The Future of Seafood, Panel: Sustainability through Local and Global Action

Panel discussion featuring leaders in various areas of seafood science, policy, and industry. Panelists are: Monica Jain, executive director with Fish 2.0; Sarah Schumann, author and commercial fisherwoman; Russell Smith, consultant with Flen Consulting, and the moderator will be Azure Cygler, marine research associate with the URI Coastal Resources Center.

Panelist: Monica Jain, founder and executive director of Fish 2.0 and Manta Consulting Inc., is dedicated to growing networks that bring together her top passions: fisheries and the oceans, finance, and impact investment. She launched and grew Fish 2.0 from 2013-2020 to create a network of quality entrepreneurs and investors to grow the sustainable seafood sector and capital flowing into it. Since then, she has worked with over 600 entrepreneurs, 500 investors, and 50 sponsors to expand Fish 2.0 and move over $300M into participating ventures. Monica was named a White House Champion of Change for Sustainable Seafood in October 2016 for her achievements with Fish 2.0 and her long-standing work advancing ocean conservation and sustainable seafood. Her career spans 30 years and 4 continents, encompassing marine biology, philanthropy, venture capital, banking, and international development. Monica continues to expand innovation and investment into the seafood arena as a strategic advisor and consultant to government, investors, and growing businesses and corporations. Monica holds degrees from Stanford University and the Wharton School of Business.

Panelist: Sarah Schumann is a commercial fisherman in Point Judith, RI who dedicates her off-seasons to grassroots organizing and applied research on fisheries habitat, climate-resilient fisheries, and supporting the next generation of commercial fishermen. As a leader in the local seafood movement, she has pioneered the aspirational goal of ecosystem-based seafood marketing, in which seafood markets are balanced in proportion to the productivity of the full suite of edible marine species in a given ecosystem and consumers reciprocate for the gifts of the sea by advocating for healthy habitats. Sarah is the author of Simmering the Sea: Diversifying Cookery to Sustain Our Fisheries and Rhode Island’s Shellfish Heritage: An Ecohistory, and the founder and former board president of the nonprofit Eating with the Ecosystem.

Panelist: Russell Smith is the principal at Flen Consulting LLC. He provides consulting services on oceans-related issues to both domestically and internationally based organizations and institutions. This work has focused on a range of topics, including improved strategies for combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, enhanced protection of marine mammals from fishing activities, the performance of a resource management organization, and enhanced efforts to eliminate slave labor in the seafood industry. Before establishing Flen Consulting, Mr. Smith served as the deputy assistant secretary for International Fisheries at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  His responsibilities included overseeing NOAA’s international fisheries and trade-related work and leading U.S. efforts to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud. He served as the U.S. Commissioner in three regional fisheries management organizations, led U.S. delegations in numerous bilateral and multilateral negotiations, and was a leader in President Obama’s Task Force on Combatting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud. He has also worked as a negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, a lawyer in the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, and a lawyer in private practice. In addition, Mr. Smith has also worked on national efforts to protect and defend the right to vote. He is currently a Board member of The Ocean Foundation, the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP), and the Oyster Recovery Project (ORP).  He is a graduate of Yale College and the University of Michigan Law School.

Moderator: Azure Dee Cygler joined the Coastal Resources Center & Rhode Island Sea Gran in 2012 and their Fisheries & Aquaculture Extension Specialist. Azure has master’s in marine affairs from the University of Rhode Island, where her graduate work focused on measuring the well-being of commercial fishermen in three New England ports and how management measures have impacted their decision-making and conservation ethics. Prior to her graduate work, she was with the School for Marine Science and Technology in Massachusetts, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Mass., and has fished commercially in the U.S. and abroad. She lives in Narragansett and is involved in the coastal community.

2021 Speaker List