On, Thursday, September 16, at the Turning the Tide Marine Industry Awards Gala, Bruce Wareham, seafood industry pioneer and founder of Icewater Seafoods, was post posthumously honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The prestigious marine industry awards are the only of their kind in Canada, and one of only four in the world.
People throughout the industry were thrilled to see Mr. Wareham recognized for being “ahead of his time” and for quite literally simultaneously contributing to the economic survival of his hometown and the reputation of Newfoundland and Labrador seafood in global markets. But as Alberto Wareham, Bruce’s son and President & CEO of Icewater Seafoods, commented while accepting the award, truly honouring Bruce’s contributions and his legacy is not done by bestowing awards. It is done by recognizing the potential of the industry and working hard to improve the value returned to people and communities. That sentiment is echoed by many in the Offshore Fishery Association who had incredible respect for Bruce and what he was able to accomplish.
Below are Alberto Wareham’s comments from the event.
“On behalf of the Wareham Family, I’d like to thank the Turning the Tide Marine Industry Awards board of directors for recognizing and honouring my father. Thank you for speaking to some of the many people who knew and respected him for his achievements and his character. Thank you to those featured in the video for your kind words.
My father was both innovative and traditional.
He was innovative in terms of:
- His ability to adapt to change
- Having foresight and discipline to focus relentlessly on quality when most were measuring quantity
- Recognizing the unique opportunity for Newfoundland cod in premium markets in Europe, and then successfully earning the trust and business of those international customers
- Never losing sight of his vision and commitment to keeping the plant and people of Arnold’s Cove working
He was investing in technology and championing sustainability and corporate social responsibility long before they were buzz words.
He was traditional in the sense that he was a gentleman: respectful and a man of his word. His handshake meant as much as his signature.
It is a combination of attributes we reflect on often at Icewater Seafoods and something I strive to continue. I hope others do as well.
Those who knew my father know that if he was here tonight he wouldn’t have agreed to come forward to accept an award recognizing his accomplishments. He never wanted accolades or acknowledgement. He didn’t like the spotlight. He did so much in his 55 years in the seafood industry. He cared so much about those around him, especially at home in Arnold’s Cove. But he didn’t talk about his achievements.
So if I can, I’d like to suggest another way to honour my father, Bruce Wareham.
Honour Bruce Wareham not by looking back at his accomplishments, but by looking forward at what else is possible.
- Be optimistic about the future of the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Understand that we can, and in many cases we already are, sustainably harvesting and processing some of the highest quality seafood in the world.
- Recognize that the seafood that surrounds our shores is part of a solution to a global need for more healthy protein.
- Know that we have the expertise to continue to establish and strengthen access to global markets that maximize the benefits felt across the industry. When I say “we”, I’m n
ot just talking about Icewater Seafoods, but the fishery as a whole, including others I see here tonight.
- Celebrate that we can offer year-round careers for young people who see a bright future in the fishery. That a successful fishery means more young people having the choice to live, work and raise their families here at home.
- Support those who continue to invest in science, technology and innovation.
- Know that our province’s fishery can, and does, complete with the best in the world.
- Recognize that a strong and stable fishery is part of the fiscal and economic future of our province and communities. That it holds so much potential for people and families.
So, let us continue to be passionate about the future of the fishery. Let’s do it for our province, our hometowns, our children and grandchildren.
That is what Bruce Wareham would ask of us. That’s how I choose to honour him.”