The seafood industry-led National Seafood Council Task Force, with support from the Walton Family Foundation, has launched a scholarship program to open up more opportunities for small- and medium-sized seafood businesses, it said Thursday.

The Task Force is seeking nominations for seafood business leaders whose annual company revenue is less than $20 million (€17 million).

Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) helped create the National Seafood Council (NSC) Task Force in April 2021 to provide advice and input into the formation of a National Seafood Council. The council itself has not yet been created and remains in the idea/concept phase, Andrea Albersheim, SNP's director of communications, told IntraFish.

“One of the key objectives of the National Seafood Council Task Force is to be representative of the diverse US seafood supply chain,” said Linda Lai Cornish, president of SNP.

“For the National Seafood Council to have a unified voice for the industry, the Task Force must represent all aspects of the industry.”

The diversity areas of interest are size of business, key skills relevant to a National Seafood Campaign, gender, geography, and points along the supply chain, it said.

Nominations for seafood business leaders opened Thursday and close Aug. 13. Funding is available for six to eight leaders to be offered scholarships to join the NSC Task Force.

In May top seafood industry executives, including Trident Seafoods CEO Joe Bundrant, Bumble Bee Seafoods CEO Jan Tharp and American Seafoods CEO Mikel Durham, signed on to a letter sent to the US Congress requesting $25 million (€20.8 million) for the council.

Correction: a previous version of this story stated SNP created the National Seafood Council (NSC).