Brett Tolley, National Program Coordinator
Brett (he/him) is NAMA's National Program Coordinator. He focuses on movement building and policy. Brett comes from a four-generation commercial fishing family out of Cape Cod, MA. He has worked in the fishing industry hanging nets, crewing boats of various gear-types, and commercially shellfishing. He received a degree in International Relations from Elon University with a focus on Social Justice and International Trade.
Prior to NAMA Brett worked as an advocate and community organizer in Brooklyn NY, fighting in housing court for low-income tenants and organizing campaigns around immigrant and human rights. He wrote and produced an award-winning documentary about the migrant experience along the U.S./Mexico border titled, "Dying to Get In". He was also selected to the We Are All Brooklyn Fellowship Program and completed the Rockwood Leadership Institute's 'Art of Leadership' program.
“Local fishermen and fishing communities are disproportionately left out of the policy decisions that impact their lives. This undermines our coastal communities, the health of the ocean, access to healthy food, and ensuring a fair price to fishermen. We can do better. I envision a future where fishing families have a level playing field and where they are celebrated for their role in protecting the health of the ocean as well as their role in feeding people. I envision fishing families cross-collaborating with other peoples' movements for justice and where people of all incomes have access to healthy and locally caught seafood," says Brett.
Recently Brett spoke at the United Nations Oceans Conference.
Cynthia Bush, Finance Coordinator and Program Associate
Cynthia Bush joins NAMA's team as the Finance Coordinator and Program Associate providing NAMA with Finance Management and Organizational Development. She comes to us from Gloucester, Massachusetts where she lives on the shoreline.
She has experience in business management including finance, human resources, customer service and program management. In addition, Cynthia’s experience in fundraising and event planning is an asset to NAMA. She has organized and participated in events for energy conservation organizations, along with administering and planning events in the private and public sectors. Her background makes Cynthia a resource that NAMA is pleased to have on our team.
In 2010, Cynthia moved to Gloucester wanting to be closer to the ocean, her source of energy is revived by the sea every morning and night when walking along the shoreline. She finds that it doesn’t matter what your day puts on your lap, just being by the ocean is so soothing and replenishes all energies exhausted from the day.
She enjoys being by the ocean, friends, family and music of all kinds; her greatest accomplishment is raising her three children and marveling at who they have become: a very proud Mama.
El Snow, Digital Organizer
El (they/them) is NAMA's digital organizer, which involves collaborating with NAMA's networks to form a digital voice for NAMA as well as managing social media and press coverage that amplifies our movement.
Elliott's journey with NAMA started in 2018 when they interned for both NAMA and National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) in the America the Bountiful tour. During the tour Elliott had a chance to talk with both farmers and fishermen from 53 primarily rural communities spanning east, west, and gulf coasts, which is where their passion for the food system seriously took root.
Elliott has a background in marine science and has been drawn to ocean ecosystems from an early age. They have also been involved in committees regarding transgender rights.
They hope to use their passion for both human rights and love for the ocean in all their work.
Jennifer Halstead, Program Assistant
Jennifer (she/her) is NAMA's Program Assistant. While she is involved with several projects, Jennifer works closely with One Fish Foundation as well as Slow Fish and is their Zoom Guru for their current webinar series.
Categorizing herself as a lifetime learner, Jennifer has previously studied at Great Bay Community College, where she obtained her associate's, University of New Hampshire, where she focused on marine and freshwater biology, and is currently finishing her bachelor's degree at Southern New Hampshire University.
Prior to NAMA, Jennifer completed several marine-centered research projects throughout her studies with support from NH EPSCoR and NH SeaGrant. She also spent time on the team at NERACOOS, focusing on the NECAN project, and worked in a water quality lab on Great Bay in NH. After spending time at Shoal's Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island, Jen shifted her focus to sustainable fisheries.
In her downtime, Jen can usually be found painting, but also enjoys videos games, and spending time outdoors, primarily on the rocky coastlines of Maine and New Hampshire, with her partner Alex, and their handsome dog, Hugo.
Jon Russell, Food Justice Organizer
Jon (he/him) is NAMA's Food Justice Organizer. he's focusing on supporting the fights of BPOC food providers and movement building to bring more folks into supporting BIPOC resistance. Jon was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and eventually found his way up to Boston, MA (Wampanoag and Massachusett land). In the 5 years Jon has lived in Boston he has spent his time within the music and food/land justice communities.
To Jon, music and activism should be no different. Jon tries to blend the worlds together because if we're trying to build what we want our futures to be, there's not future without art, and art is the vanguard of resistance. In 2019 Jon worked with Rochester City Ballet to created a piece reflecting the trauma induced by modern Individualism called, Tunnel Vision, which he was the composer. He's also in a band The C.O.M.P (Cultures of Mixed People), where they write about the mixed race experience and use it to amplify the message for Black Liberation and Indigenous Sovereignty.
Between performing music at protests, creating shows to raise funds for Palestinian farmers, using their music to radicalize and energize their audiences The C.O.M.P keeps busy in the local organizing scene. Jon has organized actions in Boston around Food/Land justice, Palestinian and Black liberation, Indigenous Sovereignty, and the Climate Crisis.
To end, Jon wants to share a section of lyrics from The C.O.M.P's song 'Come With Us'
Don't let those underneath your skin
Or the, colors within you
There's so many shades
We can see
We're so much more than just the skin they see
We'll keep on fighting till we all get Free
Niaz Dorry, Coordinating Director
Niaz (she/her) moved to Gloucester, Massachusetts - the oldest settled fishing port in the U.S. - in 1994 when she decided to work on fisheries issues. She has been a community organizer for over 30 years working on environmental, social, and economic justice issues. The life changing moment came in 1994 when as a Greenpeace campaigner she switched from organizing in communities fighting for environmental justice to organizing fishing communities. From the start she recognized the similarities between family farmers’ fight for a more just and ecologically responsible land-based food system and that of community-based fishermen fighting to fix the broken sea-based food system.
She has been serving as NAMA's coordinating director since 2008. One of the first things NAMA did after Niaz took the helm was to join the National Family Farm Coalition as its first non-farming member. The two organizations entered into an innovative shared-leadership model on May 1, 2018, putting Niaz in the new role of serving the work of both organizations and further cementing the relationship and interdependence between land and sea.
Time Magazine named Niaz as a Hero For The Planet for her work with small-scale, traditional, and indigenous fishing communities to fight against the corporate takeover of the ocean and privatization of the marine environment and fishing rights. Niaz' work and approach have been noted in a number of books including Against the Tide; Deeper Shade of Green; The Spirit's Terrain; Vanishing Species; The Great Gulf; Swimming in Circles; A Troublemaker's Teaparty; Zugunruhe: The Inner Migration To Profound Environmental Change; Raising Dough: Public History and the Food Movement; The Complete Guide to Financing a Socially Responsible Food Business; Blue Urbanism: Exploring Connections Between Cities and Oceans; and, The Doryman's Reflection.
Rosanna Marie Neil, Policy Counsel
Rosanna (she/her) serves as Policy Counsel at the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance and helps to lead NAMA's ocean, fisheries and food policy work. Her advocacy work involves managing relations with congressional offices and collaborating with allies to address a range of issues, including industrial fish farming, seafood fraud, and economic impacts of fisheries policies on independent fishermen.
Previously, Rosanna directed a nonprofit program called the Sustainable World Initiative, where she was actively involved in advocacy at the United Nations on human rights and environmental policy, and played an influential role in shaping the global development agenda. Earlier in her career, she worked in private practice for several years, specializing in commercial litigation, international trade, international arbitration, and antitrust and competition, while maintaining a robust docket of pro bono cases. She also completed a year-long public interest fellowship at a civil rights organization.
Rosanna earned a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Howard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. During her legal studies, Rosanna was deeply engaged in international human rights and gained substantial clinical experience, including civil rights advocacy in Argentina, aboriginal rights advocacy in Australia, and anti-apartheid litigation in South Africa.
Boyce Thorne-Miller, Science Advisor Emeritus
Boyce is a marine ecologist who led NAMA’s collaborative work on science and policy starting in 2008 and stayed with us through a crucial period of NAMA's transition and growth as an invaluable member of our team. During that time, she works with scientists, social scientists, fishermen, and fishing community members who were promoting the use of the best science in fisheries management decisions and the incorporation of spatial and scale considerations into the science informing fisheries management in New England.
She worked for several international and national environmental organizations on marine pollution, at-sea waste disposal, marine biodiversity, the precautionary principle, aquaculture, marine protected areas, and the Endangered Species Act. She has served on government and NGO delegations in international treaties, expert working groups, and other intergovernmental forums.
Boyce has authored/co-authored four books on marine biodiversity, as well as book chapters and papers on the application of the precautionary principle to international maritime law and fisheries. She has an MS in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island. For her work with NAMA, she moved between New England and Washington, DC. Since moving to California and technically retired, she continues to collaborate with diverse audiences to expand her own knowledge base and contribute to theirs and the community.