David Levy – A Message to Marinet Members on Independence from FOE – Jan 2014

Friends of the Earth published its Marine Review in December, see link

Now you know what I have been pondering over throughout 2013. The relationship with Friends of the Earth has not realised support for us as we envisaged. The case is laid before you, but in a sentence it boils down to this: Marinet campaigns on all aspects of marine ecological issues, and FOE is prepared only to be a single issue marine campaigning organisation.

This means we fundamentally disagree on approach.

The question now is whether you come to the same conclusion and are prepared, once we have answered your questions, to back our decision for an amicable parting of the ways.

You are in a very fortunate place. You now have an opportunity to belong both to an independent Marinet and to belong to FOE. Belonging to Marinet will not exclude you from FOE, and vice versa. The opportunity now exists for you to expand your involvement in marine issues, and you will be able to take your interest in local marine issues to both organisations.

Under my chairmanship we have based all of our campaigning on achieving positive results, and we have run some very astute campaigns. Building allies has been the most difficult aspect of our work. We have tended to choose established NGOs for developing the campaigns, but repeatedly the response from them has required us to campaign based on the lowest common denominator which exists between us – an approach that will always be insufficient and not fit for purpose.

Once we have a decision on independence then Marinet can step up, speak up and build new alliances with those more engaged with seeking solutions. The UK has much to learn from other countries in terms of the solutions; we will apply those solutions to our problems, and find other organisations that are on the same road as we are.

In the case of the collapsed sea bass fishery we have identified partners, overseas solutions and a strategy for this campaign which we believe will deliver. If we are successful here, then the logic is that it will impact on DEFRA, ICES and the EU’s CFP management of other fishery stocks – that is, if we can get past the bureaucracy of our government’s ministries. However, our campaign vision and strategy opens up a way for opportunities which involve locally administered solutions that could be delivered by regional Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs).

This gives an insight into new ways of thinking which I hope will be the future for Marinet.

The independent Marinet will be a membership run organisation relying on your generosity to fund the campaigns which we identify as having a need for urgency. We will always look to provide the answers, or work with others who can deliver the answers. We will seek political strength amongst those who are engaged, and we will apply leverage via their networks and our own when appropriate.

I look forward to the decision on independence which should be around April/May 2014. If you vote for us on this, I promise you an interesting journey.

David Levy
Marinet Chair

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