I have been obsessed with the ocean since not long after I crawled out of the cradle.

My parents first met on July 20th 1969 (on a sandy strip of barrier island known as Dune Road) and I was born on that very same date a few years later – gifted with ‘SEA’ as the first three letters of my name. 

From my earliest days I was mesmerised and captivated by the exploration of tidal pools and the relentless pursuit of sand crabs – I learned to walk, talk and fish all in the same early age range. My parents describe their struggles to pry my fishing rod out of my hand and I remember their surprise when I returned from sleep-away basketball camp at the age of 11, holding a trophy for best fisherman.*

By the ripe old age of 13, I was regularly skipping school to go deep sea fishing in the canyons, more than 100 miles off the coast of New York – I had begun to form a deep reverence and spiritual affinity for the vast blue parts of our majestic, yet fragile, blue planet. 

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Dock to Dish

Ever since those days my two tightly interwoven passions have been the ocean and wild seafood and I have been on a lifelong mission to find ways to conserve and preserve them both. My friends say it's my dharma and clearly what I was put on the planet to do. To me, it’s my driving force, my mission – written into my DNA.  

Along my journey I have been blessed to work with many of the leading hearts and minds in the fields of sustainable seafood and ocean conservation, two of the most important – and inextricably linked – fundamental components required to maintain human life on Earth.

In 2012, after years of traveling and researching abroad, I returned to my homeport on Long Island and founded Dock to Dish – a network of direct market programs, structurally reflective of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) concept.

Dock to Dish is now considered to be a visionary sourcing model that has arrived decades ahead of its time.

The new initiatives were designed to reconnect our small-scale fishery directly to our local community in sustainable seafood sourcing cooperatives. The primary purpose was to restore transparency into the seafood marketplace and bring back our long-lost Know Your Fisherman culture. With the help of chefs Dan Barber, Michael Cimarusti and others, the original membership-based, supply-driven Dock to Dish programs have since flourished to levels beyond imagination. 

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Dock to Dish

Over the past five years we have continued to work on the coastal frontiers of the local food movement, creating new alternatives to old industrialised seafood supply chains, while strengthening small-scale fishing communities in North and Central America.

Now operating in ports spanning from New York and California to Canada and Costa Rica, our place-based sourcing programs have repeatedly blazed new trails toward the restoration of transparency and sustainability in the wild seafood marketplace.  

We conduct ourselves with an increasing sense of urgency, as we have witnessed first-hand, the very real effects of climate change on our warming oceans and local inshore ecosystems.  

Dock to Dish programs were intentionally designed to generate the least carbon emissions of any other wild seafood sourcing system in our class, featuring the lowest amount of food miles for transport – and the smallest carbon footprint – of any alternative distribution model serving a major city. Our strictly supply-driven systems reverse the historical demand-based value chain of the industrialised seafood market, relieve pricing pressure from the most popular species of fish and restore balance by reverting back to a genuine 'catch of the day' format in the truest sense. 

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Dock to Dish

Dock to Dish is now considered to be a visionary sourcing model that has arrived decades ahead of its time. Twenty years from now, it will be standard practice for everyone to have a membership with their nearest local fishery in order to access the freshest premium wild seafood.  

In 2016, Vanity Fair magazine ranked Dock to Dish one of the 25 most daring and intrepid organizations in America for driving the local food movement forward and "redefining the economy of the seas," and Grist named Dock to Dish among the top 50 innovators leading the country toward a more sustainable future. 

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Dock to Dish

Please join us on our mission to protect our ocean and our wild seafood resources – help us ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to benefit from them.

The ocean is everyone's business, so let's get to work. 

* Fisherman: In the US context, this an inclusive and gender-neutral term for us, and the one used most commonly among women who fish in our network. It’s meant to refer to those who might also use the terms fish harvesters, fisherwomen, fishermisses, fishers, and intertidal gatherers, as well as those practicing restorative aquaculture on a sustainable scale.

- This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. 

This post is part of a series produced by Virgin Unite in partnership with Ocean Unite, an initiative to unite and activate powerful voices for ocean-conservation action.