Dear friend,

We hear from those who receive our newsletters often, but that frequency increases whenever we reference the intersection between fisheries and racial justice. That's why I want to take a moment to talk especially with those of you who may not see themselves at this intersection and share how, just maybe, you really are. I hope you will bear with me and read through this short note.
 
Let me add a list of words and then my two cents: 

Criminal, scumbag, crook, crooked, low life, drug addict, deceitful, guilty, liar, thief, rapist, dirty, ignorant, uneducated, heroin addict, greedy, and drunk. 

You may assume that these words are what many people of color have dealt with for too long. As a black man, I have certainly heard them directed at me often enough.

However this list is parallel to what I have heard directed towards me and other fishermen regardless of our color. Commercial fishermen have been the scapegoat for a number of issues, many regulatory. 

“Raping the ocean” was a term I heard over and over from those that are ignorant to fishing practices and gear. We get blamed for the demise of fisheries yet our government promoted catch shares and in turn made some rich and others bankrupt. Our groundfish fisheries were on the upswing prior to catch shares. 

Those in the minority were given the scraps. Put into what in New England is called “the general category” that couldn't afford to buy quota, sound familiar, limited access or no access to healthcare or insurance. Impossible to get loans because of high risk. Selective enforcement, those that spoke out against catch shares or spoke out about overreaching, abusive, threatening enforcement were silenced through trumped up fines or continued harassment and confiscation of gear. All fishermen are assumed guilty. 

The similarities of systemic abuse for fishermen and people of color are staggering. I personally experienced the gestapo like tactics of the office of law enforcement. I will never forget being in fear for my life and my brother’s life as we were asked to step off of a vessel by federal enforcement officers. We were questioned while these men had unsnapped their side arms and kept their hands on them. All of this for a preconceived perception of guilt. We are talking about fish harvesters. No fish harvester or person of color should be subject to such blatant systemic abuse.

This coming from a person who has experienced racism. While also experiencing the systemic abuses by fisheries enforcement. As fishermen, there was a time when we were respected and honored. I also feel that the emotions and human cost associated with these parallel systemic issues are overlooked. Suicide is prevalent amongst commercial fisheries and people of color. So is depression, self medication, and addiction related to masking the physical and emotional pain of the work and the abuse. 

I feel we are better than this as a country. We need to understand that much of the systemic inequities can be changed. We just need to educate more of the general public about what it feels like to stand in our shoes. 

Whether you're a person of color or a commercial fisherman. We have been victimized by a broken unbalanced system that favors one group over another. I think it’s time to address the need for these things to change. 
 
At NAMA, we can’t unsee these parallels. We can’t ignore the root causes of all peoples’ struggles.

We know not all of us see these parallels yet. Just like those optical puzzles, some of us might never see them. And just like our whole society, not seeing – or outright rejecting - what the other sees or doesn’t can be a source of tension and struggle.

At NAMA, we believe it’s our social and ethical responsibility to say what we see and work toward building movements that bring these shared struggles together so we can work toward justice together.

One way that you can get involved is by taking the 21-Day racial equity challenge that was created by our friends at Food Solutions New England. Check it out and sign up today

In Solidarity,

Jason Jarvis
Commercial Fisherman
NAMA Board President
News to Tune Into
Lives lost in Chilean salmon industry
The Ecoceanos Center has released a preliminary report showing that 14 workers died in workplace related fatalities within the Chilean salmon aquaculture industry in 2021 alone. Reports such as this highlight the increasing need to stop the development of industrial aquaculture in US waters to prevent further loss of human lives, in addition to the multitude of environmental concerns associated with industrial aquaculture. To read more about the impacts of farmed seafood and industrial aquaculture, check out the FoodPrint of Farmed Seafood report.
Image: Kayleigh Mazzocoli
Wampanoag gain substantial control over 320 acres in Cape Cod, MA
Great news and a long time coming! After a ruling from the U.S. Department of the Interior the Mashpee Wampanoag will have substantial control of roughly 320 acres around Cape Cod, MA. This momentous win will bring economic opportunity to their community many of whom are tied to the fisheries and ocean ecosystems. “This is a momentous day for the Mashpee Wampanoag, for Indigenous communities across the country and for defenders of justice,” said Brian Weeden, the tribe’s chairman. He said it will allow his tribe to “reclaim and protect our cherished land.”
Calls to Action!
Register now for the 8th Annual FSNE Racial Equity Challenge! Details below!
Watch the recording of We Are Salmon People and follow Salmon Orca Project on Instagram!
Sign on Alert! Block Industrial Factory Farms!
Calling on all businesses, organizations, and groups to sign on to this letter urging the Biden Administration to revoke Executive Order 13921: Promoting Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth. Deadline is March 10th. 

This order was issued by the Trump Administration on May 7th, 2020, and is still in effect today. It specifically opens the gateway for industrial fish farms to populate our waters without any Congressional Oversight. On behalf of Don’t Cage our Oceans please help us by spreading the word and signing this letter today.
Engagement Opportunities
FSNE Winter Series: Happening Now!
Registration is now open for the FSNE Winter Series, which takes place over four Fridays (from 10am to 2:30pm ET including a half-hour lunch break) in February 2022, focusing on the four key themes or "impact areas" for the FSNE network. These sessions offered free and open to the public, will create space for us to explore and weave together issues across the food system, including racial equity, democracy, and the climate crisis.

On February 18, NAMA Policy Consultant Ephraim Froelich will be part of a panel on Visionary Food Policy: Universal Human Rights Legislation in Support of Food and Forest Systems.

Local Catch Network Meet-and-Greet Webinar Series: Seafood to Institution
NAMA and the Local Catch Network are teaming up for a webinar series that will kick off on March 16, 2022 from 2-3:15 PM ET. Join us to hear from stakeholders involved in shifting institutional food purchasing toward local and regional producers, as well as, seafood businesses who’ve successfully partnered with institutions. Join us to gain a greater understanding of how institutions are thinking about food, successes and challenges related to institutional procurement, and how to build relationships with folks involved with seafood-to-institutional efforts. Register here.
Save the Date & Register: FSNE's Racial Equity Challenge
Sign up for Food Solution New England's (FSNE) annual 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge starting on April 4th! In its eighth year, the Challenge is a great way to learn about the history and impacts of racism on our current food system while inspiring participants with resources and tools to build racial equity in their work and lives. NAMA has a long history of connection with the challenge having been part of the FSNE team that designed it over 8 years ago and we have participated every year since. It has been a critical part of the way we are living up to our racial equity commitment.
Join NESAWG's It Takes a Region Conference Planning Committee

  • Recruitment for Call for Proposals and conference attendees
  • Shaping the program: Reviewing sessions, input into plenaries
  • Helping to plan pre-conferences, caucuses and other programming
  • Connect us to local vendors (photography, childcare, growers, food producers) and sponsors

New England Young Fishermen's Alliance Introductory Meeting
The New England Young Fishermen’s Alliance will host an introductory meeting for young fishermen (45 and under) from NH and southern ME on March 9, 2022 from 6-8pm at the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, NH. The session will provide information about the 3-year USDA grant program that aims to offer three annual Deckhand to Captain Training programs. 
When: Wednesday, March 9, 2022 6-8pm
Where: Urban Forestry Center, 45 Elwyn Rd, Portsmouth, NH
Georgia Young Fish Harvester Scholarship Program
In partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, students enrolled in Coastal Pines Technical College’s Fishermen Program can now apply for funds to cover tuition, equipment, training, and commercial fishing licenses. For more foundation and scholarship program info, contact Stephanie Roberts at sroberts@coastalpines.edu
Network News
Welcome Don't Cage Our Oceans Coalition Staff!
As a core member of the Don’t Cage our Oceans Coalition, we at NAMA are excited to welcome DCO2’s latest hire, James Mitchell, as the new Legislative Director based in DC. James is an environmental attorney and activist, with over 12 years of experience in working to protect our oceans and all of us who depend on it. Welcome James! If you are interested to get involved or know someone, please fill out this membership form.
New England Fishmongers Awarded Snail of Approval
Slow Fish North America (SFNA) has partnered with Slow Food USA to begin awarding businesses within the SFNA network the Snail of Approval Award, which aims to uplift the values of good, clean, and fair by calling out businesses living those values. Throughout this year, the SFNA Oversight Team is aiming to award 3 businesses, and the first will be New England Fishmongers who have long upheld the network’s values and are staunch advocates for fair treatment of and pay for fish harvesters.
Fishadelphia Featured by NOAA
Our friends at Fishadelphia and their CSF model were featured in this article by NOAA. Fishadelphia aims to connect low-income consumers directly to fish harvesters, providing fresh, nutritious seafood to communities who would otherwise have limited or no access. AND, it’s students running the show.
Photo: Dr. Talia Young
Save the Dates!
The Local Catch Network is excited to announce that the 4th Local Seafood Summit will be held on October 2-3, 2022 in Girdwood, Alaska! During the Summit community-based seafood harvesters, businesses, organizations, and supporters from across North America will gather around the theme "Building the Future of Local and Regional Seafood Systems". Stay tuned for registration details and requests for proposals soon!
NESAWG's 2022 It Takes A Region Conference will be held November 3-5, 2022 in Providence, RI. NESAWG's annual conference is widely regarded as the conference for anyone doing food system change work in any Northeast state. Hundreds of practitioners convene not only workshops, plenaries, and networking, but to roll up their sleeves and do the real work needed to create a just and fair regional food system. Youth, academics, farmers, advocates, entrepreneurs, and organizers all find a home at NESAWG.
New Reports Out Now!
Local Catch 2021 Annual Report
Local Catch Network has released their 2021 Annual Report. Some highlights from the year include:

  • A projected reach of 234,000,000 to audience members from LCN media coverage
  • 51 new members joined the network 
  • 811 locations to purchase seafood on the updated Seafood Finder
A Regional Imperative: The Case for Regional Food Systems
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) has released a new report that highlights the need for regional food systems, A Regional Imperative: The Case for Regional Food Systems. This report extensively expands on the authors’ previous paper and dives into the concepts, practices, challenges, and promise of regional food systems. Check out the Executive Summary here.
Funding Opportunities
Food and Farm Communications Fund - Deadline February 18th
Apply here! The Core Grants Program is the central offering of the Food and Farm Communications Fund, awarding strategic communications and narrative change support to frontline organizations and grassroots networks working to advance systemic and cultural change across our food and farm systems
NAMA is a fishermen-led organization building a broad movement toward healthy fisheries, and fishing communities.

We build deep, and trusting relationships with community based fisherman, crew, fishworkers, and allies to create effective policy, and market strategies.