Special Report: An Interview with Jennifer Bushman | Ocean Strategies

June 12, 2024

Ocean Strategies is a public affairs firm specializing in seafood, fisheries and marine resources.

This special report highlights the leadership behind a new PBS docuseries showcasing the stories of amazing innovators, water farmers, and fishermen who are working toward a sustainable future for the planet. Sign up to receive our reports.

Hope in the Water: An Interview with Jennifer Bushman

“No more doom-scrolling on our food system,” says Jennifer Bushman, in a sit-down with Ocean Strategies’ Principal Brett Veerhusen.

In this interview, Bushman describes the birth and evolution of “Hope in the Water, a docuseries project from her nonprofit organization Fed by Blue. (Watch the full video.)

The inspiration did, in fact, come from a sense of hope in the future of our oceans and waterways.

“We talk a lot about regenerative agriculture,” Bushman says. “We talk a lot about what we’re doing on land to change the way in which our proteins are raised. But we really don’t talk about what the potential that our mostly-blue planet holds.”

The series will debut on June 19 through PBS affiliates across the country. But it also had a Hollywood premiere on June 6 (complete with a Blue Carpet, natch).

“What I love about this is it’s positive. It gives people hope,” says Veerhusen. “It tells narratives of people and the planet that is producing food for this world and in a sustainable way.”

Filming for the series took place on three continents, covering nine stories that were whittled down from 1,200 submissions.

“The series is really the starting off point,” Bushman says, describing future plans for a cookbook, responsible seafood sourcing smartphone app, school curriculum, and even more episodes to come of “Hope in the Water”. “Everyone can help us seed this movement.”

For most of us, taking part in a movement toward global standards for sustainable seafood starts with what foods we choose to buy and eat.

“There is an abundance out there. And when you put your dollars where your values are and you know where these foods are coming from, you can have this beautiful bounty, even in the face of what seems like overwhelming changes in our climate.”

Into the Blue: Seafood takes centerstage in Hollywood
From the desk of Ocean Strategies’ Principal Brett Veerhusen

Most of us wouldn’t work in the seafood industry without one crucial belief we all share: hope. Hope that we can fix problems we’ve caused, hope we can innovate, and hope we can sustainably feed the planet. Against the backdrop of climate change, competition, shifting oceans and more, I’m hopeful that seafood will continue to sustain the billions of people who rely on it. In 2022, I was invited by Jennifer Bushman to join the Fed by Blue Advisory Board to elevate the conversation around foods sourced from our oceans. Little did I know, this invitation would lead to a momentous event on June 6 at the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles.

Ocean Strategies’ Principal Brett Veerhusen & Chef Andrew Zimmern at South by Southwest in 2022 at the launch of Fed By Blue.

The event showcased the premiere of “Hope in the Water,” Fed by Blue’s groundbreaking three-part docuseries airing June 19 on PBS that delves into the blue food movement. A snappy blue carpet featured celebrities like actress Shailene Woodley, Chef Andrew Zimmern and 13-time Emmy Award winner David E. Kelley. How does a kid who grew up commercial fishing end up in Hollywood? Chatting with many of my colleagues also in attendance, the setting captured the dualities of fighting for seafood’s moment, an effort that pulls the grit of ocean-based livelihoods into the limelight of modern society.. 

Fed by Blue is a social impact campaign that aims to do more than just raise awareness; it seeks to ignite action. With luminaries like Martha Stewart, José Andrés, Baratunde Thurston, and Shailene Woodley lending their voices, the docuseries serves as a catalyst for change. As the lights dimmed and the screen filled with stories of fishermen, aquaculturists, scientists, chefs, community organizers and more, I felt a renewed sense of hope — hope that even in the face of daunting challenges, we have the power to restore our oceans and nourish our planet in unimaginable ways.

But how? How can we continue to sustainably feed our growing population while preserving our oceans? The docuseries trailer sparks excitement, showing the series’ core message that not only can we answer that question, we can answer it with enthusiasm and, of course, hope for our future. 

What I appreciate about “Hope in the Water” are the deeply personal stories across the globe about people seeking real solutions. Each place, fishery, farm and family are different. So the solutions must also be multifaceted. Being open-minded to change, moving past “this, but not that” dichotomy keeps our focus on our shared hope: that we can tap into the vast opportunities of our oceans, ensuring seafood’s future for generations to come. 

Don’t miss the world premiere of “Hope in the Water” on June 19 at 9 p.m., airing and streaming on PBS networks.

Festive board members and generous supporters gather on the Blue Carpet at the Los Angeles premiere.

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Ocean Strategies

Ocean Strategies

Ocean Strategies is a versatile public affairs firm specializing in seafood, fisheries and marine resources.

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