Group calls Republican lawmaker ‘Ocean Enemy No. 1’


The advocacy group Ocean Champions has an advocate of its own in filmmaker and former marine biology professor Randy Olson.

Writing in the opinion pages of the New York Times, Olson supports the group’s strategy of identifying a member of Congress as “Ocean Enemy No. 1” and then doing all it can to seek that lawmaker’s defeat in the next election.

This year, Ocean Champions, which describes itself as the only political voice for the oceans, has targeted U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla.

“Congressman Southerland seems to believe that any attempt to conserve fish, protect critical habitat or simply balance short-term use of ocean resources with long-term sustainability violates his rights as a citizen,” the group said at its website.

Olson said the latest poll Ocean Champions has commissioned gives challenger Gwen Graham a slight lead.

In 2006, Olson said, Ocean Champions labeled California congressman Richard Pombo an “Ocean Enemy” and not only worked successfully for his defeat in that election, but also helped defeat him in 2010 when he tried to return to Congress.

Ocean Champions chairwoman Samantha Campbell told Olson that her group’s strategy is working.

“Just look at our record of accomplishments — we’ve backed 52 members who are now serving in the 113th Congress, we recently orchestrated a bipartisan effort to defeat legislative action that would have killed funding for a sustainable fishery program, and played a major role this summer in the passage of the first piece of freestanding ocean legislation this Congress — a bill to combat harmful algal blooms, hypoxia and dead zones,” she said.

Olson admits to being a big fan of Ocean Champions.

“So let me offer a view that will probably offend some conservation folks,” he said in his opinion piece. “I sometimes look at paralysis on marine conservation issues and think, ‘Why doesn’t someone just go to D.C. and fix this?’ Ocean Champions is one group I’ve seen over the past few decades that has really taken this sort of real-world philosophy and put it into action for the oceans.”


Wholesale Shipments Drop in September

NMMA: Easing supply chain constraints should enable more manufacturers to build boats.

Dealers: What’s Your 2021 Retail Outlook?

The monthly Pulse Report asks marine retailers to weigh in on November market conditions.

2020 On Track for More Than 300,000 Boat Registrations

It’s the highest number since 2007, when there were almost 400,000 boats registered for the year.

A United Industry Voice Impacts Summer Sales

The comprehensive collective effort of the Get on Board campaign was a key factor in generating boatloads of new customers.

Boating Writer Scholarship Now Open

The BWI Active Interest Media Boating Journalist Scholarship is now accepting applications through January 15. College students are encouraged to apply for the $3,000 scholarship.

Quick Hits: November 24, 2020

Bluewater Yacht Sales expands; ICOMIA issues yacht coatings guide; and Elcome expands forecasting services.

Iris Innovations Launches Garmin OneHelm Compatible Camera and Alarm Management System

The UK-based company’s new products allow users to manage all onboard cameras and alarms via Garmin MFDs.