous territories and the recognition of Indigenous rights, in particular the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent. The main theme of the session is around creating dialogue and building partnerships.

There will be three presentations:

  1. Including Free Prior and Informed Consent in an aquaculture sustainability standard: ASC’s FPIC project
  2. Indigenous perspective on FPIC and aquaculture production
  3. Engaging in constructive dialogue on Indigenous rights

We would also like to hear from the audience on this topic and on how (aquaculture) certification can play a role.

Sustainable Seafood Retailer Forum – How it started and where it’s heading

Business Engagement, Partnerships; Social Responsibility, Human + Labor Rights, Worker Voice; Traceability, IUU Fishing; Retailer Pre-competitive Collaboration


  • Michelle Beritzhoff-Law, Senior Project Director, FishWise (USA)
  • Kathryn Novak, Biodiversity and Nature Director, Sustainable Fisheries Partnerships (USA)
  • TBD Retailer Representatives

Session description coming soon.

Lunch Break: 12:00 – 1:00 PM

Breakout sessions – round two: 1:00 – 2:15 PM

Attendees select one breakout session to attend.

Experiences from the Yucatan Octopus Fishery: Impacts and synergies of working towards sustainability

Fishery Improvement Projects; Small-Scale


The Yucatan octopus fishery is the most important in the Mexican southeast and is one of the world´s most significant octopus fisheries. This artisanal fishery, known as the fishery of hope, employs >15,000 fishers. In 2019, a FIP was created to address the problems that had put it at risk. Some challenges persist, but in their path to sustainability, they have resolved several issues and generated synergies to celebrate and learn from. In this session, participants will learn the motivations, expectations, and challenges of working collaboratively that this fishery has, showing useful insights to help drive changes in small-scale fisheries.

Expanding Data Sharing Capabilities in Small Scale Wild-Capture and Aquaculture; Getting to EPCIS

Data, Technology, Reporting; Small-Scale; Traceability, IUU Fishing; Aquaculture


  • Greg Brown, Executive Director, Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (USA)
  • TBD representatives from NGOs and certifiers, and technical experts

Event-based traceability is the gold standard when capturing traceable data in fisheries and aquaculture. Unfortunately, the systems capturing and sharing this data are often too complex and expensive for small and mid-sized first-mile harvesters and producers to afford. Worse, since these people are at the beginning of the supply chain, lack of adoption of these systems creates data deficiencies that can’t be remedied after the fact. The Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability is working to create a resource that will allow these users or those at the next step in the supply chain to import their data from an Excel spreadsheet and upconvert it into Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS), the widely used GS1 global data standard which is at the core of the GDST Standard. Listen, learn, and participate as our panel of experts discuss both the challenge and the path to digital interoperable traceability in Seafood. Panel members will include Greg Brown, Executive Director of the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (moderator), representatives from NGOs and certifiers, and technical experts.

Community Lightning Round: 2:30 – 3:45 pM

Speakers are assigned tables and provide short 10-minute presentations. Attendees rotate tables three times.

Speaker: Sheila S. Senathirajah, Senior Manager, ISEAL

Sheila works at ISEAL, a global membership association for credible sustainability standards. She works as a Senior Manager within the Innovations team focussed on working with members to better understand and identify strategies to drive the uptake of sustainable practices. Within ISEAL, she oversees the work on Livelihoods which includes the facilitation of the Living Income Community of Practice (LICoP), a community founded through a partnership between The Sustainable Food Lab, GIZ, and ISEAL aimed at supporting activities focused on improving small-scale producer incomes towards achieving a decent standard of living.

Speaker: Phillip Sanchez, Bycatch Programs Coordinator, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership

Dr. Phillip Sanchez works with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership highlighting bycatch problems within the seafood sourcing data of seafood retailers and suppliers with the intent to create actionable opportunities to reduce bycatch within identified fisheries. As the SFP Bycatch Solutions Hub Manager, he works with NGOs, FIPs, gear manufacturers, fishers, and other on-the-ground organizations to develop work plans that implement proven bycatch mitigation gears and best practices within fisheries that can be supported by relevant seafood industry stakeholders. Phillip has spent the last decade working in marine fisheries in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. He has an MS in Marine Science from the University of Puerto Rico, a PhD in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University, both centered around marine fishery management, and is now based in Panama.

Speaker: Catherine Pigeon-Dubeau, Senior Supply Chain Innovation Manager, MSC

Catherine Pigeon-Dubeau is the Senior Supply Chain Innovation Manager at the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). As part of the MSC’s forward-thinking supply chain innovation team, her role includes developing innovative ways to harness technological advances and digitalization efforts to evolve the MSC Chain of Custody program and enhance traceability practices across seafood supply chains. Based in the UK, Catherine leads global partner and stakeholder engagement, ensuring strong collaboration and consultation on key components of the project. Before this role, Catherine worked for the MSC in eastern Canada, supporting MSC-certified fisheries and supply chain partners. Her experience focuses on marine conservation and sustainable fisheries management in a wide range of contexts.

Speaker: Michelle Cho, Director, BalanceBlue Lab, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium

Michelle Cho has more than eighteen years of experience researching the health and environmental impacts of commercial global fisheries and partnering with the seafood industry. As part of the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium’s BalanceBlue Lab, Michelle’s objective is to advance the uptake of technological and other innovative techniques to help mitigate and reduce the impacts of human activities on the ocean.

Speaker: Ethan Lucas, Project Director, FishWise

As a 12-year veteran at FishWise, Ethan has developed and led sustainable seafood partnerships with Target, Hy-Vee, and many other businesses in the retail, hospitality, and mid-supply chain sectors. Additional work includes representing FishWise in the NGO Tuna Forum and tracking fishery improvement projects for the organization. Ethan became involved in wild capture fisheries at a young age on Cape Cod, MA and later transitioned focus to work with the seafood industry to improve various aspects of environmental sustainability, traceability, and social responsibility. Ethan holds a B.S. in Aquaculture and Fisheries Technology from the University of Rhode Island, a Master of Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, a Knauss Fellowship at NOAA Coral Reef Watch, and completed three years of U.S. Peace Corps service in the Philippines.

Speaker: Jill Swasey, Director of Impacts, Monitoring & Evaluation, ASC

Jill Swasey has worked as a marine scientist for twenty years involved with data collection, analysis, and communication of seafood sustainability. Her project work has incorporated research and analysis of policy and management of federal fisheries, assessment against sustainability criteria, and management and policy evaluation. Ms. Swasey has coordinated working groups aimed at developing indicators for fisheries management, risk evaluation, stakeholder engagement, and identifying best practices in fisheries and aquaculture. Ms. Swasey joined the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) in 2020 to head the organization’s Monitoring and Evaluation team.

Speaker: Eric Walton, Senior Associate International Fisheries Markets, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Eric Walton supports Pew’s engagement with the marketplace through the international fisheries project. He works with seafood supply chain members to advocate for key policies and management measures aimed at ensuring the long-term health of fisheries and ocean ecosystems. Before joining Pew, he led high-end sales to chefs and retail outlets and processed fish for a traceable seafood startup in Maine, and taught at various environmental and marine education organizations. Walton holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy and creative writing from Colby College and a master’s degree in marine biodiversity and conservation from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Speaker: Oscar Zamora, Scientific Consultant, Blueyou Impact

Oscar Zamora’s work is looking for science-based solutions towards fisheries’ sustainability. Oscar holds a Ph. D in marine science and his career includes working with a variety of public and private organizations from local to global scope with a focus on fisheries ecology in Latin America. At Blueyou, Oscar, in his role as a scientific consultant, is responsible for assessing the ecological performance of fisheries worldwide as well as managing Blueyou’s Seafood Climate Impact Program in which LCA-based environmental footprints of seafood origins are calculated with exceptional data granularity. Further, Oscar is a lecturer at the Facultad de Ciencias del Mar at the Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa.

Speaker: Stephanie J. Rousso, PhD Candidate, Marine Ecologist,  Blue Turtle Sustainable, LLC

Stephanie, originally from the USA, has spent the past 14 years leading grant-funded research in Baja Sur, México. She received her Masters degree in Marine Resource Management from the Polytechnic Center for Marine Science in La Paz and currently finishing her PhD research aimed at enhancing understanding of bycatch susceptibility in Mexican small-scale fisheries. Her expertise lies in participatory science, focusing on endangered species conservation, particularly sea turtles and elasmobranchs. Her research is culminating into a certification which empowers fishers to access premium seafood markets and foster a culture shift towards responsible, wild, and traceable seafood in Northwest Mexico.

Speaker: Nahla Achi, Senior Project Manager, FishWise

As Senior Project Manager, Nahla develops guidance to promote decent work in the seafood sector. Before joining FishWise, Nahla worked at the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions on marine resource conflicts and labor issues in tuna supply chains. Her interest in human rights started while studying International Relations and Human Rights, with a focus on understanding how industries with complex supply chains address labor issues. She pursued an M.A. in Earth Systems to explore the intersection of human rights and environmental issues and equip herself to work in the seafood space, where sustainability and social responsibility are often interlinked.

Day One Closing: 3:45 – 4:00 pM

Celebration of women in Seafood

Networking Event

Everyone is invited to this event celebrating the incredible women in seafood around the world. Co-Hosted by Seafood and Gender Equality and the Conservation Alliance. Details coming soon!

Sponsored by

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

Day Two

Breakfast: 8:00 – 9:00 aM

Networking Roundtables: 9:00 – 9:50 aM

Networking Event

Solutions for Seafood Workshops: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Attendees select one workshop session to attend.

Establishing Best Practices for Buyers to Drive Environmental Sustainability and Social Responsibility in Small Scale Fisheries

Business Engagement, Partnerships; Fishery Improvement Projects; Small-Scale; Social Responsibility, Human + Labor Rights, Worker Voice

Workshop Leads

  • Javier Van Cauwelaert,  Partner and CEO,  SmartFish Inc. (Mexico)
  • René Benguerel, Founder and CEO, Blue You (Switzerland)
  • Chris Kastern, Director of Growth, Abalobi (South Africa)
  • Benjamin Castro,  Founder, Marativa (Mexico)
  • Pilar Heron, Field Advisor, Fair Trade (USA)

Session description coming soon.

Making the Sustainable Seafood Data Tool More Effective for the Global Hub

Certification, Ratings, Standards; Data, Technology, Reporting; Social Responsibility, Human + Labor Rights, Worker Voice

Workshop Leads

  • Erika Feller, Regional Director, Americas, Marine Stewardship Council (USA)
  • Danielle Lewis, Partner, Springboard Partners (USA)
  • Ed Walz, Partner, Springboard Partners (USA)

The Certification & Ratings Collaboration’s Sustainable Seafood Data Tool compiles information from multiple sources about environmental performance and human rights abuses and risks in global seafood production. During this interactive, focus group-style session, we will explore how members of the Global Hub are using the environmental and social components of the data tool and what improvements would make the data tool a more effective resource for the community.

Charting the Course: How can blue innovation support the Alliance’s vision of responsible seafood?

Data, Technology, Reporting

Workshop Leads

  • Lena Weiss, Program Manager, BalanceBlue Lab, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium (USA)
  • Michelle Cho, Program Director, BalanceBlue Lab, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium (USA)

Innovation that improves the collection, analysis, and dissemination of ocean and coastal data can support economic growth while helping solve critical issues in sustainable seafood. This session will provide an overview of emerging themes and challenges in blue innovation, followed by a discussion of ways in which we can best connect blue innovation with potential end-users, catalyzing meaningful change on the water. Example topics include AI, novel aquafeed ingredients, bycatch reduction solutions, and seafood traceability and management software. The workshop’s findings will be incorporated into ongoing initiatives and will provide the Global Hub with meaningful engagement opportunities in the future.

Lunch Break: 12:00 – 1:00 PM

Keynote Plenary Session: 1:00 – 2:00 PM


José Luis Carrillo Galaz, Presidente, Confederación Mexicana de Cooperativas de Pesqueras y Acuícolas (CONMECOOP) (Mexico)

Meeting Concludes: 2:00 PM

Optional organized afternoon activities will be shared closer to event date. You may also utilize the conference room space for side meetings; please contact Meaghan Hudgins to reserve.

Day Three

Breakfast: 8:00 – 9:00 aM

Plenary Session: 9:00 – 10:15 aM

The Future of Funding for Sustainable Seafood

Hear from a diverse panel of representatives from the funding community about the various resource opportunities that exist to support our work, future trends they are anticipating for our movement, and where these institutions are prioritizing their resources over the next 5-10 years.


TBD Representatives from the funding community

Breakout sessions – round three: 10:20 – 11:35 AM

Attendees select one breakout session to attend.

Electronic Monitoring & WiFi Solutions for Environmental Sustainability and Crew Welfare

Electronic Monitoring & WiFi; Solutions for Environmental Sustainability; Crew Welfare


  • Natalie Tellwright, Ocean Technology and Innovation Program Manager, Conservational International
  • TBD additional speakers

The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Ocean Outcomes, and Humanity Research Consultancy are collaborating on a project to prototype and trial electronic monitoring and Wi-Fi technologies in the fisheries sector to combat both illegal fishing practices and human rights abuses. Natalie Tellwright will introduce the research elements exploring EM for social responsibility. Gabrielle Lout will present on the EM and WiFi pilot and integration with social responsibility assessments. Rob Johnson will present on the Nature Conservancy’s Tuna Transparency Pledge and wider EM work. Mina Chiang will present on the importance of Wi-Fi for crew welfare and project interview results.

How Can We Accelerate FIP Progress?

Fishery Improvement Projects; Certification, Ratings, Standards;  Accountability


  • Kristin Sherwood, Program Director, FishChoice (USA)
  • Erika Feller, Regional Director, Americas, Marine Stewardship Council (USA)
  • Jesse Marsh, Global Coordinator, FIP Community of Practice (USA)

Fishery improvement projects are an important tool for addressing environmental and social challenges in fisheries. Overcoming these challenges requires a lot of support from fishers, governments, NGOs, and industry. FIPs progress can stall for many reasons; from the need for funding and appropriate incentives to challenging and changing external conditions. FIPs play a significant role in many buyers’ responsible sourcing policies and its critical FIPs are supported, encouraged, and held accountable for making progress toward certification or other end goals. During this session, we’ll explore why FIPs stall and brainstorm ways different sectors of the Global Hub can advance progress.

Plenary Session – Conference Closing: 11:40 aM – 12:00 PM

Lunch Break: 12:00 – 1:00 PM

Please note the agenda is subject to change.

Thank you to our sponsors for their generous support of Alliance Conference 2024!

Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)