Written by Adrianne Madden
August 19, 2011
Retail giant Walmart announced this week (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/08/17/18688041.php) that it invested some $36 million to a variety of environmental initiatives in 2010 with an eye towards supporting ocean privatization efforts via catch shares programs and networks of marine protected areas.
If there is a silver lining to the Walmart announcement, it is this: Recreational and commercial fishermen are standing together in condemning the retail giant's move.
The Recreational Fishing Alliance strongly criticized Walmart's announcement. In fact, RFA executive director Jim Donofrio says anglers should boycott Walmart.
"The Walton family created this huge corporate entity that has threatened the vibrancy of our local retail outlets," he told San Francisco-based Bay Area Indymedia, "and now they're essentially doing the same thing with our fishing communities. Much like Safeway has done with their financial investment in the environmental business community, Walmart apparently prefers customers buy farm-raised fish and seafood caught by foreign countries outside of U.S. waters, while denying individual anglers the ability to head down to the ocean to score a few fish for their own table."
Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, welcomed the RFA's comments.
"The privatization of public trust resources in the antithesis of conservation," Grader told IndyBay. "I've been boycotting Walmart for decades and it's absolutely great that recreational and commercial fishermen are together on this."
Imagine that — commercial and recreational fishermen hanging together on important marine conservation issues. Relations between the two sectors haven't always been cordial, but it's good to see them increasingly reaching across the aisle, so to speak. Republicans and Democrats in Congress who are more concerned with party platforms than actually acting for the greater good could learn something from the fishing community.
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