Michael Szemerda, Cooke's saltwater operations chief for North America, will become the company's global chief sustainability officer. Photo: Cooke Inc.

Cooke saltwater chief is new sustainability supremo

Canadian salmon farmer Cooke’s North America saltwater operations chief Michael Szemerda has taken on a newly created role as the company’s global chief sustainability officer.

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Szemerda will oversee all environmental programmes and regulatory programmes, industry certifications, and sustainability initiatives across Cooke’s global wild and farmed subsidiaries.

“We are fortunate to have some of the best and brightest minds in wild fisheries and aquaculture working to innovate and implement practices using sound science and advanced technologies to ensure our seafood is sustainable,” said Szemerda. “I’m excited to unify these efforts and continue this important work with our colleagues around the globe.”

Pivotal time of growth

Chief executive Glenn Cooke said: “Michael has shown great leadership throughout his career with Cooke, and he has vast experience with all of Cooke’s saltwater operations around the globe.

“We’re thrilled that he has accepted this role at such a pivotal time of growth for our company. We know his experience with our operations and knowledge of the seafood industry will help us in our commitment to protecting and enhancing the marine environments we work in.”

Szemerda will start his new job when a replacement has been recruited to fill his current role.

454,000 tonnes a year

Cooke’s family of companies ship 1 billion pounds (454,000 tonnes) of seafood annually through harvesting 30% wild species (wild salmon, whitefish, and shellfish) and 70% farmed species (Atlantic salmon, steelhead trout, white Pacific shrimp, sea bass, and sea bream).

The company farms Atlantic salmon in Atlantic Canada, the US state of Maine, Chile and Scotland, where it is the country’s fourth-largest salmon producer after Mowi, the Scottish Salmon Company (Bakkafrost) and Scottish Sea Farms (SalMar and Lerøy). It also farms steelhead trout in Washington state in the Pacific Northwest of the US.