Lee van der Voo

Fellowship Title:

Fellowship Year:

How America's Fishing Councils Balance Investors with Players and Prices

How America’s Fishing Councils Balance Investors with Players and Prices

The fishermen in the room are standing. More prone to long hours on their feet than sitting, they stick out at these meetings, rising after a few hours, hovering behind chairs. This is the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. One of eight regional councils that manage fisheries for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it’s a mix of bureaucrats, scientists and seafood industry players. They set the rules for fishing the most death-defying and lucrative waters in the United States. The council does its job in sprawling, epic meetings that can last a week. The marathon displays of democracy are held in roving locations, mostly in hotels from Seattle to Anchorage but in farther flung places too, like Nome, Alaska, places from which fishermen in the North Pacific hail. These councils are, in a way, the fishermen’s Congress. Second perhaps to the fish, they are most vital to fishermen’s livelihood and – though most people don’t know it – to the public’s access to affordable seafood. These chief regulators of ocean spoils set the rules

Read More »
When you eat a bowl of clam chowder in the U.S., you’re probably padding profits for British investors.

Corporate Fishing

What’s it take to buy a share of the ocean in America? For Lion Capital, the British private equity firm, the price is somewhere south of $980 million. That’s the sum the London-based firm paid three years ago when it bought Bumble Bee Foods, the giant maker of shelf-stable seafood products like canned tuna, a purchase that also included the Bumble Bee subsidiary Snow’s Inc. The popular brand Snow’s is best known for its creamy white clam chowder. It also has another perk: It owns the exclusive rights to fish for 23 percent of the clams that dominate America’s canned clam industry. Think of it like a hot piece of real estate right off the coast of New Jersey. Now, every time you sit down to a bowl of clam chowder in America, you’re likely padding profits for British investors. Thanks to the transaction, Lion Capital directly owns about a quarter of the national supply of canned clams, clam soup, chowder and clam sauce. It’s a scenario that has advocacy groups worried. “We shouldn’t be

Read More »