A new non-profit initiative, SAGE, was launched Tuesday with the aim of building a more inclusive seafood industry.

Working closely with the sector and NGOs in the sustainable seafood movement, SAGE has been set up by former director of seafood at Fair Trade USA Julie Kuchepatov to address systemic barriers to gender equality across the industry. It is committed to achieving gender equality by 2030 in at least 75 percent of the seafood industry.

"SAGE leads with the question: What if we can solve some of the greatest challenges facing our ocean, like climate change, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, social injustice, and environmental degradation, which disproportionately affect women, by supporting gender equality efforts in the industry and on the ground?” said Kuchepatov.

“SAGE is such a timely initiative because the industry is being forced to re-imagine itself due to the challenges around COVID-19, such as new distribution models and disruptions in global seafood production," said Kuchepatov.

The initiative has support from various sustainability leaders, including Thai Union Global Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Darian McBain and President and CEO of Bristol Seafood Peter Handy.

“I applaud SAGE for bringing a dedicated focus to this work within the industry. I support these efforts to amplify the voices of women working in the sector, who are often left out of the design and implementation of sustainability efforts regardless of where they are found in the supply chain,” said McBain.

SAGE is sponsored by Coastal Quest, a Californian non-profit with a mission to build resilient coastal communities.