Local Fishing Co-ops, Businesses, Activists and Citizens Declare Start of New Summer Campaign to Save the Ocean

Belford, NJ – Today, New Jersey residents, environmental advocates and business owners gathered at the East coast’s oldest fishing co-op to announce the start of Clean Ocean Action’s summer 2010 campaign to raise awareness about ocean pollution issues. The newly expanded C.O.A.S.T. (Clean Ocean Action Shore Tips) campaign, run by volunteers every summer on New Jersey beaches, will also incorporate the efforts of several local businesses, like Brahma Yoga Spa of Sea Bright, whose owner, Lisa Aquino, was there to announce their participation in the program. Commercial fishermen Jim Lovgren of Fishermen’s Dock Co-op in Pt. Pleasant, Joe Brennen, the manager of the Belford Fishing Co-op, and Roy Dielh, President of the Belford Fishing Co-op also spoke about the importance of a clean, healthy ocean to their billion-dollar industry.

“If there’s one thing that the C.O.A.S.T. campaign must do this summer, it’s get people out of their beach chairs,” said Anna Tweten, 2010 C.O.A.S.T. Coordinator, Clean Ocean Action. “I know that there is only one ocean, that it has only one future, and that we must fight to preserve it. Be the one to help your ocean.”

“The time is now for us to pump up the volume to defend out ocean.  Though it is big and vast, it is vulnerable and clearly showing signs of stress: ocean acidification, a contaminated food chain, plastic infestation, industrialization, and now BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf.  The ocean sustains all life—if we want to survive, we must get serious about ocean protection.  Our best step forward is the Clean Ocean Zone,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. “We all have the power to make a difference; this campaign seeks to inspire people to stand up for the ocean, “she added.

“Preservation of our coastal environment and preventing the harmful effects that certain industries may have the environment is of the utmost importance,” said Will Flanagan, representing Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-D-S). “The Clean Ocean Zone bill will ensure that the waters off are coast are safe from further ocean dumping, new sources of pollution are prohibited and that clean waters come before the profits of dirty energy companies which would put our resources at stake.  This is all done in a responsible manner that balances the interests of all of those in our community.”

“The tragedy in the Gulf is a harsh wake up call. This oil soaked slap in the face reminds us how vulnerable the ocean and the life in it are.” said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director, American Littoral Society. “New Jersey’s coastal ocean is as rich as the Gulf of Mexico, providing a home to fish, sea turtles, whales, dolphins and seabirds. We must act now to avoid a future where New Jersey’s television screens are filled with images of dead dolphins and turtles, and oil soaked birds struggling for life. We must say ‘No to offshore drilling’ today, before we invite a similar catastrophe to our shores.”

“New Jersey’s economy is dependent on fishing,” said Jim Lovgren, Manager of Fishermen’s Dock Co-op in Pt. Pleasant Beach, “it’s a one billion dollar industry.” “We may see the oil spill, it may come up to New Jersey. The right currents will bring it here,” he added.

Joe Brennen, Manager of the Belford Fishing Co-op, said of New Jersey’s fishing industry: “I don’t know how much more we can take.” “All that the government is doing is following big money. I hope that with Clean Ocean Action’s efforts, the Clean Ocean Zone bill stops big money and big industry coming and ruining the ocean.” he also said.

Belford Fishing Co-op President Roy Diehl said that if New Jersey allows facilities proposed by the Liquefied Natural Gas industry to be built, it would be the “final nail in the coffin” for the state’s commercial fishing industry. “I don’t want it, and nobody wants it,” he added.