Casting A Wide Net:
Ocean Issues and Why You Should Care
Mike Conroy, President, West Coast Fisheries Consultants
Mike is an ex-fisherman whose business focuses on the legal aspects of fisheries and fisheries management. He currently serves on the Board of the California Trap and Lobster Fishermen’s Association and is the Chair of the Port of San Diego Redevelopment Commercial Fishing Steering Committee. He works on the State level (DFW), Federal level (NMFS) and Internationally (IATTC and (WCPFC) to ensure regulations and international management measures reach the proper balance between harvest and conservation. He received he JD/MBA from Santa Clara University and works with many of the fisheries operating off the California coast with primary focus on Coastal Pelagic Species, Highly Migratory Species, Spiny Lobster and Market Squid.
Andrew Gruel, CEO and Founder, Slapfish Restaurant Group
Andrew, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, is currently the CEO and Founder of Slapfish Restaurant Group, the award-winning food truck turned international brick and mortar, based out of Huntington Beach, CA and Co-Owner of Butterleaf Restaurant and Two Birds Chicken (two concepts in Irvine, CA).
Andrew has appeared on multiple television series including his most recent role as a judge on Food Network’s Chopped Junior. He was recently the Host of FYI Series “Say It To My Face” as well as a judge on Food Network’s “Food Truck Face Off.” He has made appearances on the TODAY show, PBS, Cooking Channel, and has been featured in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, Men’s Health, Food & Wine Magazine, Entrepreneur and Nation’s Restaurant News. In 2016 he was named Top 25 Business Executives for Fast Casual Magazine. In 2013 he was named top 40 under 40 entrepreneurs in Orange County. He is currently the Co-Host of The SoCal Restaurant Show on AM 830.
In 2009, After 10 years working in fine dining and upscale hotels, Gruel’s love of the ocean drove him to direct a non-profit project at The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA called “Seafood for the Future”. In this role, he worked with hundreds of chefs, fisherman and like-minded organizations establishing a national culinary awareness for the sustainable seafood movement. This was the foundation of Slapfish.
Dr. Thomas A. Jefferson, Visiting Scientist, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries
Tom (Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science) has been studying marine mammals since 1983, when he was an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His Master’s degree is from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and his Ph.D. is from Texas A&M University. Tom is currently a Visiting Scientist as the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, where his main interests are the development of marine mammal identification aids, and investigating the systematics and population ecology of the more poorly-known species of dolphins and porpoises. Most of his work has been related to conservation and management of marine mammals threatened by human activities. Since 1995, he has been working extensively in Southeast Asia, and has traveled widely in the region.
His current primary research focuses on the conservation biology of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin and finless porpoise populations in Hong Kong and surrounding waters, as well as the population biology of bottlenose dolphins in California. He is also working on other projects looking at the systematics and ecology of these species throughout their ranges. In addition, Tom is involved in many side projects, including those on the taxonomy and population ecology of tropical dolphins (Delphinus and Stenella). In 2008, he published a comprehensive marine mammal identification guide (Marine Mammals of the World, Academic Press). He has published over 100 scientific papers and books, and has attended many meetings and workshops as an invited expert. He has also spent many months at sea on fishing boats and research vessels in various parts of the world.
Sarah Rathbone, Founder, Dock to Dish
Sarah grew up crabbing and clamming with her dad in the marsh flats of Cape Cod. Her love of seafood and all things marine led her to pursue a masters degree specializing in Marine Fisheries Management from UCSB. After graduating, she decided to return to her roots and jumped on board a commercial spiny lobster boat as full-time crew. The huge gap between the harvesters and the seafood consumers was obvious and pervasive in this and other fisheries in the Southern California area. Sarah decided to bridge this gap and connect her local fishermen directly to the community around her -- she launched Community Seafood in 2012 and Dock to Dish in 2015. Both entities address this disconnectedness by bringing local, sustainably harvested seafood directly from the boat to the table!
The Negri Foundation
Jeffrey P. Neu