In Honor of World Oceans Day, West Marine Awards $30,000 in Marine Conservation Grants to Non-Profit Organizations Across the Country

June 8, 2011

WATSONVILLE, Calif., June 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — In honor of World Oceans Day, West Marine (Nasdaq: WMAR), the largest specialty retailer of boating supplies and accessories, today announced the recipients of their annual Marine Conservation Grants program. Grants for a total amount of $30,000 are being awarded to non-profit organizations throughout the U.S. who are working to “improve and protect marine habitat,” which is part of West Marine’s mission. This year’s grant recipients are located in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Maryland and California.

“We are proud to support recreational boating and fishing groups and marine environmental groups who are working together for abundant and healthy fisheries,” said Randy Repass, Chairman of the Board and Founder of West Marine. “The work of these organizations will benefit recreational fishing, sustainable commercial fishing and help to develop a healthy fish resource and sustainable use of the resource.”

    The Recipients of the West Marine Conservation Grants for
         Florida -The Snook & Gamefish Foundation's Angler
         Action Program:  The Snook & Gamefish Foundation is
         committed to education, conservation and research, to
         assure game fish for tomorrow. They believe that a
         brighter future for all fisheries is in the hands of
         informed anglers, who will take proactive steps to
         increase, not just maintain, healthy habitats and
    1.   fish stocks.

      The Angler Action Program, a partnership between the
       Florida Wildlife Commission and the Snook & Gamefish
       Foundation, is an outreach to every angler in the state
       of Florida. Funds will support angler data collection,
       outreach, education and a how-to video.  For more
       information on the program go to www.snookfoundation.org

         North Carolina - Coastal Conservation Association
         (CCA): A non-profit grass roots organization with
         nearly 3,000 members in North Carolina dedicated to
         conservation of North Carolina's marine resources.
         The objective of CCA is to conserve, promote and
         enhance the present and future availability of these
    2.   resources.

      The funds will be used to work with PenderWatch to build
       12 oyster reefs to stabilize an important but badly
       eroding island near Hamsptead, North Carolina. The site
       is now closed due to pollution from storm water runoff.
       Working with PenderWatch, a local non-profit, 2,000
       bushels of oyster shells will be put in the water to
       help jump start new, bigger natural oyster reefs, which
       will rejuvenate the waters.  For more information visit
       www.ccanc.org or www.penderwatch.org .

         New Jersey -Atlantic Tuna Project: The Project is
         dedicated to promoting the catch, tag and release of
         Atlantic tunas within the recreational fishing
         sector.  Atlantic bluefin and yellowfin tuna are
         under incredible pressure.  The recreational sector
         can play a vital role in contributing to the overall
         knowledge base by adopting a tag and release culture.
         Collecting data on the tuna that recreational
         fishermen catch is critical.  To date NOAA has little
    3.   data coming about these tuna populations.

      The funds will be used to educate anglers about the
       benefits of tagging and to help new members adopt
       tagging. The program drives both charter and private
       boats to request free tags from NOAA's Cooperative
       Tagging Center, and is a source of education to learn
       how to tag tuna safely.  For more information go to
       www.savethebluefin.com .

         Maryland - Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) & the
         Maryland Saltwater Sportsfishermen's Association
         (MSSA):  The CBF is the only conservation
         organization dedicated solely to the restoration and
         protection of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and
         streams. The funds will support a partnership with
         the Maryland Saltwater Sportsfishermen's Association
         from Dorchester County to enhance the native oyster
         population and increase available fish habitat in the
         Choptank River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
         MSSA will construct 66 reef balls with help from
         citizen volunteers in Cambridge, Maryland. CBF will
         transport the reef balls to their oyster restoration
         facility in Shadyside, Maryland to grow oyster spat
         (juvenile oysters) on the reef balls. Once these tiny
         oysters have grown to approximately the size of a
         fingernail, the oyster-set reef balls will be
         transplanted onto Cook's Point reef - an existing
         oyster sanctuary in the Choptank River.  For more on
         these organizations visit www.cbf.org or www.mssa.net
    4.   .

         California -Save The Bay: Save The Bay is the largest
         regional organization working to protect and restore
         San Francisco Bay. Each year, they engage more than
         25,000 supporters, advocates and volunteers to
         protect the Bay, and inspire the next generation of
         environmental leaders by educating thousands of
    5.   students.

      Funds will support the Community-Based Restoration
       Program (CBR) and will help to restore and enhance vital
       San Francisco Bay tidal marsh habitat.  Thousands of
       local residents, including West Marine Customers and
       Associates can play a significant part in 225 community-
       based restoration projects including 6 shoreline sites.
       To get involved visit www.savesfbay.org/community-
       based-restoration .

         Florida - Mote Marine Lab (MML): Located on the
         Sarasota Bay, MML is dedicated to excellence in
         marine, estuarine and environmental research and
         education.  Funds will be used to replace failing
         instruments that are monitoring the health of the
         Sarasota Bay.  Additional information on MML is
    6.   available at www.mote.org .

         California - The Sportfishing Conservancy: The goal
         of the Sportfishing Conservancy is to encourage
         accountable, responsible recreational angling.  Funds
         will be used to encourage Catch & Release fishing
         trips in Southern California ports, primarily Long
         Beach and Santa Barbara. The purpose is to change
         angler attitudes and encourage a lighter footprint by
         re-defining a successful fishing day.  For more
    7.   information go to www.sportcon.org.

Marine Conservation Grants are awarded through a formal application process in which interested organizations must submit their proposal directly to West Marine. All applications are reviewed by the Marine Conservation Action Team. Those applying must show sound financial policies and management with a key focus in marine conservation, habitat restoration and sustainable fisheries. These activities may cover water clean-up, habitat protection and restoration, ocean science and conservation projects that relate to key marine species, water quality, sustainable ocean use, etc.

Since 1994, West Marine has donated over $4,600,000 to non-profit organizations that support youth boating, boating safety and the marine environment. For more information about the Marine Conservation Grants program, please visit www.westmarine.com.

About West Marine

West Marine, (Nasdaq:WMAR) the largest specialty retailer of boating supplies and accessories, has more than 320 company-owned stores located in 38 states, Puerto Rico and Canada and three franchised stores located in Turkey. Our call center and Internet channels offer Customers over 60,000 products plus the convenience of exchanging catalog and Internet purchases at our Store locations. Our Port Supply division is one of the largest wholesale distributors of marine equipment serving boat manufacturers, marine services, commercial vessel operators and government agencies. For more information on West Marine’s products and store locations, or to start shopping, visit westmarine.com or call 1-800-BOATING (1-800-262-8464).

SOURCE West Marine

Source: newswire

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