What happened in Sarasota, FL?
NAMA and our partners in the Don't Cage Our Ocean coalition worked with local partners including the Sierra Club, Hands Along the Water, Suncoast Waterkeepers and the Center for Biological Diversity to demonstrate our opposition to draft a permit for industrial fish farming in the Gulf off the west coast of Florida. We showed up in full force at a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) public hearing on January 28, 2020 at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s WAVE Center.

For weeks before the hearing, our coalition worked tirelessly to raise awareness in the local community about the factory fish farm project and the opportunity to make public comments at the hearing.

Leading up to the hearing, a powerful demonstration was held outside.  A crowd of more than 250 people showed up at the hearing, and most were fiercely opposed to the project. People raised concerns about the possible environmental, public health, and economic impacts of the proposed offshore fish farm. They also criticized the EPA for catering to big business instead of protecting the environment. Only eight of more than 50 speakers were in favor of the project. Following the hearing, the Mayor of Sarasota drafted a strong letter to the EPA opposing the project, which he has submitted to City of Sarasota commissioners for their review and consideration. 

You Can Still Show Your Opposition!
Even if you didn’t make it out to the public hearing or to the demonstration, the opportunity to submit written comments is available until Tuesday, February 4, 2020 (TODAY) . Help us make it clear to the EPA that factory fish farms don’t belong in the ocean.

Submit written comments to R4NPDES.Kampachi@epa.gov.
Hedge Fund to Acquire Codfather Empire
Since the criminal sentencing of Carlos “Codfather” Rafael, NAMA and our allies have been urging decision-makers at NOAA to avoid handing over his groundfish empire to the highest bidder, particularly to outside investors. In late 2019, the Codfather signed a tentative agreement to sell his groundfish boats and permits to Blue Harvest Fisheries, a wholly-owned subsidiary of billion-dollar hedge fund, Bregal Partners. Within a 30-day window, Buyers and Sellers Exchange (BASE) exercised their right of first refusal and made an offer to purchase the boats and permits. However, BASE later withdrew their offer because of pending litigation with Blue Harvest as well as the deteriorating condition of the vessels. The Blue Harvest agreement still stands and is awaiting final approval from NOAA.  

This is the culmination of warnings made by fishermen and activists for over a decade that the catch share system will enable outside investors to control our fisheries. Moving forward, we will turn to the Fish Bill reauthorization to address the problem at its roots.
Fish Bill: Huffman Listening Tour
Join the many fishermen in our network who are showing up at one of Congressman Huffman (D-CA) nationwide listening tour on federal fisheries management to gather input from different stakeholders on the changes they would like to see in the next Fish Bill reauthorization. 

The most recent listening session took place on January 30th. Chef Ryan Prewitt and Fisherman Lance Nacio, both based in Louisiana, co-wrote an op-ed on the major issues that Congress needs to address in the Fish Bill reauthorization -- Listen up Congress: Here's how to support Louisiana's working waterfronts and local seafood

They highlight the challenges of (1) making a living in the catch share system, where fishermen often have to hand over more than 75% of their income to quota owners; (2) competing with cheap, imported, farmed seafood; and (3) dealing with illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The co-authors encouraged Congressman Huffman and other legislators to prioritize science-based fisheries management, address the "financial squeeze of outside investment and speculation," and expand seafood-labeling laws. We heard there was a good turnout and the messages in the op-ed were reinforced by many who attended. 
Aquaculture: No Genetically Engineered Salmon!
NAMA is part of an international network of fish harvesters and activists who are fighting against the production of genetically engineered salmon. At this year's Boston Seafood Expo we will be looking for creative ways to expose the pitfalls of genetically engineered salmon and we invite you to help with these efforts. If you’re interested, please contact Brett Tolley.
Can our seafood survive Big Ag and climate change?
Join us for a conversation in NYC where NAMA’s Coordinating Director Niaz Dorry will be speaking at FERN Talks and Eats together with Wampanoag fisherman Corey Hendricks, author Paul Greenberg, Rutgers University professor Olaf Jensen, and Marine Biologist and Long Island Farm Bureau President Karen Rivara. 
Local Catch Executive Committee
NAMA has been working with a special Task Force to help select the new leadership of the Local Catch Network. Following a super successful 2019 Seafood Summit, the Local Catch Network is poised to do great things in the years ahead. If you’re not already, follow Local Catch on social media and join their newsletter. New Executive Committee members will be announced very soon!
Slow Fish 2020
The 3rd national gathering of the Slow Fish network will be held this March 19-22 in New Hampshire. Tickets are live and we have an open call for speakers and storytellers. NAMA and our network friends have been diving deep with the Slow Fish campaign over the past 10 years and we’re excited to be aligning with the international call to defend the Blue Commons . Check out this short video from our recent gathering in San Francisco and join us in March!
Community Fisheries Gathering in British Columbia
NAMA Board member and fisherman, Jason Jarvis, will be joining the Fisheries for Communities Gathering in British Columbia in early February . The western Canadian fishing community is rallying in defense of their fisheries access which is rapidly consolidating into the hands of large outside investors. A similar pattern we are seeing play out around the states. NAMA will share lessons learned from New England so that we can expand our network of communities who are experiencing the same issues. Support our Canadian friends by signing this petition to Save BC Fisheries .
Saying Goodbye to Julianna
NAMA is sad to announce that one of our most valued team members, Julianna DiTomasso has left our staff for a bright future in environmental justice. Julianna was our Community Organizer for the past three years and over the course of her time with NAMA she strengthened our Fish Locally Collaborative network, helped co-lead the effort toward a successful Local Seafood Summit in 2019, and deepened our movement toward seafood justice. We’re excited to watch the next stage in Julianna’s career and her work in social justice . Julianna is moving on to continue the fight in environmental activism and we can’t wait to see the waves she brings to the movement! We wish you all the best in this next step in your adventure, Julianna.