Hawaii-based Blue Ocean Mariculture is currently the only open-ocean finfish aquaculture producer operating within the United States. It is also the country's only fish farm to be certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) as environmentally and socially responsible.
Jim Parsons, Northwest Aquaculture Alliance board president, described the addition of Jones as “a strategic and necessary step in expanding our geographic reach as an aquaculture advocacy organization as we collectively call for a more aquaculture-friendly regulatory environment both nationally regionally – a including the Northwest region and the Pacific Islands.”
Jones cited the emerging need for food self-sufficiency and food security in the United States as a key reason for joining the alliance, which he views as a strong voice for all aquaculture – whether marine, freshwater, or closed containment (RAS) systems that produce finfish, shellfish, or sea vegetables.
“One of the lessons learned during the pandemic is that you can’t always count on imports to feed people,” he said. “We have the knowledge, the technology, and the people in this country to be self-sufficient when it comes to the production of aquatic foods. Creating a favourable climate for responsible, sustainable aquaculture is perhaps the most important initiative we can undertake in this country.”
Jones, whose career includes 14 years in the retail supermarket sector, overseeing seafood operations for Whole Foods Market and Texas-based HEB Grocery, also brings to the alliance his expertise in the non-profit sector, where he worked with industry, governments, and agencies globally to implement fisheries and aquaculture improvement projects.
Jones said he looks forward to helping NWAA in its aquaculture advocacy role. “We need aquaculture to feed the world into the future,” he said, adding that the alliance “plays an important role in promoting the many benefits of responsible aquaculture while providing a platform for networking opportunities in the aquaculture sector.”