Fisherman To Boycott Walmart!

Several fishing clubs and groups are asking members to boycott Walmart based on the below:
WALMART MAY SOON BEGIN TO FEEL ANGLER BACKLASH
RFA Said Nationwide Protests Against Walton Family Are Expected
WAL-MART GIVES $36 MILLION TO ANTI-FISHING GROUPS RFA Says Walton Family Foundation Supports MPA & Catch Share Efforts
August 17, 2011 – Wal-Mart announced this week its efforts to help fund the demise of both the recreational and commercial fishing industry while also working to ensure that the next generation of sportsmen will have less access to coastal fish stocks than at any point in U.S. history.
In August 16th news release from Wal-Mart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Walton Family Foundation announced investments totaling more than $71.8 million awarded to various environmental initiatives in 2010, with over $36 million alone handed over to Marine Conservation grantees including Ocean Conservancy, Conservation International Foundation, Marine Stewardship Council, World Wildlife Fund and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
According to the release, the Walton Family Foundation “focuses on globally important marine areas and works with grantees and other partners to create networks of effectively managed protected areas that conserve key biological features, and ensure the sustainable utilization of marine resources – especially fisheries – in a way that benefits both nature and people.”
Scott Burns, former director of marine conservation at World Wildlife Fund and now director of Walton Family Foundation’s environmental efforts, said money will go to “protect and conserve natural resources while also recognizing the roles these waters play in the livelihoods of those who live nearby.” The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) countered that these specially managed areas of coastal waters are also referred to as marine protected areas or marine reserves, and the end result is denied angler access, of no benefit to the very people whom Wal-Mart claims to benefit.
“A quick visit to the Ocean Conservancy website should be telling enough for anglers interested in learning where Wal-Mart’s profits are being spent,” said RFA executive director Jim Donofrio. “These folks are pushing hard to complete California’s network of exclusionary zones throughout the entire length of coastline, and they’ve made it very clear that they would like to see the West Coast version of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) extended into other coastal U.S. waters,” he said.
The release said that targeted marine areas moving forward include Indonesia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico.
“Here’s an organization which has publicly opposed creation of artificial reefs used by Wal-Mart’s tackle buyers, in some cases openly advocating for their removal, yet the Walton family is handing over tons of money for support,” Donofrio said of Ocean Conservancy in particular.
“Shopping for fishing equipment at Wal-Mart is contributing directly to the demise of our sport, it’s supporting lost fishing opportunities and decreased coastal access for all Americans,” Donofrio said, adding “I hope all RFA members across the country will remember that when it’s time to gear up, but I would also wonder if perhaps our industry can help spread the message and support our local tackle shops by also pulling product off Wal-Mart’s shelves.”
In April, RFA announced its support of a national boycott of the Safeway Supermarket chain (which also includes Genuardi’s in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware) because of that corporation’s support for California’s MLPA initiative. “Apparently Safeway has gotten some bad advice from the people in the ocean protection racket, a community to which the California-based mega-corporation is now donating profits,” said Jim Martin, West Coast Regional Director of the RFA. “Safeway says it is supporting groups that make a difference like the Food Marketing Institute’s Sustainable Seafood Working Group, the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions and the World Wildlife Fund’s Aquaculture Dialogues, but it’s little more than corporate greenwashing.”
RFA believes it’s time that Wal-Mart was added to the angler boycott list as well.
“The Walton family created this huge corporate entity which has threatened the vibrancy of our local retail outlets, and now they’re essentially doing the same thing with our fishing communities,” Donofrio said. “Much like Safeway has done with their financial investment in the environmental business community, Wal-Mart apparently prefers customers buy farm-raised fish and seafood caught by foreign countries outside of U.S. waters, while denying individual anglers the ability to head down to the ocean to score a few fish for their own table.”
According to the official release, the Walton Family Foundation is also working “to create economic incentives for ocean conservation,” while candidly pledging their support for “projects that reverse the incentives to fish unsustainably that exist in ‘open access fisheries’ by creating catch share programs.”
“Our local outfitters and tackle shops along the coast have had to face an immense challenge by going up against Wal-Mart’s purchasing power during the last decade, but now that the Walton family is so up front about their opposition to open access fisheries, it’s hard for me to believe that any sportsmen would ever be interested in shopping there again,” Donofrio said.
“California anglers have been outraged to learn that money they spend at a Safeway grocery store might end up in the hands of extremist, anti-fishing groups like the EDF and the Ocean Conservancy, I hope more anglers will join the national boycott by sending a message to Wal-Mart as well as Safeway,” Martin added.
According to the Walton Family Foundation website, Sam and Helen Walton launched their “modest retail business in 1962” with guiding principle of helping “increase opportunity and improve the lives of others along the way.” It is that principle the foundation says, that makes them “more focused than ever on sustaining the Walton’s timeless small-town values and deep commitment to making life better for individuals and communities alike.”
RFA said grassroots efforts to combat the anti-fishing agenda are more than just an uphill climb. “The EDF catch share coffers are already filled to the top, while Pew Charitable Trusts has billions in reserve,” Donofrio said. “When you add another $36 million annual commitment from the Walton family each year, I can’t see how our local efforts can get anywhere unless the national manufacturers step up and openly denounce this corporate takeover once and for all.”
“The individual anglers and local business owners are being denied opportunity, and I hope the federal trade representatives are willing to get onboard with their support of real small-town values,” Donofrio said, adding that Ocean Conservancy and EDF combined received more than $10 million in Walton Family Foundation grants in 2010.Here is more!
WALMART MAY SOON BEGIN TO FEEL ANGLER BACKLASH
RFA Said Nationwide Protests Against Walton Family Are ExpectedAugust 19, 2011 – The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) says angler and business response to the group’s call for a nationwide Wal-Mart boycott have been overwhelming, to the point that coastal communities can expect to see some grassroots protest begin very soon outside of their local Wal-Mart corporate chain location.
“We’ve had calls of support from both coasts, even from a few Midwest bass fishermen, our nation’s anglers are extremely agitated by the Walton Family Foundation’s actions,” said RFA executive director Jim Donofrio. “When you spend your hard-earned money on fishing tackle only to learn that the profits are being used to close down fishing access, it gets folks justifiably upset.”Earlier this week, RFA called on an angler boycott of Wal-Mart after learning that the Walton Family Foundation had awarded more than $36 million to groups like Ocean Conservancy, Conservation International Foundation, Marine Stewardship Council, World Wildlife Fund and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), in support of marine protected areas and catch share programs. Coincidentally, the Walton Family Foundation announcement came the same day that Wal-Mart stores’ CEO announced to shareholders a 5.5% increase in net sales to $108.6 billion.While RFA said it received hundreds of positive responses literally overnight in support of the national boycott, there was opposition from at least two supporters of blanket marine reserves.”One gentleman emailed to say he’d gladly give up fishing today so that his great-grandkids will know what a fish looks like tomorrow,” Donofrio said, adding “the problem of course is that these groups who want to get us off the water today don’t want us on the water tomorrow either. The real sacrifice for our future fishermen is from those who are willing to fight right now for open access while it’s under direct threat by anti-fishing efforts.””The fishing community supports conservation, but we’re not willing to accept preservation, exclusion or privatization,” Donofrio added.RFA said the EDF public relations department was also quick to respond in defense of their $7,086,054 Walton Family Foundation donation. According to Tom Lalley, communications director for EDF’s Oceans Program (and RFA’s newest Twitter follower at http://www.twitter.com/joinrfa), the money being contributed by Wal-Mart to close down oceans and privatize fisheries is actually coming from Wal-Mart’s owners and stockholders, not the store itself. “The contribution was made by the Walton Family Fund and not Wal-Mart,” Lalley said, calling the two entities different.”The fund’s money comes from private holdings of the same Waltons who started and managed Wal-Mart, but none of the money comes from the existing company,” Lalley explained, adding “it was the family, and specifically the family’s foundation, that made a contribution for sustainable fishing and ocean conservation, and not the store.”According to RFA managing director Jim Hutchinson, Jr., the marketing executives at EDF are some of the best in the ‘astroturfing’ business, but he calls Lalley’s claims almost comical. “So I leave you a $1,000 bill in the cereal aisle at Wal-Mart, tucked under a box of sugar coated corn flakes, does that mean that Wal-Mart actually gave you the $1,000, or maybe EDF would argue it was really a contribution from Tony the Tiger himself,” Hutchinson laughed.”The heirs to the corporate fortune have spent two decades successfully building back their stake in this publicly held company to the point they now own over 50% of the Wal-Mart operation. The Walton Family Foundation is Wal-Mart, and the Walton family itself is making billions in our local communities, so to say that the two are separate entities is simply ridiculous. Actually expecting us to believe that statement is borderline insanity,” Hutchinson said.RFA is reminding anglers who are interested in organizing grassroots protests outside their local Wal-Mart store to consult with local authorities first. “We encourage peaceful protest, but every municipality has its own rules and regulations regarding active protest,” said Donofrio.”If you’re interested in picketing outside of Wal-Mart to express your anger over their support of anti-fishing efforts, call the local police department first to explain what you’re doing and be sure to keep it respectful and follow the law,” Donofrio added.About Recreational Fishing Alliance The Recreational Fishing Alliance is a national, grassroots political action organization representing recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry on marine fisheries issues. The RFA Mission is to safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our Nation’s saltwater fisheries. For more information, call 888-JOIN-RFA or visit http://www.joinrfa.org.

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