About the Seafood Co-Lab


The sustainable seafood movement has grown profoundly in scope and impact over the past decade; but innovative and collaborative cross-sector solutions to global fisheries challenges have not kept pace with the speed of business.
To be effective, we must create new tools to engage new stakeholders.

Incubate new, cross-sector collaborations that generate innovative solutions to ongoing or emerging challenges within the sustainable seafood movement via an annual event that stimulates engagement, raises awareness, and generates concrete solutions at the project level.

SeaWeb and the Conservation Alliance are uniquely positioned to identify challenges in sustainable seafood that will benefit from a collaborative response, and to tap into the expertise of individual leaders and the collective knowledge of the broader movement to address those challenges.

Collaboration is a leadership challenge. Unless leaders at the executive level understand and embrace the need for collaboration, you’ll never be able to drive related organisational change through the ’tough spots.’

Chris Ninnes, Aquaculture Stewardship Council

We need something that puts us in the mindset of businesses. We desperately need to pick up the pace to keep up with the speed of business.

Jenn Dianto Kemmerly, Monterey Bay Aquarium

This is model is fantastic. I see it driving much greater collaborative change than anything else out there right now.

Guy Dean, Albion Farms & Fisheries

In 2016, the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions tasked their Fellowship cohort with originating fresh ideas for how to tackle hurdles to sustainability. The year-long project culminated in a marathon brainstorming retreat, where the Fellows came up with the “Co-Lab” concept. The idea was to harness the power of collaboration in projects that deliver hands-on solutions at a speed that keeps pace with business. The Seafood Co-Lab’s unique cross-sectoral approach is designed to stimulate “outside of the box” thinking by requiring participants to cross-pollinate ideas with smart folks outside of their usual professional silo. 

(Subject to change)

  • December 15, 2017 – January 25, 2018  Submissions open
  • March 11-12, 2018 Public voting at Seafood Expo North America in Boston; Winner announced at end of second day 
  • June 19-21, 2018  Collab-a-thon at the Summit
  • July 2018 – Winners’ project work starts
  • April 2019 – Project final report due
  • June 2019 – Project report-out at Summit

The goal of the Co-Lab is to support collaborative projects supported by both industry and civil society, to engage stakeholders and find innovative solutions. Each competition will include these steps:

  1. Reach out to the broader seafood community to solicit potential projects for the Co-Lab
  2. Identify a set of four finalists through an Advisory Board
  3. Conduct a highly advertised public voting process that culminates with the winner’s announcement
  4. Identify experts to support the winning project and create a resource for the seafood community
  5. Present the project at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit, and crowdsource expertise from attendees
  6. Support the winning project throughout its development via facilitated conference calls with expert collaborators
  7. Present results to the seafood community

Co-Lab will draw on lessons learned from the Seafood Summit and use a combination of structured and crowdsourced requests for proposals, starting with solicited proposals and following with open submissions. All submissions will be gathered via an online form.

Prior to Seafood Expo North America, the Co-Lab Advisory Board will identify four projects to advance to public voting. These will be chosen based on:

  • Importance and urgency of issue the project addresses
  • Potential for measurable, verifiable successful outcome
  • Ability to cross-pollinate with upcoming Summit issues and themes
  • Business and communications value to the seafood industry

Prior to Seafood Expo North America, the Co-Lab Advisory Board will identify four projects to advance to public voting. These will be chosen based on:

  • Importance and urgency of issue the project addresses
  • Potential for measurable, verifiable successful outcome
  • Ability to cross-pollinate with upcoming Summit issues and themes
  • Business and communications value to the seafood industry

In the months leading up to Seafood Expo North America, Co-Lab will conduct an extensive communications and outreach campaign promoting the finalists’ stories and encouraging the seafood community to vote via an online form. Following a final media and outreach blitz at SENA, voting will close and the winning project will be announced at Seafood Expo North America.

Once the winning project is selected at SENA, Co-Lab will focus on providing a framework that supports creation of a high-performing project team.

In the period between SENA and the Seafood Summit, SeaWeb and partners will identify a broad spectrum of subject experts who can support the winning project and will work to ensure they and an equally broad spectrum of potential collaborators attend the Summit.

On day one of the Summit, the winning project will be featured, followed by a series of networking and brainstorming opportunities devoted to the project. By the end of the Summit, the goal is to have a framework in place that identifies:

  • Key members and advisors to the collaboration
  • Mission & goals statement
  • Metrics for success
  • Rough timeline

Throughout a 10-month period following the Seafood Summit, Co-Lab will continue to support the winning project by facilitating conference calls with subject matter experts and tracking progress. At the end of the project, Co-Lab will arrange for the results to be presented at the Summit or an equivalent venue and widely communicated to the seafood community.

SeaWeb serves the sustainable seafood community by nourishing a coordinated infrastructure of people and knowledge to guide, inspire and reward the seafood industry’s uptake of sustainable practices.

The Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions connects leading conservation groups from North America, South America, Europe, and Japan that work with businesses throughout the supply chain from fishermen and fish farmers to retailers and restaurants.


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