Winner: North Atlantic Salmon Fund
Former bank director Orri Vigfússon of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (photographed, right) has almost single-handedly decreased salmon fishing in the Atlantic by 75 percent: He pays fishermen not to fish. Since Vigfússon created the fund in 1989, it has raised and given out roughly $40 million to fishermen who stop catching Atlantic salmon, which are dramatically overfished. Additionally, the NASF helps these fishermen find new jobs. “Billions of dollars were being spent studying the problem, but we made commercial deals that rescued salmon for a fraction of the cost,” says Vigfússon (nasfonline.org).
Courtesy of Cleanfish
Tim O’Shea and Dale Sims of CleanFish have figured out an ingenious way to aid tiny, eco-minded fisheries by helping them sell their seafood to prestigious restaurants and retailers. CleanFish, founded in 2004, looks for excellent small aquafarms and wild fisheries, such as Loch Duart in Scourie, Scotland, which lets its sites sit fallow one out of every three years, allowing them to regenerate through tides and currents before being farmed again. CleanFish brought its salmon to the attention of chef Thomas Keller of Napa Valley’s French Laundry, who loved it. Today, Loch Duart salmon is the only kind served at the French Laundry. CleanFish, which currently works with around two dozen aquafarms and wild fisheries, has become a valued resource for all kinds of environmental groups. “Folks from the David & Lucile Packard Foundation recently called us and said they know shrimpers in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez who want to become more sustainable but are afraid they won’t find customers who’ll care,” says O’Shea. Thanks to CleanFish, those shrimpers now sell their Fisherman’s Daughter brand of sustainable shrimp to restaurants like Akasha in Culver City, California (cleanfish.com).