Seafood industry veteran Wally Stevens is stepping down from his post of chief executive officer with the Global Seafood Alliance. He will be retiring at the end of December and Brian Perkins, who joined GSA as chief operating officer on March 1, will assume the role of CEO, as from 1 January.

Formerly known as the Global Aquaculture Alliance, the Global Seafood Alliance is an international, not-for-profit trade association dedicated to advancing responsible seafood practices through education, advocacy and third-party assurances.

While stepping away from his day-to-day responsibilities, Wally Stevens will remain a member of the GSA board of directors and GSA executive committee.

He said:  “It has been an honour to work with such professional, passionate, devoted, smart women and men here at the Global Seafood Alliance and throughout the industry. We have done good for society globally through our education and advocacy work as well as by providing third-party assurances through certification for farm-raised seafood and more recently for wild-caught seafood. The challenges that lie ahead will be best addressed by our associates at GSA, working collectively and collaboratively with others to find solutions,” said.”

Stevens added: “Over my lengthy career in the seafood industry, the lasting reward is being associated with women and men who care deeply about the mission of an organization and its role in the industry, and that these people achieve positive results that make for wonderful career opportunities. As I think of Brian Perkins becoming the CEO of GSA, I see such a person. His vast experience in many aspects relating to our industry uniquely positions him to lead GSA.”

Brian Perkins came to GSA after a six-year stint as regional director-Americas for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

He said: “It’s been an honour to work directly with Wally for the past nine months. His leadership and passion for the seafood industry are evident in the way GSA carries itself as an organisation. We have a great team here at GSA, and I look forward to working with them to take the organisation to even greater heights.”

Stevens joined GAA as executive director in 2007. He played a critical role in the organization’s growth, particularly the development of the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) third-party certification program. The number of BAP-certified processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills has ballooned from just over 100 in 2007 to well over 3,000 today. Stevens was also instrumental in the establishment of the multi-stakeholder Standards Oversight Committee, which oversees the BAP standards development process.

More recently, Stevens played an instrumental role in GSA’s budding involvement in wild-capture fisheries through the introduction of BSP, the world’s only third-party certification program capable of providing credible third-party assurances linking responsible wild-capture fisheries to the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard (RFVS)-certified vessels and Seafood Processing Plant Standard (SPS)-certified facilities.

George Chamberlain, GSA’s President and founder, said: “Wally was exactly the force that GAA needed in 2007 to energize it, centralize it and embolden it to stretch for goals that we thought were beyond our reach. What a blessing it has been to work with him.”

Brian Perkins

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