Seafood industry veteran Wally Stevens, who has held various leadership roles with the Global Seafood Alliance (GSA) for the past 14 years and is currently chief executive officer, is retiring at the end of December.
He will remain a member of the GSA board of directors and GSA executive committee, while stepping aside from the day-to-day running of the organisation as Brian Perkins, who joined as COO in March this year, assumes the CEO’s role.
Wally Stevens’ retirement comes at the end of a transitional year for GSA, which underwent a rebranding initiative and name change from the Global Aquaculture Alliance with the introduction of the Best Seafood Practices (BSP) certification program. It also comes as GSA celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2022.
‘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,’ he said.
‘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 organisation 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.’
Wally Stevens joined GAA as executive director in 2007. He played a critical role in the organisation’s growth, particularly the development of the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) third-party certification programme. The number of BAP-certified processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills has ballooned from just over a hundred in 2007 to well over 3000 today. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the multi-stakeholder Standards Oversight Committee (SOC), which oversees the BAP standards development process.
‘Wally was exactly the force that GAA needed in 2007 to energise it, centralise it and embolden it to stretch for goals that we thought were beyond our reach,’ said GSA’s president and founder George Chamberlain. ‘What a blessing it has been to work with him.’
More recently, Wally 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.
‘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,’ said Brian Perkins, who came to GSA after a six-year stint as regional director-Americas for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
‘We have a great team here at GSA, and I look forward to working with them to take the organisation to even greater heights.’