Regional e-Notes: October Letter from the Director
As we close out Seafood Month, I would like to take a moment to reflect on a major economic impact of the global pandemic that is directly affecting our industry: supply and demand of seafood, and the closure and/or limited capacity of restaurants. As you may know, up to 65% of seafood is consumed in restaurants. Just last week the popular Rubio’s Seafood Grill filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I was sad to hear this news, which highlights the need for us to increase the resilience of our seafood industry so that it can successfully navigate economic and environmental changes. It reminded me of how important it is to build strong communication and partnerships among all sectors in the seafood industry, from production to marketing and consumers. We need to not only increase production of seafood with social license, but also create products that are both accepted and desired by consumers. Publix Business Development Seafood Director Guy Pizzuti said it well: “For sustainability to truly take hold in the industry, it requires a partnership between the retailer, the industry, and the environmental group.”
While partnership is essential during uncertain times, CTSA has been talking for years about the importance of developing strong relationships and collaborative efforts throughout the seafood supply chain, and even beyond into consumer education. We need to utilize partnership, transparency and innovation to overcome the current situation and make seafood truly sustainable. I hope that the numerous online conferences and presentations organized by various seafood entities this month have increased understanding of the seafood industry, as well as its future direction. As our stakeholders and readers know, a strong seafood industry is important for our health, food security, economy and environment.
To this end, we are still in the process of developing our FY20 Plan of Work. We would like to express our sincere appreciation for those of you who have helped us during this development cycle, from our Industry and Technical advisors to our external review panels, who dedicated their time and expertise to help improve the quality of our Plan of Work. We could not do this without you, our valued partners!
Dr. Cheng-Sheng Lee
Executive Director, CTSA