Newsroom | The Nature Conservancy

On 1st Anniversary, Congressional Seafood Becomes 100th Member of the Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition

Arlington, VA

The Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition (SGCC) is thrilled to announce that Congressional Seafood, a top wholesaler of seafood on the East Coast, has joined the Coalition, becoming its 100th member. The SGCC is a group of growers, wholesalers, restaurants and others in the food industry who are committed to promoting climate action in an effort to address the impacts climate change is already having on their industry.

“We’ve watched our growers that supply us face issues caused by climate change – storm damage, ocean acidification and sea level rise,” says Tim Sughrue, Executive Vice President of Congressional Seafood. “We want to make sure that we can continue to supply the highest quality seafood to our customers, and that means speaking out about climate change.”

SGCC adds its 100th member along with another important milestone – its first anniversary of operation. Since the day that seven growers from both the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts along with The Nature Conservancy announced the Coalition’s formation in New York at the Billion Oyster Party, the group has been busy growing and making itself heard, both in the shellfish industry and in policymakers’ offices.

The SGCC now boasts members from across the United States, from Alaska to Florida and nearly every shellfish growing region in between, including East, West and Gulf coasts. The SGCC has been an active presence at major industry conferences this past year, and both the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association and the Pacific Coast Growers Association have endorsed the SGCC. Shellfish growers from other countries, including Canada and Scotland, have expressed interest in the Coalition’s work.

The SGCC has been making its presence felt with policymakers as well. It issued a letter endorsing the Market Choice Act when it was introduced in 2018 by former Representative Carlos Curbelo of Florida and communicated with Congressional leadership urging action in light of the National Climate Assessment. Earlier this month, 15 SGCC members went to Capitol Hill for the Coalition’s first collective lobbying effort, visiting Members of Congress from eight states, holding a briefing for Senate staff.

We want to make sure that we can continue to supply the highest quality seafood to our customers, and that means speaking out about climate change.”

Executive Vice President of Congressional Seafood

“The long-term viability of the shellfish farming industry is important to The Nature Conservancy because shellfish farms represent a truly sustainable food source that has many ecological benefits. And, business owners in the industry understand firsthand the impacts of climate change on the ecosystems they depend upon to thrive. As a result, everywhere we’ve gone, from industry meetings in the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association annual conference, people have been enthusiastic about what we’re doing and want to help,” says Sally McGee, who coordinates the project through SGCC’s nonprofit partner, The Nature Conservancy. “These growers are really feeling the impacts from sea level rise, ocean acidification, and increased frequency and intensity of storms. And they aren’t sitting idly by while their businesses suffer.”

“We’re incredibly proud of all we’ve accomplished this year,” says Bill Mook, owner of Mook Sea Farm of Maine, one of the founding members of the SGCC. “The response we’ve had from growers all over the country, including places where normally the words ‘climate change’ are met with skepticism or disregard, is remarkable. Our first trip to Capitol Hill really galvanized us and showed us that our stories matter and can make a difference with lawmakers. We’re looking to new Coalition members like Congressional Seafood, and other companies in our supply chain to help us show the public how climate change impacts our farms and affects what goes on their plate.” 

About Congressional Seafood Co.

Congressional Seafood Co., located in Jessup, Maryland and conveniently situated along the I-95 corridor, is considered one of the mid-Atlantic region’s best suppliers of top-quality seafood. Learn more about Congressional Seafood at www.congressionalseafood.com.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.