Fishing in California as we know it is currently at risk. The Marine Life Protection Act and its associated protected areas and no-fishing zones have pushed out anglers, but the fight to keep California’s waters open is not over. Not by a long shot.
Several groups have banned together to combat the MLPA closures. And the latest supporter, AFTCO, has stepped up in a big way. AFTCO’s sales manager Greg Stotesbury recently announced that AFTCO will donate $50 to the Ocean Access Protection Fund for every pair of shorts the company sells in California until the company reaches a $50,000 donation. The donations will be made through www.saveCAfishing.org, a website created to help grow the legal fund to combat the groups supporting the MLPA initiative.
For every pair of AFTCO or Guy Harvey shorts the company sells through its California dealers, regardless of the retail price — whether the shorts are $30, $40 or $60 — AFTCO will donate $50 to OAPF until they reach $50,000, or sell 1,000 pairs of shorts.
“AFTCO is committed to fighting these senseless closures with every possible resource we have,” Stotesbury said. “What the fight needs right now, today is money for the lawsuit. We need to beat the enviros and protect access for everyone, and the battle in the courts ain’t cheap!”
This program provides the public an easy way to help fight the cause while also purchasing a quality product. “The response has been overwhelmingly supportive,” Stotesbury said. “Guys are fired up about the legal battle and they want to find ways to help.”
AFTCO has been based in California since the late 1950s and is owned by Bill Shedd and his family, who are avid anglers. This fight isn’t just important to AFTCO as a fishing-related company, it’s important to them as fishermen as well. Shedd sits on the IGFA Board of Trustees and has fished in California for his entire life, as has the entire staff at AFTCO.
“I grew up here in So Cal, and so did Bill and his family,” Stotesbury said. “We both have several generations of angling history in our families, and seeing our access restricted by politically motivated, non-science based closures strikes right at the core of our existence. We can’t let the other side take what is rightfully ours away from us. Our families, the families of our employees, the businesses we service, and our company all depend on having access to a healthy ocean resource here in California and around the country.”
AFTCO has a long history of working on conservation issues that benefit the sport. “Bill Shedd and his family have made it a critical part of our company culture to get involved with ocean issues and to give back to help the resource whenever and wherever we can,” said Stotesbury. “These battles aren’t won by sitting on the sidelines and waiting for the other guy to take some action.”
AFTCO Bluewater offers shorts in a wide range of styles for consumers to choose from, as does the Guy Harvey clothing line. Make sure to visit a California dealer and purchase some of these quality fishing shorts to help the fight against the MLPA supporters and keep California’s waters open to sport fishing.
To view the latest Guy Harvey Strike board shorts, check out this new gear item.
You can also donate to the OAPF by visiting SaveCAFishing.org. This website, developed by BD in conjunction with the United Anglers of Southern California and the American Sportfishing Association provides anglers with several different ways to donate. All donations, even as little as $5 a month, go a long way to help fund the legal team needed to fight for angler’s rights.