HOUSTON -- February 22, 2017 --
Omega Protein has become the newest industry partner at the
Science Center for Marine Fisheries (SCeMFiS)
. SCeMFiS is a partnership between the fishing industry, the
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
University of Southern Mississippi
, and is part of the National Science Foundation's Industry/University Cooperative Research Center program. SCeMFiS connects the industry with the most up-to-date scientific and academic resources.
In joining SCeMFiS, Omega Protein partners with an organization that shares its commitment to sustainable fishery management. It includes private and publicly traded companies, trade organizations, non-profits and government agencies. Some of the non-industry members include the National Marine Fisheries Service - Northeast Fisheries Science Center, SeaWatch International and the National Fisheries Institute.
"I want to extend our sincere appreciation to Omega Protein as they become a collaborating member of SCeMFiS. The future of our fishing communities depends upon sustainable fisheries, and we believe it is part of responsible fishing today to be making these investments in research," said Jeff Kaelin, who sits on SCeMFiS's Industry Advisory Board (IAB) of Officers and is head of Government Relations for Lund's Fisheries. "We are pleased Omega Protein will be joining us in this important work."
SCeMFiS is responsible for
that have led to major breakthroughs in fisheries science, such as a 2015 report on improving the accuracy of marine mammal stock assessments, as well as measuring the impact marine mammal regulations have on East Coast and Gulf fisheries.
"Since SCeMFiS' inception, Omega Protein has had respect for the organization and has continued to be impressed by the quality of the research being conducted," said Omega Protein Director of Public Affairs Ben Landry. "The objective of SCeMFiS is to develop research proposals to address scientific uncertainty in order to develop best management practices. We felt that there was no better group with which to partner than SCeMFiS, and we are excited to join."
SCeMFiS currently has 17 projects underway covering a broad spectrum of fisheries issues. Several of these projects are especially relevant to the work of Omega Protein. One project in particular is a winter survey of menhaden in the Mid-Atlantic, which aims to "address data deficiencies and better inform the menhaden assessment," according to Mr. Kaelin.
New SCeMFiS members are required to be affiliated with an academic institution, and Omega Protein has chosen to partner with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Roger Mann, a Professor of Marine Science at VIMS and the Virginia Site Director at SCeMFiS, has signed the agreement. According to Dr. Mann, there are many ways industry members benefit from partnering with SCeMFiS.
"Members gain access to an international group of experts who can focus on technical problems that are challenging your sector of the fishing industry," said Dr. Mann. He also noted that SCeMFiS follows the research standards of the National Science Foundation, the "gold standard" in US scientific research. "This places the results of any IAB funded effort beyond reproach as these results are used to advance the goals of sustainable harvest."
Omega Protein is the 11th industry partner to join the SCeMFiS team. Other partners include Atlantic Capes Fisheries, Bumblebee Foods/Snow's, Garden State Seafood Association, LaMonica Fine Foods, Lund's Fisheries Incorporated, and Surfside Seafood Products.
Access to this premier scientific resource will ensure that Omega Protein remains at the forefront of the latest developments in fisheries science management. As a new industry partner at SCeMFiS, Omega Protein can continue to expand upon its current commitment to sustainable and responsible fishing.