John Burton has been involved in the UK food industry all of his working life. Following graduation and then management roles with Rowntree Mackintosh and Imperial Foods, he moved on to Peabody Foods where he became Managing Director.
It was at Peabody that he became involved in international trade, developing relationships in South East Asia and the Far East. He first became involved with pole-and-line tuna in the Solomon Islands, an association that lasted for almost 20 years and followed him into his own company, Select Foods, which he founded in 1989. Eventually Select Foods was merged into MCM, part of the Mitsui Corporation.
In 2010, John founded World Wise Foods to focus his attention on fishery products. He has been instrumental in developing demand for pole-and-line tuna in the UK. Exports of canned tuna from the Solomon Islands ceased some 12 years ago following political unrest. His challenge was to seek other sources to fulfil the demand. He has now developed a close working relationship with the Maldives fishery.
During his career, John has worked on a number of sustainability initiatives and has good relationships with NGOs in the fisheries world.
He is passionate about pole-and-line and is proud to be one of the IPNLF's founding trustees.
My involvement with pole & line fisheries for the past three decades has highlighted how important they are to the wellbeing of coastal communities. Growing demand for pole & line caught tuna presents a great opportunity for these often deprived communities to improve their standard of living.