Brian Perkins has joined the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) as its first chief operating officer, the organization announced on January 18, 2021. The seafood industry veteran comes to GAA with more than 40 years of experience, including significant time spent in the fisheries certification sector as well as in trade show organization and the media side of the business.
For the past six years Perkins acted as Regional Director Americas for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the world’s leading wild fisheries certification program. While there he built a strong team that energized the program in the Americas region, increasing consumer awareness, the number of MSC-labeled products and the number of participants engaged with the MSC program. He also established strong working relationships with other NGOs and industry.
Perkins has joined GAA at a critical time as it expands from aquaculture to wild fisheries with the addition of the Seafood Processing Plant Standard Issue 5.0 and the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard, which is owned by the association’s sister organization, Global Seafood Assurances. Over the course of 2021, operations and outputs of GAA and Global Seafood Assurances will merge under one roof, called the Global Seafood Alliance.
In addition to developing and implementing strategies to integrate and transition to the Global Seafood Alliance, Perkins will be responsible for managing Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), the world’s leading third-party aquaculture certification program, including oversight of the BAP market development team, program integrity team and certification team.
“The seafood community thrives on trusted personal relationships cultivated and tested over time. It benefits not only when individuals do well by their company, but equally when those individuals contribute to the greater good through their involvement in pre-competitive activities. Brian Perkins’ career is an example of the attributes we look for in all our associates, and I am personally delighted that he will be joining us as our chief operating officer,” said GAA Wally Stevens, the GAA’s chief executive officer.
Stevens added: “We’re fortunate in that we’ve had a fruitful working relationship with Brian since his days at Diversified Communications, where he oversaw the company’s seafood expositions and publications. He comes with a wealth of knowledge in events and media that will be applied to GAA’s activities.”
Perkins has four decades of hand-on experience in the seafood industry, starting out working in a salt fish factory in Iceland and on a small fishing boat out of Grimsey, Iceland, after which he spent nearly a decade as a commercial fisherman in Maine.
“I am very excited to be joining GAA and to help transition the organization to the Global Seafood Alliance,” said Perkins. “This is a unique opportunity to work across both wild and farmed seafood, helping to ensure it is responsibly produced and handled throughout the supply chain. Seafood is critical to the world’s food portfolio. The concept of filling in the gaps of assurances to include, for example, social responsibility in wild seafood harvesting and processing is the right idea at the right time. I look forward to leveraging my experience and knowledge to help contribute to the development of the sustainable seafood industry.”
Perkins will be based out of GAA’s headquarters in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, reporting to CEO Stevens. The new role of chief operating officer was added to the organization with the intent that the person holding the position would become chief executive officer in due course.