Pew “too busy” to take up Coral Sea invite

Environmental group Pew’s Australian boss Imogen Zethoven has declined an invitation from Fisho to visit the Coral Sea – courtesy of Nomad Sport Fishing Adventures – to observe what responsible sportfishers actually do.

The invitation was issued by Fisho editor Jim Harnwell in a bid to help the US-based international environmental giant, which has come under fire from Australian angling groups and politicians for its no-compromise anti-fishing stance, find “common ground” with anglers. However, it has been rejected on the grounds that Zethoven is too busy. Harnwell received a polite decline to the Coral Sea invitation from Jay Nelson, Pew’s Director of Global Ocean Legacy, based in Alaska.

Harnwell said that it was a great pity the offer was rejected as “it would have provided [Pew with] an insight into how responsible and environmentally aware modern sportfishing is and it would also have demonstrated in a practical sense that well managed sportfishing activity need not have any detrimental effects on marine biodiversity in areas like the Coral Sea”.

Harnwell expressed concern that the Coral Sea knock-back meant that Pew would be attempting to influence political policies which would adversely affect Australian anglers without having any hands-on experience or knowledge of modern sportfishing techniques.

In declining the offer Nelson said “while I understand the spirit in which you made the offer, I am afraid her [Zethoven’s] work is much too pressing to allow time to join you”.

Some commentators Fisho has spoken to interpreted this to mean that Pew had no interest in working with anglers to develop proactive management plans for the Coral Sea.

“I hate the word elitist but there it is – you don’t have to read much at all into (Nelson’s) comment: we (Pew) have no time whatsoever to concern ourselves with recreational angling or other completely irrelevant fluvium …” one international angling pundit told Fisho after hearing that Pew had rejected the offer to witness firsthand responsible angling in the Coral Sea.

Nelson told Harnwell that Coral Sea fact finding offer was “appreciated” and that “we hope to maintain a dialogue with the recreational and game fish communities regarding the value of protected areas”.

Harnwell’s response was: “I’m am interested to hear that you are keen to ‘maintain’ a dialogue re Pew’s plans for Australia’s Coral Sea. To date we have been told what Pew wants to do in the Coral Sea. But there hasn’t been a dialogue as the emphasis on all discussion so far as been that it’s the Pew way or no way. IE, anything we say on the issue is completely disregarded and/or rejected.

“A pity as we doubtless could have worked proactively together for the benefit of our marine environment.”

Read Jim Harnwell’s last email to Pew’s Jay Nelson HERE.

To date, there has been no further response from Pew.

Fisho will keep you updated on any developments.

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