Oct 21 2015

Members rally, protest Atlantic Marine Monument proposal

Communicating the concerns and policies supported by its diverse membership
Committed to the long-term health of domestic fisheries and the economies they support.
Member News – October 2015


Members rally, protest Atlantic Marine Monument proposal
Working with the Fisheries Survival Fund and the Northeast Seafood Coalition and utilizing the Saving Seafood network, over 1,800 fishermen and other coastal residents joined federal, state and Congressional leaders in opposing a surprise threat to create a new Atlantic Marine Monument under the auspices of the 1906 Antiquities Act.


Timely action was critical, with environmental groups hoping for a presidential declaration at the Our Oceans Conference in Chile held in October.


“It’s very scary,” said Jon Williams, owner of New Bedford’s Atlantic Red Crab Company that employs nearly 150 people.
Should the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts Area be named a national monument, Williams said he would be cut off from fishing grounds that account for between 20 and 40 percent of his red crab haul – an annual loss of around $5 million. Full story at the Taunton Daily Gazette


 The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee has demanded records of all meetings, correspondence and memos related to marine monument designations with concerns about the apparent collusion and influence of environmental groups with regard to the Interior Department’s designation process, with almost no local input. A public records request filed by Saving Seafood uncovered the emails, raising concerns about possible closed-door collaboration between environmental groups and the administration, referenced by the Committee in its letter to the Administration.


U.S. Fisheries are the most highly regulated in the world.
Creation of the proposed monument would have closed a sustainable fishery.

Science supports access to the Eel Fishery

The American Eel Sustainability Association has repeatedly attested to the fishery’s sustainable operations, thanks in large part to the sacrifices made by eel fishermen to ensure proactive responsible resource management. In October, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rejected a petition from the Council for Endangered Species Act Reliability (CESAR) – the second such request in a decade – to list American Eels as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), confirming that the species is “stable” and not in need of Federal protection. FWS conducted an extensive review of the most recent scientific data from federal agencies and independent sources in reaching their determination.


Voices from the National Coalition

Members of fishing communities bring extraordinary expertise and understanding to fisheries management. In fisheries, so many allegations gain public support and just turn out to be plain wrong. Members of the Coalition are encouraged to set the record straight, and keep fighting for accuracy and awareness in the public arena.


Dr. James Cowan, Louisiana State University:
Bob Jones, Southeastern Fisheries Association:
Diane Pleschner-Steele, California Wetfish Association:
Jerry Schill, North Carolina Fisheries Association:


National Coalition Advisory Boards

Saving Seafood is building its responsiveness and ability to support member concerns with regular, individual outreach to industry members, and with an Advisory Board of regional fishing organizations and an Advisory Board of fishery scientists. (If you would like your regional association to be part of the National Coalition, let us know.)


The Regional Advisory Board

On September 17th, the Regional Advisory Board held its introductory meeting. Fishery association representatives from New England, the Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, North Pacific, Pacific, and Hawaiian fisheries raised top issues from their memberships.
  • Reauthorization of MSA
  • Inadequate science
  • Access to fish
  • Lack of public process in management of Highly Migratory Species
  • ENGO forage fish efforts
  • Eco-labeling
  • Seafood Fraud
  • High cost of participation in the Council process
  • Threats from National Parks and National Marine Sanctuary designation
The Science Advisory Board will hold its second meeting next month. If you have scientists you respect and would like to have advising Coalition issues, let us know  and we will reach out to grow this great resource for the Coalition.


Congratulations Garden State Seafood Association and MAFMC

At the same time that ENGOs are criticizing the New England Council process and attempting to subvert it through monument designations, the Garden State Seafood Association and the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council are being praised for their successful achievements with use of the same process.


At their Sip of the Sea event on September 16th, the New York Aquarium recognized National Coalition members, Garden State Seafood Association Executive Director Greg DiDomenico and Council Chairman Richard Robbins, as Conservation Leaders.



On October 29th, the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute will recognize Ernie Panacek, President of the Garden State Seafood Association (GSSA), along with Richard Robins, Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, and Jay Odell, Director of the Mid-Atlantic Marine Program at the Nature Conservancy, as Regional Champions of the Ocean.


Announcing The National Coalition!

On Tuesday, January 19th, the day before the start of the annual National Mayors’ Conference in Washington, Saving Seafood will formally announce the National Coalition of Fishing Communities. Join us!


Saving Seafood will
  • Announce the Coalition at the National Press Club that morning,
  • Arrange appearances for our members with national and local media, and
  • Work with your government relations teams to visit Capitol Hill in the afternoon so that you can spread the word about the issues that matter most to you.
We have already made contact with mayors and elected officials in coastal communities across the nation, but need to work with you in the coming weeks to reach out in your individual communities to solidify those initial contacts. We need elected community leaders across the nation to endorse the Coalition at the launch, bringing the value of the domestic fishery to the attention of the national government.
We look forward to featuring you as a partner.



Contact Sarah for more information.


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