In celebration of World Ocean Day, the Marine Fish Conservation Network and our partners are reflecting on what the ocean means to our planet, our communities and our way of life.
“Since time immemorial, fisheries have supported diverse indigenous cultures. For centuries, small-scale fisheries have been the economic engine of coastal communities. In return, fishermen have been storytellers for the ocean, their lives and the lives of their families uniquely connected to ocean health. We are witnessing the impacts of climate change and calling for action. For generations we have depended on the ocean; now the ocean is depending on us.”
Linda Behnken, Executive Director, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association
“On this World Ocean Day, we cry for you, our Oceans. For decades you’ve absorbed the carbon dioxide we humans foolishly generate day-after-day. You are now sour and even angry from the increase in acidity and warmth, sending onshore more tropical storms and hurricanes. We sigh for you, working waterfronts, as you sit and can only try to adjust to temperature shifts in sea water that push your traditional seafood species in other directions. And, as well, let us praise and high-five our seafood policies and managers for sustaining fish abundance and recovering fish stocks that have suffered depletion. Acknowledge the good with the bad on this fine day.”
Kevin Scribner, Founder, Forever Wild Seafood
“World Ocean Day provides a unique opportunity for us to come together and protect our ocean, for healthy and abundant seas, full of fish and other wildlife. Thanks to our partners, including the Marine Fish Conservation Network, for helping us grow the reach and impact of World Ocean Day!”
Bill Mott, Executive Director, The Ocean Project
“Sport and commercial fishing represents one of the greatest transfers of wealth from urban to rural communities. Anglers can catch lingcod and bountiful seabass any month of the year, providing a meaningful impact to our working waterfronts, especially during shoulder seasons when the economic engine is needed the most. Sound fisheries management and data collection will keep our ports working for generations to come.”
Bob Rees, 31-year professional fishing guide
“The ocean is medicine, life source and home. This always has been and always will be. We must live in honor of this truth.”
Marissa Wilson, Executive Director, Alaska Marine Conservation Council
“Commercial fishermen will head to sea this World Ocean Day like they do every day – to do the job they are so passionate about. They are proud of the blood, sweat, and tears they put into their family businesses to catch the fish that Americans throughout this country – both along the coast and inland far from the water – crave. They work hard to support their families, to feed this country, and to protect the Gulf of Mexico that provides for them and for everyone.
At sea, change is the only constant that fishermen can depend on – whether it’s the wind and tides today, fuel prices this month, the aftershocks of a global pandemic this year, three years of devastating hurricanes, or decades of a changing ecosystem. Commercial fishermen must observe, adapt, and evolve to survive.
Whatever direction the shifting climate takes us, we do know one thing: that commercial fishermen will be there, taking to sea as they have for generations, doing what they do best – being our eyes and ears on the water, catching fish, feeding people, and supporting our coastal communities.
We ask that you think of commercial fishermen this World Ocean Day – and every day – for their passion for their work, their devotion to sustainability, their dedication to accountability, and their commitment to pass on their heritage to future generations.”
Eric Brazer, Deputy Director, Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance
“For years, we’ve taken the oceans of this planet for granted, too often considering them a resource of endless bounty. The reality is now becoming clear. Thankfully, there are many working tirelessly to raise awareness of our fate if we damage this essential resource beyond repair. They are using those words to drive change; change, that if not too late, can ensure our oceans are here for generations to come.”
Tom Sadler, Deputy Director, Marine Fish Conservation Network
“We have for generations relied on our oceans for inspiration, nourishment, and our livelihoods. Our vast blue seas also provide the economic, social and cultural foundation of our coastal communities around the nation. On World Ocean Day—and every day—we must recommit to sustainably managing our ocean resources so we can continue to feel this connection and thrive from its bounty for decades and centuries to come.”
Robert Vandermark, Executive Director, Marine Fish Conservation Network