Loss of a Steward of the Marine Resource - Steve Sloan
by John T. Koegler
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association June 2005 Newsletter)
Steve Sloan a noted sportsman and environmental activist passed away on April 28, 2005. He is survived by his loving wife Nannette (Nancy). They had two children, Suzanne and Robert.
He was an avid and skilled angler. He accumulated 44 IGFA certified world fish records, an achievement not likely to ever be broken. In 1966 he was the first person to take a world record qualifying bluefin tuna on a fly rod.
He had a special regard for the oceans of the world and the impact of humans on the oceans. He gave freely of his time to many groups that dealt with ocean issues. He was an appointed advisor to the US ICCAT Advisory Board representing recreational interests. He was included in the official party to the ICCAT’s annual meeting for many years. In those years when he was not part of the official party he paid his own way to represent anglers’ interests. He was a member of The Marine Advisor Fishery Commission which was chartered by Congress to advise the National Marine Fisheries Service. He served one term as Chairman of this group. He was Adjunct Professor of Marine biology at the Rosenstiel school of Marine and Atmospheric sciences at the University of Miami.
He was a comrade in arms with many groups having participated in many battles with NMFS and the US Corps of Engineers. It must be noted that most battles he was part of were settled in a victory for the position he supported. He was a long-time supporter of JCAA. He was a director of the International Game Fish Association. He served for many years on The Billfish Foundations board of directors. He was a member of the board of directors of The Recreational Fishing Alliance. He created The Fisheries Defense Fund to provide the resources needed to force government agencies into Federal Court when it was clear they were not following the law that congress created. He was host of a weekly syndicated radio show named “The Fishing Zone.” He was a member of one of the world’s most famous fishing clubs located at the southern tip of Manhattan, close to Wall Street.
He was the author of four books. His best-known book was “Ocean Bankruptcy.” In this book he described how the world’s fisheries were on the brink of disaster. This book documented how the politics of commercial fishing, not the fishermen nor the markets or destructive commercial gear, was the greatest problem facing ocean life as he had known it. Steve’s research for this book proved that the ocean’s resources and fisheries were being depleted three times faster than was being reported by government agencies worldwide. The foreword for his book was written by noted scientist Dr. Sylvia A. Earle.
In Steve’s last book, “Thanatopfish,” he asks that people remember ten letters that he believed would save the oceans from destruction, FIFO, FRB and VMS. He asks that the world’s fishing nations learn and support:
FIFO- First In, First Out
All fishermen must learn to market what they catch. Bycatch is a major ocean survival issue. In some commercial fisheries their discards are up to 9 times the weight of species targeted and sold. The oceans cannot survive such an assault. Everything that is landed must be sold and not discarded. The fishermen, dealers and retail outlets must work together to sell all the species landed by fishermen.
FRN- Fish Recovery Bonds
He asks that we find a way to compensate fishermen for not fishing so that they do not lose their way of life and everything they have worked for. Bonds that pay fishermen in the lean time could be paid for in good times. He notes that all fisheries have cycles and that in down cycles there are too many fishermen. Compensate fishermen for not fishing in the poor years and the ocean’s abundance will return the investment.
VMS- Vessel Monitoring Systems
He believed if fishery managers know where fishermen are, they can impose real time controls and protect the ocean’s resources.
A true companion in arms who fought the agencies and managers who if not deterred would permit the destruction of the world’s oceans. Many thanks for Steve’s endeavor to make a real difference in ocean issues and its management. He leaves a challenge to future generations to conserve and replenish our ocean’s resources. Best Wishes and Tight Lines as you sail into the tide.
The family asked that any donations be made to “Fisheries Defense Fund”, 1040 -1st. Ave. Suite 367 New York, NY 10022.