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Celebrating Women in Seafood

March 17, 2021

March is Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating women who play a vital role in bringing U.S. seafood to your plate.

Woman holding fish at seafood counter. Credit: iStock.

Women in the seafood industry serve in many different roles, from chefs and business developers to aquaculturists and microbiologists. In honor of Women's History Month, we're highlighting women who work with NOAA to ensure safe, sustainable seafood is available for all Americans. Learn more about them and check out their favorite seafood recipes and cooking tips. 

Stephanie Haynes, Microbiologist

NOAA Seafood Inspection Lab | Pascagoula, Mississippi

NSIL emplyee using the TEMPO instrument.jpg
Credit: NOAA.

What is your role in the seafood and/or fishing industry?

As a microbiologist at NOAA, I test animal by-products for export, including fish meal, krill meal, bone meal, fish solubles, and fish oils. We run analysis for Salmonella, Enterobacteriaceae, yeast, and mold. I also assist in reviewing and drafting the export certificates for these products, ensuring that the proper tests and inspections have been completed. 

What is your connection to NOAA?

This testing is in support of NOAA's Seafood Inspection Program. All processing plants that export these products need to be inspected by the program in order to acquire export certificates to ship these products.

Do you have a favorite seafood recipe or dish?

My favorite seafood is anything fresh! I am extremely lucky to live on the coast in Mississippi where there is usually an abundance of shrimp, crab, and fish. Most of which I can buy straight off the boat!

Learn more about Stephanie’s work at the Seafood Inspection Lab 

Crystal Johnson, Business Development

Hatch.Blue | Hawaii, Hawaii

Crystal Johnson of Hatch Blue.
Credit: Hatch Blue.

What is your role in the seafood and/or fishing industry?

My true passion has always been sustainable fisheries and aquaculture—applying everything I’ve learned into developing sustainable feeds, farms, and products. I have a deep understanding and appreciation for marine management, the environment, and all things seafood.

My role now is to help invest in sustainable aquaculture startups here in Hawaii and worldwide with Hatch.blue. Hatch.blue is the world's first aquaculture accelerator and venture capital fund. I believe that through innovation, the aquaculture industry can achieve the sustainability and growth required to meet the seafood demands of the world's growing population.

What is your connection to NOAA?

NOAA Fisheries, through the Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program, has been a champion of my efforts. My goal is to create a 100 percent sustainable, locally produced aquaculture feed in order to grow Hawaii's aquaculture industry while supporting local fisheries.

Do you have a favorite seafood recipe or dish?

Hawaiian Kampachi! This is my all time favorite fish and honestly the best farm-raised fish on the market. Sashimi, poke, or ceviche are my favorite ways to eat Kampachi.

StoryMap: Seafood Stories of the Pacific

Vanda Lewis, Writer

North Carolina Sea Grant | Raleigh, North Carolina

Vanda Lewis sits at a picnic table by a shoreline.
Credit: North Carolina Sea Grant.

What is your role in the seafood and/or fishing industry?

I was an administrative support specialist for North Carolina Sea Grant. Today I write, photograph, and kitchen-test seafood recipes for North Carolina Sea Grant’s Mariner’s Menu. This blog celebrates North Carolina’s seafood and is a spin-off of the seafood guide of the same name.

What is your connection to NOAA?

North Carolina Sea Grant is part of a NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program. Through research, outreach, and education programs, we provide science-based information to enhance the sustainable use and conservation of ocean and coastal resources to benefit communities, the economy and the environment.

Do you have a favorite seafood recipe/dish?

Crab cakes with fresh basil and thyme is a favorite recipe of mine that's easy enough to make any day of the week. To complete the meal, I like to serve it with a simple salad.

Visit the Mariner’s Menu for more ways to prepare U.S. seafood

Christina Ng, Chef Educator

Chinitas Pies | San Diego, California

Christina Ng educating students in a garden.
Credit: Polly Lankford.

What is your role in the seafood and/or fishing industry?

I am a chef educator and community ambassador. I  sit on the boards of the non-profits Berry Good Food and Slow Food Urban San Diego. I work closely to engage and connect San Diego stakeholders in the industry. I’ve participated in multiple seafood education initiatives with NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center. I look forward to continuing the effort to educate consumers about their local fisheries through the medium of food!

What is your connection to NOAA?

I am connected to NOAA through two amazing scientists, Sarah Mesnick and Oriana Poindexter at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center. Our friendship and shared love of food has definitely propelled our work in promoting the science of seafood.

Do you have a favorite seafood recipe or dish?

One of my favorite all time dishes is grilled mackerel, or Saba Shioyaki. Simply salted and grilled over flame, this mackerel dish is super appealing to me because of its simplicity and immense flavor and richness. I love that the preparation really allows the main ingredient to shine.

Find some of Christina’s recipes on the Fishful Future website

Sarah Redmond, Aquaculturist

Springtide Seaweed | Frenchman Bay, Maine

Sarah Redmond holds a certified organic certification flag in a seaweed farm culture room.
Credit: Springtide Seaweed.

What is your role in the seafood and/or fishing industry?

I’m the founder of Springtide Seaweed, a fully integrated organic seaweed aquaculture company. We grow more than four varieties of seaweed including sugar kelp, skinny kelp, alaria, and dulse on the largest organic seaweed farm in North America. Our seaweed nursery provides USDA organic seed to commercial and hobby farmers throughout Maine and New England.

What is your connection to NOAA?

I was a fishery observer for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center for two years. After that, I pursued a master’s degree at the University of Connecticut. My graduate research looked at the effects of temperature and ocean acidification on the early growth stages of sugar kelp. It was funded by the NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program. Then, I worked as a marine extension associate with Maine Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension between 2012 and 2016. My work there included development of new nursery cultivation techniques for native seaweed species, seaweed festival development, research conferences, and technology exchanges with aquaculture industries in other countries. I also worked with companies and restaurants in Maine to develop new products incorporating Maine seaweed.

Do you have a favorite seafood recipe or dish?

I like to use dried seaweed as my secret ingredient, incorporating flakes or powders into sauces, casseroles, soups, pastas, and everything else!

See more of Sarah's tips for using seaweed in your seafood dishes


Find more recipes for the U.S. seafood you love on FishWatch. Want to learn more about seafood but don’t know where to start? FishWatch also arms you with the facts about what makes U.S. seafood sustainable—from the ocean or farm to your plate. Get up-to-date information on the status of harvested marine fish and farmed fish, and learn more about U.S. seafood.