Six seafood innovators capped the Fish 2.0 Competition Finals & Sustainable Seafood Innovation Forum in Palo Alto. We speak to one of the winners, Norah Eddy, Co-Founder Salty Girl Seafood.
In 140 characters or less – what is Salty Girl Seafood?
Salty Girl Seafood is a sustainable seafood company focused on connecting consumers more closely with the ocean and its resources.
What was the driver for creating Salty Girl Seafood – what gap did it fill?
My business partner, Laura Johnson and I, were working on our master’s degrees in natural marine resource management (fisheries in particular). We have worked in fisheries across the country and around the world, and we continually hear from fisheries managers that the missing link on the path towards sustainability is often a buyer who can provide the financial incentive to transition to more responsible fishing practices. This was really where we saw a huge opportunity to leverage our experience and understanding as scientists to positively impact fisheries from a market-based perspective.
Even as marine scientists, we found it frustrating and overwhelming to know if we were making responsible choices when it came to buying seafood—there was just so much conflicting information out there. We had consumers coming to us for guidance in purchasing fish. We found that they really trusted us, trusted the brand. Before creating our current line of easy-to-cook seafood, the question that followed, “what should I buy” was inevitably, “ok, so, how do I cook it?” So, it was a natural next step to provide consumers with products that made their lives easier and that they felt good about buying.
Who does it primarily serve?
Our line of Salty Girl seafood serves a wide range of consumers. While our brand has strong appeal with the millennial generation, we have found that other demographics enjoy the convenience of our products as well. We have moms telling us how they love to keep our seafood on hand for healthy, easy dinners; baby boomers using our fish when hosting dinner parties. Our products are designed to make purchasing sustainable seafood easy, and healthy!
What difference does Salty Girl Seafood want to make?
Salty Girl was started with the mission of having a positive impact by driving sustainability in the fisheries where we work. We work collaboratively with fishermen and their communities, non-governmental organizations, and local fisheries managers, to bring better value to fishermen harvesting sustainably, while incentivizing others to do so by paying a premium for sustainably harvested catch.
What are the barriers to making that difference?
Anytime you are working with a natural resource, there are inevitably many variables not only with the resource itself, but also a wide range of stakeholders and market conditions. Achieving access to a reliable supply of traceable, sustainable seafood and identifying fisheries where we can have a positive impact is a core component of our model. Due to the opaque nature of the seafood industry and traditionally long supply chains, we have to work hard to ensure traceability as we grow.
Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?
We are fortunate to have a great network of mentors, collaborator businesses, scientists, fishermen, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Its this network that helps us overcome barriers associated with sourcing and traceability.
You recently won a Fish 2.0 award. Without being modest, why do you think you won?
Haha, I’ll try not to be modest! We worked really hard to build a great pitch. Competing with really great companies on an international stage, sharing our mission with the world, we knew we needed to nail it. I think really though, our passion—the why we do what we do—really came through. A lot of people will tell you, with startups, its more about the team than the idea. Our team is incredibly passionate and dedicated to our mission. That resonates with people.
Are the seafood industry’s actions today commensurate with the significant fish stock challenges we face?
There’s no question that we (globally) have a long history of irresponsible and destructive fishing practices that continue today. The status quo is damaging not only from an ecological standpoint, but we are also plagued with significant social justice issues like rampant slave labor.
That said, we have made strides in improving the health and vitality of many of our world’s fisheries, particularly in developed nations. There is a greater awareness from industry-both supply and demand sides-to change the way things are done. We are proud to be a company working to help create that change.
How can people – individuals and organisations – find out more about Salty Girl Seafood?
We love to hear from people! Visit us online at saltygirlseafood.com, drop us a line via our website, or find us on social media (facebook, twitter, instagram).