Hawaii resident Luka Mossman is among 12 individuals nationwide that President Obama’s administration plans to honor Friday as “White House Champions of Change for Sustainable Seafood.”

He serves as the fisheries outreach coordinator of the Conservation International Hawaii program, which merges traditional knowledge with Western science, conservation tools and strategies for changing how people and business value local, sustainable seafood, according to a White House news release Tuesday.

The U.S. fishing industry is critical to the economic health and well-being of communities across the country, supporting 1.8 million jobs and contributing over $200 billion to the economy in 2014, the release says.

White House Washington DC closeup. 9 june 2016.
The Obama administration is honoring 12 “White House Champions of Change for Sustainable Seafood,” including one person from Hawaii. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

But marine ecosystems are under threat from multiple stressors, including climate change and ocean acidification, the release says.

“The need for innovation in sustainable fisheries has never been greater. Local leaders serve as the backbone of our communities, working to build resilient coasts and striving to protect the at-risk towns whose future depend on the recovery of our fisheries,” the release says.

Mossman, a native Hawaiian born in Hilo, learned how to understand managing a small, delicate fishery through his work with the loko i’a o hale o lono (traditional Hawaiian fishpond aquaculture), according to the release.

He was the only person from Hawaii to be named. Others included Linda Behnken of Sitka, Alaska, who is executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association; Jason DeLaCruz of Largo, Florida, who is president of Wild Seafood Co.; Monica Jain of Carmel, California, who is founding director of Fish 2.0, and others.

The event Friday will feature Christy Goldfuss, managing director of the Council on Environmental Quality, Kathryn Sullivan, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Bruce H. Andrews, deputy secretary of the Department of Commerce.

The event will be live-streamed on the White House website at at 1 p.m., Friday.

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