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.

25+ National & State Orgs Urge Congress to Pass the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act

New letter explains why a merger moratorium is essential for stopping a monopoly free-for-all

As large corporations and predatory financiers seek to exploit the global pandemic and further concentrate their economic and political power, 27 national and state organizations today sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, urging them to include the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act in the next COVID-19 relief package. The organizations, which represent working people, economic and social justice advocates, antitrust leaders and more, emphasize the dangers of concentrated corporate power and warn of a coming merger wave financed with public money.

Hundreds of independent fishermen along with small and mid-sized seafood businesses across the country and their allies sent a letter to the Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Agriculture, and Congress urging for increased federal support for America’s fishing communities. Their message underscored growing concerns about the impacts of COVID-19 on small and mid-scale seafood producers and called on the Trump Administration and Congress to address the increasingly urgent situation facing fishing communities nationwide. The letter outlines several key recommendations that would enable fishing communities to weather the COVID-19 crisis and adapt to its abrupt and dramatic impacts on the seafood supply chain.

 

NAMA is one of 577 signatory organizations including energy and environmental justice groups, clean energy and anti-fossil fuel climate organizations, faith and community leaders, labor activists, health workers and physicians, and legal clinicians. 

It is more important than ever to stand with the millions of Americans saddled with mounting utility burdens as they now face essential utility shut-offs in these uncertain times. We recognize that there are many governors, mayors and utility commissions that have made the right choice regarding shut-offs, waiver of late payment fees and reconnections. However, we know that these moratoria are band-aids that do not address the inequities forcing socially marginalized communities to this breaking point in the first place. Moreover, not all moratoria are created equal; even the ones that have been implemented vary wildly in scope, duration, interconnection, and application. We must continue to demand robust and long-term protections. 

Through no fault of their own, farmers, ranchers, fishermen and all food producers are facing a crisis unlike any they have ever seen, encountering new threats to their production and markets sparked by COVID-19 while they endure a multi-year slump in prices for their goods, volatile trade disputes, frequent natural disasters, and climate disruption. What’s clear is that no farmer should lose their farm and no fisherman should lose their boat because of the crisis sparked by COVID-19, and farm, fish and food workers should likewise not lose their livelihoods.

Healthcare workers are heroically fighting the COVID-19 pandemic the best they can, improvising and innovating, despite federal disinvestment, the deprioritization of science, and a mentality of corporate profit over people. They are working tirelessly while putting their lives on the line -- as are food workers and food producers. Since the beginning of this crisis, while many of us have transitioned to stay home, they have remained hard at work to provide for our survival. Similar to the healthcare system, our food system has been radically underfunded and under prioritized, with corporations and profitization driving decision-making.

Two years ago, we ​applauded the conviction and sentencing of Carlos “Codfather” Rafael for seafood fraud and tax evasion, but warned about the risk that his assets would be sold to another seafood mogul or big corporation, leading to yet another single player controlling too much of the seafood supply chain and thus jeopardizing the integrity of the seafood economy and marine ecosystem. We recommended that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) seize all of Mr. Rafael’s boats and permits, and reallocate his fishing quota to a diverse range of fishermen across the New England region, excluding any individuals or entities that control an excessive share (2% or greater) of quota for any groundfish species. 

NAMA submitted comments in August 2019 to the New England Fishery Management Council for their Groundfish Catch Share Program Review, covering fishing years 2010-2015. Our conclusions are that the Council failed to protect fleet diversity, prevent excessive consolidation, and uphold democratic principles in the implementation of the catch share program.  

Thanks to our friends in the Farm to School Network, NAMA is supporting an exciting new Bill to create a farm (and sea!) to school grant program within the Massachusetts K-12 system. This Bill could set a precedent for other states and boost the role that school institutions play toward better seafood for all. Other businesses and organizations are encouraged to sign onto this letter of support.

Fishers, chefs, and seafood suppliers who need clean and healthy oceans to provide quality, nutritious seafood for our customers; tribal nations who hold the ocean ecosystem and its inhabitants as sacred; nonprofit organizations who fight to protect our environment; academics and researchers who study ocean health and conservation; and coastal communities and businesses who depend heavily on the ocean for our livelihoods and wellbeing write to the US Congress on their opposition to industrial marine finfish farming because it poses serious risks to our oceans, coastal communities, and public health. 

NAMA joins 52 other organizational allies in a joint letter to USDA as well as House and Senate Committees on Agriculture in support of small family-run dairy farms who are struggling to get a fair price for their products. The policies called for in this letter will help farmers provide fair wages to their workers and support the local economies of rural America.