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Seafood Industry Research Fund 

A 501(c)3 organization established in 1964

Russ Mentzer
Dear Seafood Industry Professional,

Welcome to the third quarter Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF) newsletter! In 2017 SIRF has committed to funding projects that have a major impact on our industry. We are excited to share with you in this newsletter the following stories:
  • SIRF Research Videos
  • Closed-Tube DNA Testing
  • SIRF Soiree Location Announced
  • Future Leader News
  • SIRF Board Meeting
We could not fund exciting research without your support. Thank you for your continued  contributions. To view  SIRF sponsored research, please visit  
and contact us with any questions you may have .
Russ Mentzer, Chairman
Seafood Industry Research Fund
Current Research & Funding
SIRF on the Web 
SIRF's new website hosts dynamic content. Stay current with SIRF activities through project profiles, news articles and researcher interviews. 

Here is what's new on SIRF's website:

1.) Interview with SIRF Researcher Dr David Kuhn

2.) Improving Aquaculture at Virginia Tech

3) New SIRF Website Announcement

Conclusion of Closed-Tube DNA Study
Brandeis University has concluded its SIRF-funded project on Closed-Tube DNA Barcoding. The study, performed by J. Aquiles Sanchez, Ph.D. and Lawrence J. Wangh, Ph.D, set out to develop a model for fast, cost-effective identification of seafood to prevent species substitution and fraud. 

As an alternative to expensive and time-consuming FDA methods, closed-tube based testing seeks to establish  one set of universal reagents instead of the individual DNA sequencing and tests for each fish species now in use. The streamlined process would make species authentication available to field inspection officials across the supply chain and strengthen economic integrity within the seafood marketplace.

Commercial field portable device for closed-tube DNA testing

For the project execution, eight species at high risk for mislabeling and substitution were selected: Red Snapper, Pacific Red Snapper, Atlantic Cod, Pacific Cod, Bigeye Tuna, Skipjack Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna and Swordfish. Researchers then used the closed-tube barcoding technology to establish a species-specific genetic signature for each product. The signatures were then referenced against a DNA database of specimens from the FDA and Northeastern University.  
The research yielded successful results correctly identifying the eight tested species through their genetic signatures. In addition, the closed-tube DNA test time reduced the current FDA protocol, a 12-25 hour process, to under two hours.

"Closed-tube DNA testing promises a better solution for seafood verification," said Jamie Marshall, chairman of industry watchdog group The Better Seafood Board (BSB). "The ease and accessibility of this new assessment will hold all stages of the value chain to the accountability and transparency seafood consumers deserve."

SIRF has approved a continuation of this study to be run out of Northeastern University. The study will create a public database for genomic DNA samples of commercially important seafood species. 
 SIRF News 
SIRF Soiree Location Announced 
The Frost Science Museum has been selected as the host location for the 2018 SIRF Soiree. The Frost is a newly opened museum in Downtown Miami operating as both a planetarium and aquarium.

On January 22nd, 130 of seafood's key leaders will attend the Soiree for an evening dedicated to seafood research. With the reception area situated at the bottom of the aquarium guests can network with colleagues while ocean life swims overhead.
The program will feature highlights from current SIRF research as well as a soon-to-be-named speaker who will speak on pressing issues within seafood science. Check for more SIRF Soiree news or email Geraldine Espejo,
SIRF and the Future Leaders 
The longstanding partnership between SIRF and the NFI Future Leader Program continues to strengthen through education opportunities and shows of support.
In August, SIRF Chairman Russ Mentzer met with the current Future Leader class during their Portland, Maine session to share the story of SIRF.

The presentation described SIRF's 54 year history, covering past and recent research projects including alternatives to antibiotics in aquaculture, research in the prevention of child labor and trafficking in Western Ghana, and Rapid DNA testing of seafood species to provide a tool to help prevent the mislabeling of seafood.

"The term 'Future Leaders' aptly describes the group I met with," said Mr. Mentzer. "These men and women are the developing leaders of our industry. As they mature in their roles, they will usher in innovative changes for seafood, a mission fully complimentary to and encouraged by SIRF."

In September at the SIRF board meeting, it was the Future Leaders turn to support the seafood research organization. Board member and Future Leader Alumni Dan DiDonato, Preferred Freezer Services, presented SIRF with a check for $11,500. The donation was raised during the Future Leader Alumni Networking Event held during the Seafood Expo North America and will go to the Wally Stevens Future Leader Perpetual Fund.

"SIRF and the Future Leaders build on each other's work," said Mr. DiDonato. "Seafood advancement is driven by the right people using the best available scientific and technological tools. Both organizations are focused on creating this type of thriving business community."  
SIRF Board Meeting: September 11th, 2017
The SIRF board met September 11th during the National Fisheries Institute's Fall Political Event. The meeting agenda included an update on current projects and a review of proposed research for 2018. The board moved to approve several projects for 2018 funding including:


Adaptive Symptom Care Using Fish-Based Nutritional Directives Post Breast Cancer

  • Conducted by the University of Connecticut, research seeks to gather key information regarding dietary fish consumption patterns in breast cancer survivors for reducing persistent pain and fatigue. The study will be jointly funded by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
A Public DNA Bank to Support Technology Development for Seafood Identification and Authentication
  • Conducted by Northeastern University, research to facilitate the development and implementation of new DNA-based technologies needed to improve the ease, accuracy, confidence, validity and cost efficiency of seafood identification and labeling.
NFI SIRF Lead Margaret Malkoski was encouraged by the board's funding decisions.

"SIRF has chosen a strong portfolio of projects for 2018," said Mrs. Malkoski. "With an emphasis on health and seafood economic integrity, these projects represent the broad range of interests SIRF is pursuing to drive value to the seafood industry."

The SIRF board is also considering additional projects for funding in 2018. 

Issue Date


Quarter 3 2017

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Wally Stevens Future Leader Perpetual Fund

Wally Stevens has guided the seafood industry as an NFI Chairman, GAA Executive Director and SIRF contributor. SIRF established the Wally Stevens Perpetual Fund to honor his long-serving commitment to the seafood community.

To donate to the Wally Stevens Perpetual Fund click here.
More About Donations

SIRF's research and operating funds come entirely from generous donations made by individuals and corporations who support our mission of sponsoring scientific research of immediate and practical use by the seafood industry. Visit our website for details about open funds and information about making donations.  




About SIRF


The Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF) was established in 1964 and was originally named the Fisheries Scholarship Fund. It is a tax exempt, philanthropic, educational organization.  


SIRF is supported entirely by voluntary contributions from individuals and companies in and related to the seafood industry.


Click here to learn more about how the fund supports research of interest to the seafood industry.   


We appreciate the opportunity to share information about SIRF, our research funds and projects and thank you for your support!

SIRF Board of Directors

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