NAMA Weighs In

To facilitate the transformations we seek, we often have to communicate with policy makers. Although sometimes we go solo, our goal is to join others who share our vision for the future of our oceans. Here are a collection of letters that lay out positions taken by NAMA and/or our projects on various issues from fisheries to persistent pollutants to climate change.

From time to time, we'll also upload supporting documents here that are not necessarily NAMA's.

NAMA put together comments on NOAA's proposed National Aquaculture Policy draft, in which we call the NOAA Aquaculture Program to task for not taking seriously enough the potential negative consequences of some marine and other aquaculture and for taking on the role of, in their own words, "enabling aquaculture development" in the US instead of regulating and managing it responsibly. The comments were submitted on behalf of nearly 40 organizations and individuals representing an impressive diversity of perspectives and opcupations.
165 organizations, including NAMA, signed on to community comments submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency's docket stating the only way to protect public health from toxic coal ash is to finalize a rule regulating coal ash under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA). Again, you may not at first make the connection between an organization focused on marine fisheries and coal ash, but there are indeed many connections. We'll give you one specific connection: we know that mercury is a byproduct of coal burning power plants which rely on coal as their source of fuel. We also know that mercury is one of persistent and bioaccummulative toxicants that build up in the food chain. Mercury is connected to many human behavior, congnitive and other diseases. The advice we hear often is stay away from foods that contain too much mercury and of course tuna comes up all the time. Why, because tunas live at the top of the marine food chain. By the time they eat everything else that has mercury and potentially other toxicants, they are getting a pretty good dose that is building up in their fatty tissue. Tuna like to eat other fish and we seem to like to eat tuna. By what is the mercury doing to the tuna? What if the human diseases associated with mercury are happening to tuna and other marine animals. Many of us are working to ensure the tuna populations remain health and not in danger from over fishing. But if all our fights in the fishing picture is undermined by toxicants that may be affecting the animals, how good of a job are we really doing? So if we don't care enough about the humans, let's get rid of the sources of mercury for the tuna and other marine animals. There are, of course, many other connections, but more on that later. In the meanwhile, please take a moment and check out the letter.
132 undersigned organizations representing consumers, fishermen, farmers and ranchers, local food producers, and co-ops signed onto a letter to the United States Senate expressing concern about food safety legislation, S.510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, and its potential for unnecessarily burdening and handicapping small-scale, local food producers. The groups urged the Senate to support the amendment co-sponsored by Senators Tester and Hagan to ensure that small-scale direct-marketing farms and food producers are protected from unnecessary and overly burdensome federal regulations.

Organized by RAFI-USA, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and others, 135 organizations signed on to the comment to the US Department of Food and Agriculture on the Farm Bill related rules affecting meat packing and processing.

You may not immediately get why an organization like NAMA that works on fisheries issues might want to weigh in on USDA rules about meat packing and processing, but since fish are caught to end up in our food system we believe any opportunity to reign in corportate control of our food system is important. So I hope all of you - espcially all you folks working on food system and fisheries issues, will consider signing onto these comments as well. The kind of corporate control entities like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), and the American Meat Institute (AMI) are asserting only erodes our ability to have a say over who brings us our food, what happens to the animals that end up on our plates, and ultimately, the safety, security, and sovereignty of our food system whether it comes from the land or the sea. Along with the sign on letter, RAFI is also looking for large volumes of personalized comments from organizations and food producers.

Below are action alerts from different organizations that you can use for writing your own comment, if needed. The alerts are from Center for Rural Affairs (hogs), Food and Water Watch (consumers), National Farmers Union (concentration, support for the rule overall), National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (cattle, hogs and poultry), RAFI-USA (poultry), and WORC (cattle).

Hannah Mellion from Farm Fresh Rhode Island testified in support of small-scale food harvesters and explained why 'who fishes matters' just like 'who farms matters' to communities, sustainable ecosystems, and healthy food.

Brett Tolley delivered testimony before the New England Fisheries Management Council on September 30 2010 highlighting 'Who Fishes Matters' and underscoring the fact that uncontrolled consolidation undermines communities, marine ecosystems, and healthy food systems. 

If we care about the health of our oceans, fishing communities, and our food system, then who fishes matters. Please see the attached document to learn how you can get involved with the 'Who Fishes Matters' initiative.

Fleet diversity is an essential element of achieving the ecological, economic and social goals of fisheries management. NAMA recently submitted a White Paper to the New England Fishery Management Council outlining recommendations that could ensure fleet diversity at a time when consolidation and accumulation is being encouraged.

NAMA joins a coalition of 30 consumer, animal welfare and environmental groups, along with commercial and recreational fisheries associations and food retailers in a joint statement criticizing an announcement this week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it will potentially approve the long-shelved AquAdvantage transgenic salmon as the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption.