It’s not surprising that the present Abu Garcia doesn’t know about the original Garcia Corporation’s part in saving what was left of America’s marine resources after foreign fleets drove one species after another to levels so low that it wasn’t worth fishing for them any longer.

The devastation was so bad by the 1970s that party boats in the northeast could hardly catch any cod, haddock. mackerel, ling and whiting after huge trawlers filled their factory ships for processing. Since nothing was being done about that, I called a meeting of party and charter boat captains, conservationists and fishing club leaders that was held aboard the Palace II at Hoboken. We decided to form an organization called the Emergency Committee to Save America’s Marine Resources. As executive director of the all-volunteer group I called on Rep. Norman Lent (R-NY), and he introduced a 200-mile fisheries limit bill which we quickly gathered cosponsors for.

The path forward looked impossible as both the State and Defense departments didn’t want to “rock the boat” even though the greatest damage was by the Soviet Union and their Iron Curtain allies fishing as close as 12 miles offshore. Yet. I thought we could develop a massive letter writing campaign to Congress and create an overwhelming show of public support. Taking TV reporters offshore to view the huge fleets helped garner that public support within a few years. I was director of field testing for Garcia at the time and President Tom Lenk allowed us to use the office at Englewood Cliffs as our office along with the company postage. Membership grew, and our support in Congress escalated quickly. What had seemed like an impossible dream became reality in just a few years when President Ford signed The Magnuson Fishery Conservation & Management Act to go into effect on March 1, 1977.

Lenk had allowed me to take whatever time I needed in that effort, and continued that stance when I was appointed to the original Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

A small craft advisory is up through Thursday afternoon. Northwest winds at 15-20 knots plus gusts to 25 are forecast for the morning, though they diminish to 10-15 in the afternoon.

3 Comments

  1. Thank you for bringing  a mileage limit.  It must have taken a set of brass to proceed in changing to  the 200 mile harvest.

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  2. Thanks for sharing Al. Started following your column in the Ledger decades ago.  Lots of snow up here this week, Covid kept me out of Key West this winter. Regards Martin SmithSea Bright

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