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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 Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF) newsletter! Here you can find quarterly updates on SIRF's activities, current research and funding information. Through your generous support, SIRF provides the seafood community with scientific studies that further business and improve the bottom line. Read in this newsletter how SIRF is linking industry and academia with articles on the Mark Leslie Living Tribute Fund, 2016 SIRF Donors, DNA Research and the SIRF Soirée

We could not fund exciting research without your support. Thank you for your continued contributions. To view past 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 Approves Mark Leslie Living Tribute Fund
The SIRF Board recently moved to approve the creation of the Mark Leslie Living Tribute Fund to honor the contributions of the longtime seafood professional.

With 25 years in the seafood industry, Mark Leslie has left his impact on several companies and organizations. 

In his most recent role as Vice President for Business Development for High Liner Foods, Mr. Leslie helped guide company growth for one of the industry's largest processing concerns. 

As a board member of the Better Seafood Board, Mr. Leslie worked to combat seafood fraud and protect the seafood business' reputation.  A leader outside the office, Mr. Leslie served as a board member for Catholic Charities North and River House. 

"Mark has bettered every effort in which he has involved himself," said SIRF Chairman Russ Mentzer. "SIRF is proud to call attention to someone who has left such a large imprint on the seafood community. SIRF hopes that this fund will remind friends and colleagues to remember Mr. Leslie and his family during his illness."

To donate to the Mark Leslie Living Tribute Fund click here.
2016 SIRF Donors 
In 2016, SIRF received wide-ranging support throughout the industry. SIRF recognizes its most devoted donors with honors designating their level of giving. This past year the following companies received distinction for their commitment to seafood research:

Masters of Giving
Atlantika Inc.

Bachelors of Giving
Bar Harbor Lobster Company
East Coast Seafood Inc.
Eastern Fisheries Inc.
Kitchens Seafood
SIRF Funds DNA Testing Project for Fast Identification of Fish Species
The Board of Directors of the Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF) have funded research for the development of a fast, cost-effective identification of edible fish and fish products to prevent species substitution and fraud. The project will be led by Dr. J. Aquiles Sanchez, Ph.D. of the Department of Biology at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. 
The research seeks to develop a rapid means of seafood species identification using Closed-Tube DNA Bar Coding. Compared to difficult and expensive FDA DNA testing, the Closed-DNA system represents a convenient alternative that can be used with both laboratory equipment and, importantly, handheld devices. The project could benefit seafood companies, distributors, restaurants and consumers by providing a tool for protecting product from mislabeling and species substitution.  
"The FDA has a strong interest in any new technologies and techniques that could potentially decrease cost and time of analysis, while increasing throughput and ease of use," said Jonathan Deeds, Ph.D. of the FDA Office of Regulatory Science. "Methods with the potential to be field deployable are of particular interest. For public health, it is vital that both domestic and imported seafood be safe, wholesome and properly labeled." 
The research would compile a reference database of DNA "barcodes" for species at high risk of mislabeling or substitution. Suppliers, distributors and retailers could use the method of authentication to maintain the quality of their brand and retain consumer trust.
Jamie Marshall, chairman of industry watchdog group The Better Seafood Board (BSB), views the SIRF DNA project as a potentially powerful tool in combating seafood fraud.
"Industries thrive or perish on their reputations," Marshall said. "The seafood business needs more effective resources in defending itself against the bad actors who threaten the opinions and goodwill of its consumers. I look forward to following the study and learning about the practical applications it may have for product quality and authentication."

SIRF Chairman Russ Mentzer views the newly approved study as squarely aligned with the organization's pragmatic approach to seafood research.
"The FDA's interest in this technology is beneficial to the seafood community," said Mentzer. "This rigorous protocol will help establish a tested standard useable throughout the seafood supply chain, a business-based solution made possible by our excellent donor-base and scientist partners." 
SIRF Soirée Set for January
SIRF will host its fourth Soirée the evening of January 16, 2017. Occurring during the National Fisheries Institute's Global Seafood Market Conference, the Soirée is a marquee seafood benefit providing industry leaders with the opportunity to socialize and dine for seafood research. 

The programs of past SIRF Soirées have featured prominent individuals throughout the seafood community such as former NBA player Detlef Schrempf, chef and author Barton Seaver and aquaculture expert Dr. Daniel Benetti.  

In 2017, Dr. Ray Hilborn, Marine Biologist and Fisheries Scientist with the University of Washington, will address Soirée attendees on matters of resource management and sustainability. 

In addition, the evening's program will feature videos from SIRF sponsored researchers discussing the studies and advancements enabled through SIRF funding. 

For more information on the SIRF Soirée, please contact Geraldine Espejo,

Issue Date


Quarter 4 2016

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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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