Entrepreneurial interest in sustainable seafood is rising globally, as are the opportunities to succeed with new products and business models. The trend is clear in applications to the Fish 2.0 competition for sustainable seafood businesses: In 2013, 70 percent of Fish 2.0 applicants were from North America—and we wondered if we could persuade a significant number of entrepreneurs from areas such as the South Pacific Islands and Thailand to enter a North American business competition held in English on the Internet. We had our answer in 2015: only about half the entries were from North America, with about one-third coming from Asia and the Pacific Islands.
This year, we expect even greater diversity: the competition has a new track structure designed to build seafood innovation networks in coastal regions around the world and create global networks around key opportunities in the seafood industry.
We’ve been holding workshops in the U.S. and internationally, and the promise is clear. In the seafood sector, small-scale businesses with an eye on global markets can make a difference in the local economy as well as the environment. The businesses participating our recent Pacific Islands workshop in Fiji are a great example of this potential—and of the value of providing seafood entrepreneurs with the kinds of training and investor networks that are commonplace in the tech sector.