Fishermen can be magnetic champions for the ocean. Just ask the senators who listened to Donny Waters at a US Senate hearing in April 2010. Invited by Senate staffers to put a fisherman on the witness panel, we picked Waters, a charismatic reef-fish harvester from Florida. U.S. Senators called him the “star of the show” (no small feat, considering that he testified next to Sigourney Weaver). A self-made man who wears cowboy hats and raises cattle in his spare time, Waters called ocean acidification “a devastating ghost lurking in the shadows.” He pressed lawmakers to support the science necessary to detect its hidden impacts and to begin reining in the CO2 emissions that drive this problem.
Again at the invitation of Senate staffers, we made sure dozens of fisheries leaders from nearly every coastal state got a chance to voice their views about the need to invest in research and monitoring to define the consequences of a souring ocean. They entered a letter into the record arguing that “seafood producers and consumers cannot afford to ‘whistle in the dark’ about these changes… Even for fisheries where no direct harm from acidification has yet been documented, the disturbing signs of trouble on the ‘front lines’ reveal a compelling case to prevent the impacts from spreading and growing more severe.”