West Marine hands out conservation grants

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In honor of World Oceans Day on Saturday, West Marine announced the recipients of its annual Marine Conservation Grants program.

Grants are being awarded to organizations throughout the United States and Canada that are working to “improve and protect marine habitat,” which West Marine says is a key part of its mission. The retailer said it upped the grants to $40,000, rather than a previously announced $30,000, because there was an abundance of worthwhile projects.

The grants are a component of West Marine’s BlueFuture initiative. The focus of this year’s awards is on projects that enhance marine habitat, engage anglers in data collection and educate them about barotrauma. The 13 recipients are based in Massachusetts, Florida, Washington, Louisiana, California, Hawaii and British Columbia.

The grant recipients are:

• Gloucester, Mass. — Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries

• Kingston, Mass. — The Jones River Watershed Association

• Sanford, Fla. — The Snook & Gamefish Foundation’s Angler Action Program

• Miami — Coastal Angler Science Team

• Jacksonville, Fla. — TISRI

• Bellingham, Wash. — Coastal Conservation Association North Sound

• Covington, La. — Recreational Fisheries Research Institute

National Marine Sanctuary “Classic” in California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Washington, Massachusetts, Michigan and Hawaii, produced by The Sportfishing Conservancy.

• Central Coast, Calif. — Coastside Fishing Club

• Petaluma, Calif. — Golden Gate Salmon Association

• Honolulu — Pacific Islands Fisheries Group

• Concord, Calif. — Water4Fish

The grants are awarded through a formal application process in which organizations are required to submit their proposal directly to West Marine. All applications are reviewed by the Marine Conservation Action Team.

Since 1994, West Marine has donated nearly $5 million to organizations that support youth boating, boating safety and the marine environment.

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