Comments of support from David & Lucile Packard Foundation Program Officer, Mike Sutton, after participating in our one-of-a-kind forum:
It's not often that we see a forum with so many diverse and varied views. There was everybody from hard-core conservation advocates to fishermen to seafood lovers to retailers to restaurateurs and chefs. That's really unusual. Everyone pretty much agreed that we have a problem and we need to do something about it -- together. Environmentalism is no longer the radical fringe.
We have successfully infused environmentalism into the boardroom and onto the deck of fishing vessels. Likewise, the environmental community has to mature and realize that business is not the enemy anymore. We're beginning to realize that the solution is never going to be found in the extremes. Extreme right-wing industry folks -- they're never going to buy into this. Extreme left-wing conservationists aren't going to buy into this either. But the solution is to be found in the middle. It takes the whole spectrum to make something work -- in conservation, no less than anything else. And that's really what forums like this teach us. Healthy oceans are good for everybody. They're good for the environment and for conservationists, but they're also good for fishermen and chefs and restaurateurs who want to sell seafood and stay in business for the future, so we need to find ways to come together -- Initiatives like Passionfish and the Marine Stewardship Council, where industry is working hand-in-glove with the conservation community collaboratively.
Facilitators in dialogues like Passionfish's can usually make a lot more progress than the usual back-and-forth of advocacy. There's no substitute for personal dialogue. If we can get more information out there through forums like Passionfish's, it's got to be a good thing -- for the oceans and for all of us.