Ocean Job Board

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Executive Director



Administration, Marketing & Communications, Customer Service, Sales & Business Development, Operations · Full-time
Santa Cruz, CA, USA · Remote
Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2022

About FishWise

For nearly 20 years, FishWise has partnered with seafood businesses, NGOs, and government agencies to drive market incentives for sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices across the globe. FishWise believes the private sector plays a critical role in stewarding the ocean and ensuring decent work for tens of millions of seafood workers. FishWise has extensive experience developing and implementing sustainable seafood programs with retailers, suppliers, and hospitality companies.

Our experience working closely with the seafood industry and other private sector partners sets FishWise apart, particularly in our ability to understand and integrate business, environmental, and social responsibility interests. FishWise is renowned for developing pragmatic solutions and guidance for addressing the most pressing environmental and human- and labor-rights challenges in the seafood industry. Our extensive networks across multiple disciplines ensure that our guidance is aligned with best practices.


To sustain ocean ecosystems and the people who depend on them by transforming global seafood supply chains.


FishWise envisions a future where the seafood industry, in collaboration with governments and civil society, takes full accountability for the people and ocean resources it depends on, so that:

  • PEOPLE—the millions of people who harvest, produce, process, and sell seafood—benefit and thrive in an inclusive and equitable industry with decent working conditions for all.
  • OCEANS—the marine and freshwater ecosystems that are integral to supporting life on this planet—remain productive and biodiverse while providing a critical source of healthy protein to meet the needs of a growing global population.
  • SEAFOOD ENTERPRISES—the individuals, families, communities, and businesses around the globe that rely on seafood production—are sustained and can prosper for generations to come.


FishWise cares about the well-being of its staff and the health of the world’s oceans. We make an impact by adopting these attributes:

  • FORWARD-THINKING: We stay on the cutting edge of emerging social responsibility and seafood knowledge, creating actionable solutions for and with our business and NGO partners.
  • INFLUENTIAL: We make an impact by advocating change, advancing the work of others, and raising awareness of urgent topics through dialogue with organizations of diverse voices and critical opinions.
  • PASSIONATE: We are committed to the well-being of workers and the health of the world’s oceans, and our passion inspires action and global change on their behalf.
  • SOLUTION-ORIENTED: We value working with different stakeholders across the supply chain to set ambitious yet achievable goals.

FishWise’s Approach

Because the health of people and ecosystems is inextricably linked, FishWise applies a holistic approach to sustainability, including both environmental and social responsibility, in pursuing our mission. Acknowledging that no one entity can create sufficient change alone, we collaborate with industry, government, and NGO allies to ensure our approach leads to transformational change.

Since 2003, FishWise has worked closely with the seafood industry to advance supply chain sustainability, human rights and ocean health. We recognize that the seafood industry has serious impacts on the health of oceans and the welfare of its workers, but we also believe in its potential to contribute significantly to the health of our planet and its inhabitants.

We advance three core, interrelated approaches:

  • Direct Supply Chain Engagement: FishWise partners with individual companies across the seafood supply chain to address environmental, human and labor rights, illegal fishing, and traceability risks in their business and across their supply base. Currently, this includes partnerships with Albertsons Companies (2,200 stores), Target Corporation (1,800 stores), and Hy-Vee (250 stores), as well as independent grocery stores, hoteliers, and many mid-supply chain and producer companies.
  • Collective Industry Engagement: FishWise works with coalitions of industry, NGOs, and other allies to drive large-scale change across groups of supply chain actors. This includes directly convening groups or supporting and collaborating with preexisting groups to achieve collective impact based on shared values.
  • Governance Reform: FishWise works in strategic partnerships to strengthen government policies and regulations that all supply chain actors must follow.

The Opportunity

The world’s population is predicted to grow to 10 billion people by 2050. With this growth comes a vital need to ensure access to sustainable and nutritious food. Currently, over 3 billion people around the globe rely on seafood as a major source of protein, and over 600 million people worldwide are employed by or depend on the fisheries and aquaculture sectors for their livelihoods. However, systemic issues tied to the history of the conservation movement combined with the complexity of seafood supply chains continue to perpetuate environmental, economic, and social inequities.

FishWise is at the heart of addressing these complex environmental and social issues. FishWise seeks to advance sustainable fishing practices alongside labor and human rights to ensure a sufficient supply of ocean-dependent food well into the future. The Executive Director  position offers a unique opportunity to steward the organization’s efforts to ensure vibrant oceans and healthy people. By working to accelerate improvements in environmental sustainability and social responsibility across the seafood supply chain, the Executive Director will play a leading role in helping ensure the ocean continues to sustain us all.

Position Summary and Responsibilities

The Executive Director is a highly visible role that will serve as the face of the organization. This individual will oversee all of FishWise’s operations and act as the strategic leader of the organization’s mission and desired impact. This includes managing FishWise’s strategic direction, existing and new programs, budgets and spending, staff, community relations, Board of Directors development and relations, and financial resource development.

The successful candidate will be expected to create and further partnerships and collaboration with an array of corporate, nonprofit, government, and academic institutions to advance the FishWise mission and vision. The Executive Director will manage five direct reports within the Leadership Team, with indirect oversight of their respective staffs, and collaborate with a nine-member Board of Directors to further the organizational vision and strategy, expand organizational programmatic offerings, and develop priorities for continued organizational growth and success.

As the primary external face of FishWise, the Executive Director must possess a commitment to environmental and social sustainability, enthusiasm to promote FishWise’s work, and ambition to develop and leverage the local, regional, national, and global relationships of the organization.

Specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

Strategic Vision and Leadership

  • Lead FishWise by providing an inspiring vision for its future and insights into its strategic evolution, collaborating to turn this vision into practice, and respecting the organization’s history and organizational culture
  • Champion FishWise’s reputation and credibility as an effective collaborator with key stakeholders (including civil society organizations, seafood alliances, industry groups, government agencies, board members, and business partners) with expertise in business, human and labor rights, supply chain traceability, and countering illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing
  • Steward the mission and brand through strategic planning, goal setting and execution in conjunction with the Board of Directors and the Leadership Team
  • Commit to meaningful progress toward diversity, equity, and inclusion goals internally and in FiseWise’s programming and service to the seafood industry
  • Provide skilled and thorough oversight of the organization’s financial resources and operations
  • Cultivate the organization’s performance-oriented, accountable organizational culture with a focus on transparency, collaboration, inclusivity, trust, and diversity

Financial Resource Development

  • Create and implement a plan for financial resource development, including increasing funding from corporate partnerships, grants, government contracts, individual giving, and other potential revenue sources, in cooperation with the development/advancement staff and the Board of Directors
  • Collaborate with the Leadership Team to identify public and private grant opportunities and fees for services, and assist in proposal development and submission
  • Expand and engage the Board of Directors to fulfill its governance function and energize the Board to assist in the fundraising and advocacy efforts

Programmatic and Fiscal Leadership

  • Help create programmatic offerings to advance private sector leadership in seafood sustainability and human and labor rights
  • Serve as the primary spokesperson and advocate for the organization with external audiences
  • Develop a financial plan and an annual budget to be approved by the Board of Directors and overseen and met by the Executive Director
  • Oversee the management of FishWise’s physical resources, including equipment and facilities
  • Ensure all FishWise programs maintain scientific integrity, with support from program staff
  • Account to all funders on timely and high-quality execution of program deliverables

Community Engagement and Partnership Development

  • Provide leadership in marketing, public relations, and promotional activities to enhance brand awareness and recognition of FishWise
  • Extend FishWise’s established reputation as a source of credible guidance in sustainable seafood
  • Develop strategic partnerships with corporations, NGOs, industry forums, government agencies, academic institutions, and the public sector to advance a shared mission
  • Advocate on behalf of sustainable seafood and FishWise’s mission with government leaders
  • Partner with organizations committed to advancing human and labor rights in the seafood and related industries

Professional Experience/Qualifications

FishWise seeks a passionate leader who values and embodies the organization’s commitment to sustain ocean ecosystems and the people who depend on them. The ideal leader possesses a strategic mindset; a charismatic, engaging, and empathetic personality; and the ability to adapt effectively in uncertain times. The successful candidate will have proven leadership experience in related supply chain, nonprofit, and/or academic leadership roles.

Specific experience, qualifications, and characteristics sought include:

  • At least 10 years of experience working in leadership roles of increasing seniority
  • A strategic and creative thinker with the agility to balance competing priorities, complex situations, and tight deadlines
  • Demonstrated experience in revenue generation within the corporate, philanthropic, or academic spheres
  • Strong staff, operational, and budgetary management experience to effectively oversee FishWise resources
  • Strong verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Energy, drive, and passion for continuous improvement, at personal and organizational levels
  • Experience in community activities and relations, including relationship- and partnership-building, negotiation and listening skills
  • Track record of building internal lines of communication and unifying staff in the strategic direction of an organization
  • Strong professional ethics, integrity, and accountability in all actions
  • A dynamic, proactive, inclusive, open, and decisive leadership style
  • Proven ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with the Board of Directors preferred
  • Experience working within or partnering with organizations focused on seafood supply chains, oceans, fisheries, environment, human and labor rights, or community governance preferred


A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution is required. A master’s or advanced degree in nonprofit management, public policy, business administration, ocean conservation, or another relevant area is preferred.

FishWise is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.