NAMA is a fishermen-led organization working at the intersection of marine conservation and social, economic, environmental justice. We’re working to build a movement toward a healthy ocean, a just seafood system, and community-based fisheries that are diverse, fair, and equitable for all.

Our mission

Our mission is to enhance and maintain healthy marine ecosystems by organizing a decentralized network of community-based fishermen, fishworkers, and allies.

Our core set of values rests on understanding that not any one organization or community can solve the complex environmental-social-economic problems faced by our fishing communities and those whose lives depend on a healthy ocean. Therefore, we must work together. Seeking long-lasting solutions, we build collaborative models that connect fishermen, fish workers, social and marine scientists, fisheries managers, the public, local economy advocates, food systems organizers, family farmers, conservation activists, youth, and more. Learn more about our principles of organization and practice.

Our History

NAMA was born in 1995 by a group of fishermen and fishing community advocates to explore an alternative management structure. They believed there had to be a better approach to protecting our oceans and manage marine resources. With Captain Craig Pendleton at the helm, NAMA set out on a decade-long pursuit of collaborative research and visioning toward realizing community and ecosystem based management. With the departure of Captain Pendleton in later 2007, the board of trustees set out to hire a new director and established new programs that drew their strength from the strong foundation already laid. Read more about our history.

Our Work

We are a fishermen-led organization that promotes fleet diversity and gives a voice to independent, community based fishermen. How we do this work is driven by the Fish Locally Collaborative (FLC), a decentralized network that connects, aligns, and creates collaborative action opportunities for thousands of diverse stakeholders involved in the marine conservation, social, economic, environmental, and food justice movements. NAMA’s role is to serve as a backbone (or anchor) organization with four distinct roles: expanding our movement, building new leadership, minding the gaps, and providing very basic network logistical support to the FLC. Read more about our work here.

Our Commitment to Racial Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice

We believe marginalization of any peoples is rooted in a long history of racism, exclusion, and oppression. We also believe how we treat humans is a reflection of how we treat the earth and all its inhabitants. That’s why we believe modern day slavery in the fishing industry is an environmental problem, not to be separated from how we measure “sustainability.” We’ve made a commitment to address racism in our work, and are actively working to be a more inclusive and diverse organization and network. We believe this is the only way to achieve true justice on land and water. Read more about how we are striving toward these goals.

Our Commitment to Nurturing New Leaders

The communities we work with, the fishing industry itself, and the community organizations are facing an interesting opportunity: as they are all graying, developing strategies to tap into the wisdom of the elders to nurture, nourish, and build new leadership is critical. This is not only important for the organizations, but it’s a critical piece of reviving the small and medium scale fishing businesses with the smallest ecological footprint, and biggest contributors to our food systems, local economies, and communities. Click on this link to read more about our commitment to nurturing new leaders. And read this to find out what personal revelation sparked Niaz Dorry, our coordianting director, into action on this front. 

Our Funding

Although we have in the past, today NAMA does not currently solicit contributions from government sources. With very few exceptions, we don’t solicit contributions from corporations. We make an exception when it comes to companies that explicitly align with our purpose and demonstrate a commitment to our purpose and mission. To help us in that process, we confer with our friends at 1% For the Planet, New Economy Coalition, and the American Sustainable Business Council, both of which NAMA is a member. We rely entirely on individual donations and foundation support. We choose the foundations we work with very carefully to make sure we are not partnering with those who support the kind of policies that we are fighting to right. That means your support provides the backbone of our organization and is invaluable to our efforts. To give to NAMA, click here. To see a list of our funders, click here.