How We Work

Jennifer books

We are a fisherman-led organization working at the intersection of marine conservation and social, environmental, economic, and food justice. We focus on shifting seafood markets and policies while building community.

We do this primarily through the Fish Locally Collaborative (FLC), a decentralized, collaborative network we convened in 2008. This FLC is made up of an unprecedented and diverse network of food advocates, marine and fisheries scientists, social scientists, economists, new economy thinkers, local business advocates, chefs, faith-based organizations, food chain workers, healthcare institutions, fishing communities, coastal community advocates and fishermen nationally and internationally coming together under the umbrella of the FLC. It’s worth noting that our Community Supported Fisheries work has served as a major catalyst in the strength of the FLC.

We are excited to share with you the outcome of our newly finished strategic plan.

The birds, bees, and worms!

During our 2016 strategic planning retreat with our board of trustees, the narrative of our work was accompanied by a real-time drawing of our work. What emerged was a clear sense of three role that we play in the broader ecosystem within which we work:

  • The Birds: Bringing the 30,000 foot perspective to our movement and networks allows us to be forward thinkers, and visualize opportunities, synergies, and potential that maybe some of our allies and networks don’t see – yet. This perspective is what allowed us to broaden the networks that support the fishermen we work with and break the conversation around fisheries management and ecologically responsible seafood out of the glass walls of the fish tank where acronyms live and decisions are made for us by those who benefit from status quo.
  • The Bees: Be the pollinator and spread our narrative and work. Our broad perspective introduced us to key allies and networks who either didn’t have a position on fisheries and seafood or had a position that didn’t match their values. We brought connections, ideas, strategies, and action to their work, which in turn enabled them to support the fishing communities we work with and their calls for change.
  • The worms: Fortify our networks by embodying clear values that are reflected in our work and how we work. NAMA was created with a set of values. Over the past 20+ years our values served as our compass. As we have been developing new or nourishing existing ones, these values have ensured that we pair with the right people, networks, and organizations, and have also helped our allies coalesce around or develop similar values.

These three roles – big picture viewing, pollinating, and fortifying – are our strengths as an organization, individual staff, and our board of trustees.  What sets us apart from others are our roles combined with our values, as we have restated and reframed them in our new strategic plan, and our commitment to being servant leaders of the fishermen with whom we work.

Our new goals

Based on our new strategic plan, moving forward our work will focus on the following goals:

  • GOAL 1. Serve, grow, and expand the Fish Locally Collaborative, a Multi-Stakeholder, Decentralized Network as a backbone support to implement community based fishermen’s call for ecosystem and community based fisheries management and marine conservation strategies. (Pollinate and fortify)
  • GOAL 2. Nurture New Leaders in our networks and within fishing communities to prevent “aging out” – and burning out – and increase the sharing of work, wisdom, and experiences, ensuring that these new leaders are well supported, connected, and aligned around shared values, as well as taking action to advance a shared vision. (Big picture, pollinate, and fortify)
  • GOAL 3. Identify New Partners by continuously identifying key allies who are aligned with our values and vision but may be missing from our networks; build those relationships; act in solidarity; and, if/when appropriate, bring them into the Fish Locally Collaborative. (Visualize, pollinate, and fortify)
  • GOAL 4. Mind the Gaps by identifying areas of work or discussions that no one in the Fish Locally Collaborative or other networks is poised to lead; strategically step in with the intent to make sure the work is carried on effectively without NAMA staff in the future; and, ensure key strategies or opportunities don’t fall through the cracks. (Big picture)
  • GOAL 5. Ensure NAMA is a Well Governed, Managed, Funded, and Developed Organization that can support our networks and build a movement towards the changes we envision. After all if we don’t have a healthy organization we can’t support a healthy movement.