Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today commended President Clinton for writing a new page in history by designating Saturday, November 21, 1998 the first-ever "World Fisheries Day." "This declaration is an opportunity for us to recognize, on an international stage, the importance of conservation and preservation of the world's oceans and their marine life in this, the International Year of the Ocean," Rep. Pelosi said.
In the Bay Area, commercial fishing is a $30-$50 million industry. There are, however, concerns that marine fisheries and the livelihood of our local fishermen are in jeopardy because of non-sustainable fishing practices. "In 1995 and 1996 the U.N. reported that world fisheries were under attack, either by over fishing or habitat loss due to pollution or other factors. It should be obvious that we cannot allow this environmental tragedy to continue. It threatens our natural resources and the local economy," Pelosi said.
Rep. Pelosi initiated a letter to President Clinton, signed by 17 of her colleagues, urging the President to make the World Fisheries Day declaration. Among those who signed the letter were Bay Area Reps. George Miller, Anna Eshoo and Lynn Woolsey. "We appreciate the support of Congresswoman Pelosi and the White House in recognizing fishermen who use responsible fishing methods and harvest in a sustainable way so that consumers can benefit from the ocean's bounty," said Pietro Parravano, President of the San Francisco-based Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations.
The Federation has been coordinating a donation of fresh fish to area food banks and shelters in order to mark the observance of World Fisheries Day. It will distribute donations on Saturday.
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