John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute (NFI), has been named a recipient of this year’s Wallace R. Stevens Lifetime Achievement Award. Connelly, recognized for his leadership, integrity and commitment to responsibility, will be honored at the Global Seafood Alliance’s GOAL 2022 conference in Seattle on October 4th.

“For about a third of my life I have enjoyed the privilege of working with and for NFI members,” says Connelly, who has been at the helm of the U.S.-based nonprofit seafood trade association since 2003. “It is humbling that GSA would recognize, through me, the efforts of the NFI leaders who sought to improve how fish are caught or farmed, to ensure their products are processed with integrity and safely, and to market their seafood with an increased focus on how American and other families want to enjoy their dishes,” said Connelly.

“Twenty years ago when we searched for the next president of NFI, one candidate, John Connelly, stood out, and he was easily our recommendation to the full NFI board as Richard Gutting’s successor,” says GSA Chair Wally Stevens, who served as NFI’s chair in 2001. “Little did we know at that time of the impact John would have on NFI and the entire U.S. seafood industry. However, maybe John’s greatest impact was on each of us as an example of what leadership is all about. While John may leave the NFI stage, he will hopefully continue to influence our industry through teaching and public speaking.”

Connelly plans to retire by his 20-year anniversary at NFI in February 2023.

Prior to NFI, Connelly was Vice President of the American Chemistry Council. He was a U.S. Naval officer and retired as a Navy captain, specializing in political-military affairs. In addition to his role at NFI, Connelly has served on the boards of the International Coalition of Fisheries Associations, Marine Stewardship Council, Allfish (a public-private partnership with the World Bank), International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, U.S. Department of Commerce Marine Fisheries Advisory Council, Seafood Industry Research Fund, University of Florida Institute for Sustainable Food Systems Global Leaders Aquatic Advisory Board, The Alliance For a Stronger FDA, and FISH (Fairness, Integrity, Safety and Health) Standard for Crew.

Said GSA CEO Brian Perkins: “With GOAL being held in the United States for the first time in 13 years this year, it was only fitting to recognize one of the most influential individuals in the U.S. seafood industry over the past 20 years. Through his leadership and integrity, John has made quite a mark on our sector, and we look forward to honoring him in Seattle….”

Headquartered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the Global Seafood Alliance is an international, nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing responsible seafood practices through education, advocacy and third-party assurances.

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