Working with All Parties to Keep Oceans Full of Fish

I have been an oceans advocate ever since I started working to protect coastal areas from oil and gas development in the late 1970s.  But I have been a fisherwoman even longer.

As both a sport fishing enthusiast and an environmentalist, I know these two communities share many important goals, most notably, ensuring that there are abundant fish in the sea. Sometimes we don’t agree on the best way to achieve this, but we continue to look for ways to bridge—or at least reduce—the divide.

Over the last year a half, environmental organizations, including NRDC,  and sport fishing industry groups have been at increasing loggerheads regarding implementation of the California Marine Life Protection Act, a law that creates a network of marine protected areas along the California coast. 

NRDC is a staunch supporter of the law. We helped pass the law in 1999 and have been actively involved in its implementation since then. We have opposed efforts to suspend or delay implementation of the law; however, we have not gone so far as to support a boycott of those that have. 

NRDC has turned to boycotts once in our 40-year history. It is an arrow we keep in our quiver, but we use it sparingly, and we did not agree to use it here.

Nor did we agree to the tactic of showing up unannounced at Shimano’s headquarters with cameras rolling. This ploy has been used against NRDC in the past, and we do not endorse it.

There are a lot of interests with a stake in the future of the ocean. The long term protection of the ocean will benefit from those interests working together.

My sincere hope is that, in the near future, our two communities can sit down and seek a better understanding of each others’ perspectives on the MLPA process so that, going forward, we can work together toward our shared goals.  NRDC, for one, is committed to making that effort.