Nelson R. Beideman, also known as “Hammer”, spent his entire life as an avid commercial and recreational fisherman. During the latter part of his life he was also a powerful advocate for commercial fisheries, as an Incorporator, first President, and longest serving Executive Director of a prominent fishermen’s organization. He served on expert panels, testified before Congress, and represented the United States at international organizations.
Nelson had a progressive vision of building coalitions with all interested stakeholders to overcome challenges in fisheries with practical, responsible solutions. Sadly, he died in 2006 at age 53 and was unable to carry out much of that vision.
On July 4, 2015, the Nelson R. Beideman Center for Responsible Fisheries (“the Center”) was formed by Nelson’s surviving family to recognize the importance of responsibility in fisheries, both commercial and recreational, and to develop and implement his vision, in his name and in his honor.
Some of the initiatives that the Center will pursue are Nelson’s original ideas – ideas he had during his time at that commercial fisheries organization but was unable to implement because of other challenges facing that fishery. Other of the initiatives are outgrowths of his vision that meet today’s different challenges. The Center views fisheries in the broadest sense, from the fish in the water and the surrounding ecosystem, fishermen of all sectors, environmental stakeholders, scientists and other academic researchers, and the communities and support businesses that depend on vibrant, responsible fisheries.
The Center will work on positive initiatives intended to improve fisheries, raising the level of responsibility in them and making a difference in the lives of the people who care for and depend on them. This positive approach, with cooperation and collaboration among the various stakeholders, is welcomed, and even necessary, in today’s world.
Our goal is to keep our U.S. fisheries and infrastructure strong and productive while ensuring that fish stocks stay healthy. The U.S. needs to increase its production of seafood consumed domestically.
U.S. fishermen are held to the highest standards under our fisheries laws; our fisheries supply chain of custody is held to the highest standards under our food inspection and safety and labor regulations. American seafood consumers should be made aware of the need and advantages of buying U.S. harvested seafood.
Through collaboration with a spectrum of practical, positive, and forward thinking stakeholders, the Center intends to work together to make a real difference in the lives of all of the people, businesses, and communities that benefit from strong, sustainable, and responsible fisheries. In many areas, there is often more agreement than disagreement from the diversity of fishery stakeholders.
However, bringing together the wide spectrum of stakeholders from all interests in fisheries, from commercial and recreational fishermen and their respective supply chain businesses, environmental stakeholders, academic institutions, regulators at the local, state, and federal level, and elected officials is a challenge that must be carefully planned and executed. For this reason, the Center intends to begin “at the center”, with initiatives that all responsible stakeholders would support. It is important to reach out and build support “across the aisle” for our initiatives by encouraging unity and collaboration among stakeholder segments.