Dr. George Chamberlain, president and founder of the Global Seafood Alliance, will join National Fisheries Institute President John Connelly as a recipient of this year’s Wallace R. Stevens Lifetime Achievement Award during the GSA’s GOAL Responsible Seafood Conference in at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle, Washington on October 4.
The remarkable career of Chamberlain, a tireless ambassador for aquaculture and one of the world’s most respected aquaculture professionals, especially in the field of shrimp breeding and farming, spans more than four decades. Entering the field as a researcher and extension specialist at Texas A&M University in the United States, he went on to direct aquaculture programs at Ralston Purina International and Monsanto, and led the development of an integrated shrimp farm in Malaysia. He also served as president of the World Aquaculture Society (WAS).
It was out of that role that Chamberlain co-founded the Global Aquaculture Alliance along with a group of like-minded people following a WAS meeting in Seattle during February of 1997. The nonprofit organization was established to act as a voice for responsible aquaculture, in response to criticism about mangrove deforestation resulting from shrimp farming. He enlisted experts to gather the facts about mangrove loss and published their recommendations for conservation in a qualitative predecessor to Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) standards, “Codes of Practice for Responsible Shrimp Farming.”
To enhance communication within the sector about issues and solutions, Chamberlain launched a magazine and an event, now known as the Responsible Seafood Advocate and GOAL: The Responsible Seafood Conference. He chaired the BAP Standards Oversight Committee for the first 12 years of its existence. Today, BAP is the world’s largest and most comprehensive aquaculture certification program.
During his tenure as president of GSA, Chamberlain co-founded Kona Bay, a shrimp breeding, nutrition and farming business with operations in Hawaii, Brunei and Malaysia. In 2020, he retired from Kona Bay, continuing with the GSA and taking on the additional role of leading another non-profit organization, The Center for Responsible Seafood (TCRS), which the GSA helped establish to promote knowledge sharing within the seafood sector. Beginning in 2023, Chamberlain plans to reduce his GSA role to focus more on TCRS in the coming years.
“It has been my great honor to work beside Bill Herzig, Peder Jacobson, Jim Heerin, Wally Stevens, Brian Perkins and many others at GSA. From the beginning, our handful of ‘missionaries’ had no illusions about our ability to effect change. We could only convene leaders, present the facts and leave it in their capable hands. The results have been transformative. We’ve witnessed the development of an industrywide movement, as the entire seafood value chain has proactively joined the sustainability journey. We still have far to go, and immense challenges lie ahead of us. But I’m confident that together we can continue to overcome them,” said Chamberlain.
“George was among the early visionaries 25 years ago for a global aquaculture organization. He then took the vision, founded the Global Aquaculture Alliance and is responsible for what that organization has become,” said GSA Chairman Wally Stevens. “George is a bit of an aquaculture scientist, researcher, practitioner and convener. But most of all he is one of the most respected individuals in the aquaculture world. Now he moves on to his next vision, TCRS, where he will continue to serve as president. How fortunate we have been, and the best is yet to come.”
“George is known the world over for his aquaculture knowledge, particularly in regard to shrimp breeding and farming. But it’s his forward-thinking approach and abilities as a convener that have really helped move the dial on some of the key challenges and opportunities facing aquaculture and seafood in general. The industry is in a better place because of him,” said GSA CEO Brian Perkins. “It’s been a pleasure working with George over the years and in particular over the past year-and-a-half since I joined the organization.”