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IFAW Recognizes Marine Conservation Leaders


WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 -- IFAW ( International Fund for Animal Welfare -- ) today announced it has recognized five individuals for their outstanding leadership in marine conservation issues. Consistent with IFAW values, each of the individuals has pushed for solutions to benefit both animals and people. Those recognized are:

-- Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.)

-- Reps. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), co-chairs, Congressional Oceans Caucus

-- Hon. Robert B. Zoellick, deputy secretary of state

-- Gary Ostrom, vice president, Massachusetts Lobsterman’s Association

These outstanding men will be recognized at a bipartisan event tonight in Washington, D.C., hosted by Chris and Kathleen Matthews. Each of the individuals will be presented with an IFAW “Song of the Whale” award -- named after IFAW’s marine research vessel.

About the awardees

Sen. Edward Kennedy was elected to the Senate in 1962 and has fought for clean seas ever since. Kennedy has been particularly active in efforts to protect right whales. In 1999, Senator Kennedy, along with Congressman Bill Delahunt, launched the Coast Guard’s Mandatory Ship Reporting System, a unique program developed to protect endangered whales from ship strikes. Most recently Senator Kennedy led the effort to secure federal funds to support the first-of-its-kind Whale Friendly Fishing Gear Exchange Program pioneered by IFAW and the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association.

As co-chair of the House Ocean’s Caucus and the original author of the legislation that created the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, Congressman Farr is a leading advocate for protecting the marine environment and establishing a balanced national oceans policy. During his 12 year tenure Farr has championed significant marine conservation legislation including the Southern Sea Otter Recovery and Research Act and the Captive Mammal Protection Act.

As co-chair of the House Ocean’s Caucus Congressman Curt Weldon has consistently ensured that oceans issues are a priority for Congress and the Administration. He has sponsored and co- sponsored legislation to protect and restore the health of marine ecosystems, including the “Oceans, Conservation, Education, and National Strategy for the 21st Century Act (Oceans 21)” and the Ocean and Coastal Observation Act of 2004. Weldon also demonstrated his commitment to the oceans around the world by being the first call attention to the threats to the marine environment posed by radioactive waste pollution in the waters surrounding the former Soviet Union.

Both Congressmen Weldon and Farr have worked closely to incorporate recommendations from the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Ocean Commission reports to craft sound, science-based ocean policy that will safeguard our oceans and marine life for future generations.

Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick’s record of service at the Treasury and State Departments and as Deputy White House Chief of Staff during the early 1990s is well known. He helped address many high-profile challenges during this period: German re-unification, the end of the Cold War, the Central American peace process and the launch of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group (APEC). Less known, and largely unheralded, is the tireless personal leadership he provided on marine conservation issues, including international efforts to eliminate the indiscriminate use of driftnets on the high seas. These efforts culminated in the High Seas Fisheries Enforcement Act which then-President Bush signed into law in 1992. As U.S. Trade Representative under the current President Bush, Zoellick consistently strengthened environmental provisions in a host of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements. Since becoming Deputy Secretary of State, Zoellick has worked to preserve and expand international protections for whales and other endangered species.

As a fisherman, Gary Ostrom has spent his life on the water. He presently serves as Vice President of the Massachusetts Lobsterman’s Association. The critically endangered right whales and those of us working to protect them, owe a lot to this fisherman. A decade ago, in 1996, Gary and his brother-in-law Dan Paul, a plastics engineer from New Hampshire, designed a simple device that causes lobster lines to break away if they become entangled with whales. Gary was also instrumental in IFAW’s unique gear replacement project which pioneered the use of whale-friendly lobster gear in critical right whale habitat off the coast of Cape Cod.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW works to protect animals and their habitats. With offices in 15 countries around the world, IFAW works to protect whales, elephants, great apes, big cats, dogs and cats, seals, and other animals. To learn how to help, please visit

EDITOR’S NOTE: Still photos available.


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