I am incredibly blessed to be an independent commercial fisherman. This career offers freedom like few others can. There are trips I never see another boat in a vast ocean of solitude. We rely on our knowledge and hard work to earn a paycheck harvesting nature's bounty. There is no guarantee we will be successful or even return home. The loss of a fellow fisherman due to mismanagement of our snapper/grouper fishery caused me to get involved as a fisheries advocate. He fell off a boat in rough seas during a dangerous derby fishery and was never seen again. We had been fishing within a few miles of him before heading home.
Dealing with politicians while advocating for responsible fishery management was an eye-opener. I quickly learned that money influenced politicians far more than previously thought. On the other hand, I also learned the ONLY thing that trumps money in politics is enough people peacefully supporting or opposing an issue. The bigger the issue, the more people it takes. Getting fishermen to stand together on an issue is usually like herding cats. We won the battles when most of us did stand united. Recreational and commercial fishermen worked together to stop an attempt at unnecessarily closing large portions of America's southeast seafloor. We stopped the Unconstitutional push to make us install Orwellian Vessel Monitoring Systems on our private property. We stopped a Catch Share scheme that would have privatized more of America's public resources and let global corporations own them.
We are blessed with freedom few have ever known throughout human history. We have the power and responsibility to preserve our individual liberties that collectively make us free people. All we have to do is think and stand united on key issues.