FishNet-USA – What do you do with it?

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Nils Stolpe

I know that a lot of commercial fishing industry people receive FishNet-USA, but I don’t have a solid handle on what gets done with it after it’s received. I hope that you all read it. I know that some of you do because I’ll get an email or two after every issue complimenting me on it, but I don’t have much of an idea what happens after that. Accordingly I’ve put this note together to let you know what I think you should do with it after you read it – assuming that you agree with at least some of what I’ve written, and that you’d like to have other folks read it.

First, and in my estimation most importantly, federal legislators should be made aware of positions on various issues which you and I agree on. But the probability of a Member of Congress sitting down and wading through several thousand words on fish and fishing is approaching zero. They pay their staff for that.

The probability of a Congressional staffer reading anything not coming from a constituent is almost as low.

That’s where you should focus. First off, you should know who your Senators and Representative are. That’s easy. For Senators go to and for your Representative go to Then call each of their offices (either state, district or DC) and ask to speak to the staffer who handles fishing/environmental issues. When you get to the right staffer introduce yourself, tell him or her where you live, where you work, what you do, and that occasionally issues come up that you want the Congressman/woman or Senator to be informed about. Ask for the staffers’ email address, then forward relevant information you are concerned with – like Magnuson reauthorization – to him or her with a note that you’d like to discuss the issue via a phone call (and include your phone number and address).

For example, consider our coastal and inshore waters crisscrossed by a network of electrical cables, each of which comes with its very own electromagnetic field. Consider that many of our coastal critters – invertebrates, amphibians, fish and marine mammals – migrate every year. Consider that there are very few marine species for which we have the slightest understanding of the importance of the earth’s (undisturbed) magnetic field for their migrations. Then finally, consider that in spite of almost zero knowledge of the impacts induced electromagnetic fields will have on these migrations, permits are regularly being granted for inshore and offshore power generation and the accompanying power grids (I’ll note here that construction of the windmill installation off Cape Cod hasn’t been stopped for environmental reasons, but because of politics and economics).

Is this something that we should sit back and accept or should we be demanding that the same precautionary approach be applied to ocean energy developments as NMFS and the ENGOs demand that fishermen apply to fisheries?

Establishing a personal relationship with appropriate staffers and then “imposing” on them (don’t worry, that’s what they are there for) is the most effective way of getting a Federal Legislators attention – and it’s also something that few other people can do as meaningfully as you can*, but please be selective with the issues you contact them about. And also, if you get the idea that they aren’t going to be interested in reading three or four (or more) pages of fish stuff, put together a brief synopsis focusing on how you and their other constituents will be affected and get that to them.**

*Without singling him out, from my Congressman, Ron Desantis representing Florida’s 6th Congressional District, “I value all feedback from residents of the 6th Congressional District of Florida.” What this is generally taken to mean is that if you’re not a potential registered voter in my district or a well-connected lobbyist, don’t bother me or my staff. Every Member’s website that I’m familiar with asks for similar information.

You should do the same thing with reporters, producers, etc. who cover fishing/ocean issues in the print and broadcast media. At this point they are all looking for issues. They’ve got 24 hours a day of space/time to fill (and if it’s controversial, so much the better).

The people and the organizations who are working against your interests have a lot of resources, a lot of time, and a lot of influence with the pols, the media and the public. We could have as well, but we’re only going to if more industry people make a concerted effort to do so.

**In early January I’ll be looking for more sponsors for FishNet so that I’ll be able to prepare and distribute a few hundred words on each issue for distribution via PR Newswire – which goes to thousands of media people. It’s a bit expensive but definitely worth it. I’ve also got a FishNet USA Twitter Account and Facebook page and intend to begin using them to get more people interested in what I write. I’m hoping that with a 260 character Tweet I can get readers to the PR Newswire article or the FishNet USA Facebook page which should entice some of them to download and read the full FishNet USA piece, but it’s going to take some increased support to do all of that.

Like always, this is going to be largely up to you. It’s you who the people in Washington are supposed to be representing need to communicate with directly.
You’ll be hearing more about this early in 2018.
Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year.
Nils E. Stolpe
FishNet USA

Ps – I’ve put together a bunch of stuff I’ve written over the last two decades, It isn’t properly indexed yet but it’s all available at . You can get to issues you’re interested by using your PDF reader’s “search” function to find specific topics.