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Marine Stewardship Council appoints Brian Perkins as Regional Director for the Americas

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has appointed Brian Perkins, a former commercial fisherman and international seafood trade show executive, as Regional Director Americas. This appointment is part of a new strategy to continue to expand the MSC’s presence in the Americas and increase availability of MSC certified sustainable seafood across the region.

Perkins joined the MSC’s senior management team on January 5th. He will work alongside the organization’s Chief Executive, Rupert Howes and Global Commercial Director, Nicolas Guichoux. Perkins will also work closely with industry and the conservation community to recognize and encourage sustainable fishing practices that support healthy marine ecosystems.

Perkins will be based in Washington D.C. at a new office location that will serve as the MSC’s Americas region headquarters. The MSC’s Seattle office will be retained as its USA headquarters.              

Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council, said: “I am delighted to welcome Brian, who joins the MSC as our first Regional Director for the Americas under a revised and newly implemented regional structure.  Brian has a unique blend of skills and experience that will enable him to lead the team in their drive to add value to partners. He brings a wealth of knowledge which will help us to expand both the supply and demand of certified sustainable and fully traceable seafood throughout the region. I am very much looking forward to working with Brian over the coming years.”

Working with American fisheries

Globally, more than 245 fisheries are certified as sustainable against the MSC’s robust standard for environmentally sustainable fishing. These fisheries meet strict science-based criteria for sustainability so that the MSC ecolabel can be displayed on their products, assuring consumers that they are purchasing seafood from a sustainable source. Together they are responsible for around 10% annual global harvest of wild capture fisheries. 

Around half (53%) of fisheries in the USA and two-thirds (62%) of Canadian fisheries are engaged with the MSC program. Together these fisheries account for 3.2 million metric tons of seafood caught every year. A further 370,000 metric tons originate from fisheries engaged with the MSC program in Latin America.

Recognized leader in global seafood industry

Perkins has worked within the seafood industry for more than 40 years. He started at a salt fish factory in Iceland and went on to become Executive Vice President and COO of Diversified Business Communications, organizer of Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America and Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global. During his 16-year career at Diversified Perkins oversaw 18 seafood trade shows focusing on areas including seafood processing, commercial fishing, ethnic food and organic products. He was instrumental in launching and managing new expositions in Europe, Singapore and San Francisco and provided counsel on strategic direction for the company. He was also responsible for industry publications, National Fisherman, Seafood Business and WorkBoat.

Brian Perkins, Regional Director Americas, added: “Working for the MSC is a great opportunity to make a difference within an industry which has been such a big part of my life. I join the team at an exciting time and look forward to working with fisheries, commercial partners and conservation organizations. The MSC team has established the gold standard for third party certification of wild fisheries and I believe that continued growth of the program will bring both environmental and socio-economic benefits to the Americas.”

In his position as Regional Director Americas, and as part of an internal restructure of MSC’s Americas region to focus more deeply on specific geographies, Brian will oversee Program Directors and their teams in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. In the United States, Geoff Bolan, located in Seattle, WA, was recently appointed Program Director USA. Jay Lugar, located in Halifax, Canada has been named Program Director Canada. The MSC plans to recruit for the Program Director Latin America position in 2015-16.