We had the opportunity to engage with some of the most impressive environmental organizations from around world recently and saw how the industrious spirit of sustaining our fisheries is alive and stronger than ever.
The International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF) is a non-partisan educational foundation based in Washington, D.C. which works with sustainability-minded corporations and NGOs who leverage their leadership in the world to promote sound, long-term policies of sustainable land, water and biodiversity management.
That’s a mighty big mission, but since 2007 the ICCF has been delivering in mighty big ways.
One of those ways is in the launch one year ago of the Oceans Caucus Foundation (OCF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is educating U.S. and international policymakers about issues of ocean conservation worldwide. Among their chief concerns: balancing the needs of marine ecosystems and biodiversity with those of sustainable fishing, commerce, and transportation industries.
All our ships crossed paths last month in Washington, D.C. at the ICCF’s annual gala, thanks to an invitation from our friends at Environmental Defense Fund. Gala guests included a mix of international conservationists, from A-list celebrities including Bo Derek (tigers) and John Corbett (energy) to others like William Wrigley, Jr., the Prime Minister of Barbados, the President of Ghana and more.
Our Alliance fishermen proudly provided fresh-caught Gulf reef fish – specifically, guests enjoyed fully trackable Florida grouper and American red snapper from Texas in their hors d’oeuvres. Our uniquely numbered Gulf Wild™ gill tags provide levels of transparency seldom seen — and guests were able to see exactly who caught their fish, where and under what fishery management tools (in this case . We’re consistently told in the Gulf of Mexico (and elsewhere) that our tagging and tracking system is ahead of its time so it was a true delight to learn from and laugh with others who also champion progressive sustainability initiatives across the globe.
Take the President of Ghana, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, as an example. In his keynote address to the hundreds attending, President Mills challenged world leaders to pilot the crusade against environmental degradation because the moment ‘’ the last marine species dies, the last human being will also die.’’ He urged world leaders and policy makers to enforce the laws and rules governing the environment to guarantee the survival of marine species and water bodies, for the enhancement of human life and the environment in general.
This agrees with all we have learned as an association of conservation fishermen — from our participation in the International Sustainability Unit, the World Oceans Summit, to sustainability conferences nationwide. Once again, in parallel with the rest of the world, the same voice was heard calling for accountable fisheries and an end to the overcapacity that exist in our current day fisheries worldwide.
It so difficult to understand why our U.S. congressmen and congresswomen continue to put forth legislation that puts all this in jeopardy — until you remember:
Genuine conservation puts the resource before politics, and D.C. is the political capitol of the world.