NOAA 2000-127
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gordon Helm
6/26/00

FOUNDER OF HAWAII FISHING FOUNDATION RECEIVES NOAA ENVIRONMENTAL HERO AWARD

Robert Endreson, founder of Hawaii Fishing Foundation and co-author of the Hawaii state legislation to ban the practice of shark finning, has been named an Environmental Hero by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Scott Gudes, deputy under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, presented the award at the first annual National Marine Recreational Fisheries Symposium in San Diego, Calif., today.

"For more than a decade, Mr. Endreson has been a champion for good management of the marine environment in the Western Pacific," states Gudes. "We sincerely appreciate his tireless efforts for sound fisheries management and marine resource stewardship which will assist us in fulfilling the mission of NOAA Fisheries."

Endreson founded the Hawaii Fishing Foundation in 1990. The foundation is a grass roots, citizen organization dedicated to ensuring that fisheries policy in Hawaii and the Western Pacific is based on sound scientific and management philosophies. Endreson focuses his efforts on marine issues such as a shark finning ban, protected species zones and vessel tracking by satellite. Endreson is also the educational director for the Western Pacific Fisheries Coalition. In this role, Endreson is developing school programs which allow fishermen to adopt schools and discuss issues related to sound fishery practices with students.

"I am honored to accept this environmental hero award even though it is truly not mine," said Endreson. "This award belongs to all of us who are aware that our marine environment is precious and fragile."

This is the fifth consecutive year in which NOAA has recognized local citizens throughout the United States who have contributed to the protection and preservation of the nation's environment. This year there are a total of 72 honorees - 68 individuals and four organizations. Each of the environmental heroes has received a personal letter of congratulations from Vice President Al Gore.

"This Administration has made significant progress in environmental protection, and we must continue to build on these achievements to ensure that current and future generations can enjoy a healthy and thriving environment," states Gore in the letter. "With your help, we have repeatedly and successfully demonstrated that economic growth can go hand-in-hand with efforts to sustain and protect the environment."

NOAA is the key sponsor of RecFish 2000, the first national symposium to bring together the diverse segments of the marine recreational fishing community, including federal and state marine resource managers, members of the marine fishery conservation and advocacy organizations, marine industry representatives, researchers, academics and the marine angling public to discuss the issues facing today's marine recreational fishing experience.