Jon Gonzalez, the former president of the Ventura County Commercial Fishermen’s Association, has been hired to spearhead Pacific Seafood Group’s fisheries policy advocacy efforts, the company announced on 28 March.
Gonzalez’s journey to Oregon, U.S.A.-based Pacific Seafood, and the seafood industry in general, has been an interesting one – starting out as a graphic designer, Gonzalez was serving as the assistant director of the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center about a decade back when federal fish policy first beckoned him.
“I signed up to help stranded sea lions,” said Gonzalez, “and next thing I knew I was in the middle of a controversy between environmentalists and fishermen.”
“I discovered that there is a lot of misinformation out there, and that America’s fishing industry is filled with people who care deeply about the environment but also want to protect coastal jobs and communities,” Gonzalez explained.
Thereafter, Gonzalez’s advocacy attentions shifted to the commercial fishermen of California, and he started speaking on behalf of them via the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the State Legislature and in dozens of government and community forums. Gonzalez’s established website and blog, eatUSseafood.com, is “dedicated to protecting and promoting U.S. fisheries” and was launched with consultation from the Santa Barbara Sustainable Seafood Program to promote markets for domestically harvested seafood, according to Gonzalez.
“We spotted Jon’s passion,” Pacific Seafood General Counsel Dan Occhipinti said. “His talent and his dedication to promoting sustainably managed American fisheries—that’s what we’re all about. We are very excited to have him speak for Pacific Seafood.”