Protect our Ocean by Conserving Forage Fish Populations

Whether it’s TV, movies, or the evening news, the impression too often left with the American people is gridlock in Congress is the only thing that ever happens.  But the truth is that many important and more narrowly targeted bills are considered and passed while fights on larger issues consume the oxygen and attention of those that determine what is and is not news.

A prime example of a bipartisan bill that fits that profile and could significantly improve the health of ocean and coastal species and ecosystems was recently introduced. The Forage Fish Conservation Act (H.R. 2236) would amend America’s primary fish management and conservation statute, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), and apply its science-based approach management regime to forage fish populations.  Forage fish may be little known but are critical building blocks of the ocean ecosystem.  See this excellent fact sheet from National Audubon Society for more information.

On Friday, July 12 at 1:00-1:30 p.m. Eastern/10:00-10:30 a.m. Pacific, we will host the next Making Conservation Happen Webinar on the issue and opportunities around forage fish.  Please join us by clicking – Making Conservation Happen Webinar – to learn about examples of what zoos and aquariums are engaging on this important issue and a presentation on how you can join the National Audubon Society’s campaign to protect forage fish.

This series of webinars are designed to share ideas on how to engage your audiences on policy issues, either through educating your guests and/or featuring lobbying and advocacy activities allowed under the law.  Toward that end, we are very excited to be hosting a Conservation Engagement and Advocacy Skills Boot Camp on Saturday, September 7th at AZA’s 2019 Annual Conference in New Orleans.  The “boot camp” will be light on panels of talking heads and heavy on hands-on learning through breakout groups. You can sign up for the boot camp workshop when you register for the conference by clicking: AZA Conference Registration.

Zoos and aquariums have an unparalleled platform to engage on conservation because you lead with science which reinforces your strong credibility.  You are experienced at cultivating new supporters and partners throughout your community and have the means to disseminate information and ways to effectively help through multiple platforms and channels.  These are all skills of policy engagement campaigns and the Conservation Engagement and Advocacy Skills Boot Camp in New Orleans will help you become even more effective for conservation outcomes and impact!

The workshop will be relevant to staff working on (or interested in) government affairs including those in education, community outreach, policy, marketing, online communications, zookeepers and/or aquarists, especially those with forward-facing responsibilities with visitors and the public. Attendees will leave with an enhanced awareness of how their work connects to wildlife and conservation policy, better understanding of how to influence such policies, the skills needed to engage, and how to do so with little or no reallocation of resources while adding value to your institution’s brand. Multiple breakout sessions will allow participants to work with peers to problem solve while developing mock campaigns using a process-model you can take home and use. As a reminder, when you register for the AZA conference you can also sign up for the workshop in New Orleans!