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WATSONVILLE, Calif. (October 11, 2010) – West Marine, the largest specialty retailer of boating supplies and accessories, today announced the recipients of their first 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 reside in California, Florida, Hawaii , Louisiana , South Carolina and Texas .

“We are proud to support recreational boating and fishing groups and marine environmental groups that put our resources first,” said Randy Repass , Chairman of the Board and Founder of West Marine. “The work of these organizations will benefit recreational fishing and sustainable commercial fishing as well as the goals of most marine environmental groups.”

The Recipients of the West Marine Conservation Grants for 2010 are:

1. California & Hawaii - The Ocean Foundation Tag-a-Giant Fund: The Ocean Foundation's Tag-A-Giant Fund supports research on highly migratory fish and promotes innovative policy and conservation initiatives based on this research.  Led by Stanford University Professor of Marine Sciences, Dr. Barbara Block, it has played a key role in integrating cutting-edge research into discussions of fisheries policy. 
Funds will be utilized to support the Great Marlin Race conservation research project.  During the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, West Marine will sponsor a pop-up satellite archival tag for deployment on Pacific blue marlin.  Findings from a previous race provided the longest electronic tracks ever measured in billfish.

2. Huntington Beach , California - Get Inspired: Funds will be used to continue Kelp forest ecosystem restoration by allowing Huntington Beach students to grow white sea bass in their classrooms and then restock them in coastal Huntington Beach .  By being involved in the restoration of this species, students have a stake in the overall health of the oceans.  The students take ownership of the fish that they help to raise. They actually “do” something to make the world a better place instead of just learning about it.  This project aims to create Ocean Stewards and healthy kelp forests.

3. Sebastian, Fort Pierce, and Indian River Lagoon, Florida - Marine Cleanup Initiative, Inc (MCII): This organization was founded to clean our waterways of marine debris such as fishing line, plastics, casting nets, bottles, cans, anchors, batteries, etc. MCII uses volunteer divers, boat owners, commercial divers, cranes and larger vessels.
Funds will be used to chart the waters set aside for crab traps and clam farming. Derelict traps and abandoned nets will be identified and retrieved.  Under direction of Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission aquatic creatures will be released and disturbed habitat will be restored.

4. Jacksonville , Florida - TISRI: TISRI stands for “Think It, Sink It, Reef It” and is focused on the creation and promotion of artificial reefs. Fishing line and trash creates an endangerment potential for all marine life. Funding will support “trash harvesting” dives. Reefs will be chosen based on local knowledge of fishing locations.  

5. New Orleans , Louisiana - Marine Research and Assistance Council: The Citizen Sailor Program educates and equips coastal and blue water mariners to conduct basic scientific air and water sampling to be shared with environmental research organizations.  Funding will be used to conduct sampling and to monitor the effects of the BP oil spill. Data will be shared with the Lake Ponchatrain Basin Foundation and the University of New Orleans .

6. New Orleans , Louisiana - Friends of the West End: This non-profit corporation is dedicated to the restoration of green spaces and shorelines on West End Park . Funding has been provided to clear tidal flow culverts that are heavily silted. This will have a positive impact on breeding grounds for multiple species of fish and crab.

7. South Carolina : Coastal Conservation Association (CCA):  CCA South Carolina is the oldest, largest and one of the most respected non-profit marine conservation organization in South Carolina .  As a grass-roots organization, 12 local CCA chapters, located in every corner of the state are made up of thousands of recreational saltwater anglers whose passion centers on the state's marine resources. Funding will support the Topwater Action Campaign, which focuses on oyster recycling, reef restoration and creation, water quality and education. 

8. Texas - Coastal Conservation Association (CCA): CCA Texas has 50,000 members and the Nueces Bay Causeway marsh restoration project is a joint effort with the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (CBBEP) to restore 160 acres of intertidal marsh habitat. 
Funding will support a "grass planting day" during which volunteers can assist in planting.  This critical marsh will provide essential habitat for shrimp, crabs, juvenile fish, as well as feeding grounds for birds and larger fish.

9. Orange County , California - Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA): Ocean Defenders Alliance strives to make Southern California 's coastal waters safer for marine wildlife by reducing dangerous man-made objects in vital habitat, focusing on abandoned commercial fishing gear that poses serious threats to numerous species.  In the process of derelict gear removal, ODA carefully liberates wildlife found trapped in nets and pots that needlessly continue to capture and kill long after being lost by the fishing industry. Funding is targeted at removing derelict gear around the Channel Islands in Southern California . 

The 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 (MCAT). 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 $4,500,000 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, the largest specialty retailer of boating supplies and accessories, has more than 330 company-owned stores located in 38 states, Puerto Rico and Canada and two 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).

Rodriguez Group chairman resigns

Following the arrest and ongoing police investigation into alleged illegal activities, Alexandre Rodriguez, resigned his position as chairman of the Rodriguez Group. The companies holdings include Mangusta yachts and Camper & Nicholsons; neither of which are involved in the investigation.

The stock value which trades on the Paris Stock Exchange as ROD:FP, has slipped from a high of around €50 in 2006 to around €4 recently.

MIASF Names New Executive Director

Carlos Vidueira of Rybovich and Huizenga Holdings to
Replace Retiring Industry Veteran Frank Herhold

Dania Beach, FL (June 5, 2010) – Following the retirement announcement of Frank Herhold from Marine Industries Association of South Florida after 20 years of stewardship, the organization’s Board of Directors has named Carlos Vidueira as the new Executive Director effective July 1, 2010. The official introduction and announcement were made on Saturday June 5, 2010 at the MIASF Annual Meeting & Awards Reception held at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Dania Beach.
Vidueira is currently Vice President of Rybovich Superyacht Marina & Refit, which is owned by Wayne Huizenga Jr. and since 1992, Vice President of Huizenga Holdings, Inc. He has been working with Rybovich from 1995 and was instrumental in the original concept plan for the facility and held responsibility for the day to day management of the business, including the its $60 million construction budget. Vidueira has been primarily responsible for the expansion of the marine facility into Riviera Beach, elevating the brand’s international recognition and has lead government relations efforts for the company making numerous valuable local, state and federal contacts.

MIASF president John Stephens of Lewis Marine Supply, when making the announcement before 300 Association members and guests said, “Like the two MIASF presidents before me, I was aware that Frank was thinking about his retirement and the Executive Director transition process. And, upon his official announcement earlier this year, the Board initiated a process that carefully considered the critical needs of our Association, evaluated the state of our industry, looked at several very qualified candidates and received input from several core members of our group, particularly our new Anchor Members.” He added, “Through our comprehensive process we have selected Carlos Vidueira who brings a wealth of local, national and international business experience along with bold and visionary leadership that we believe will help grow and shape a brighter future both for MIASF and the South Florida recreational marine industry as a whole.”

Members of the 800 strong group and guests at the Annual Meeting, who also included federal, state and local elected officials, along with partners from other marine trade associations and agencies such as United States Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, warmly welcomed the appointment of Vidueira as the new Chief Executive Officer. In his comments to the attendees Vidueira said, “Tonight is a night we are here honor the achievements of Frank Herhold whose contribution and impact over the years will be hard to follow, but, as I assume the role of Executive Director of MIASF, I believe the future is bright and that together we can once again make South Florida the unquestionable Yachting Capital of the World.”

Herhold, who will continue to serve the Association in an emeritus capacity on major projects said, “On this my 20th year, the time is right for me to turn the helm over to someone else and the MIASF Board has made an excellent choice in naming Carlos to be my successor.” Adding that he was proud of his accomplishments with the Association and particularly thrilled to be leaving with yet another significant achievement in the passage and enactment of legislation for a sales-use tax cap on boats occurring during his tenure Herhold stated, “I know that Carlos will be a bold and visionary Executive Director who will work for the greater good of our Association and industry. I wish him my sincerest congratulation and best wishes.”

Vidueira indicated that while July 1st may be his official start date, he was already busy meeting with Association members to better gauge the concerns, challenges and opportunities. He urged members to share their ideas, opinions on matters of critical importance to our industry and time to help MIASF as we formulate a strong plan for the future.



MIASF Announces New Board of Directors

Dania Beach, FL (June 5, 2010) – The 2010 – 2011 Board of Directors for the 800-member Marine Industries Association of South Florida was introduced at the organization’s Annual Meeting & Awards Reception held last Saturday June 5, 2010 at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum. Directors are elected by the membership annually and serve for two year terms, while Executive Officers serve one year terms.

Executive Officers for the South Florida recreational marine trade group are:

President: John Stephens, Lewis Marine Supply

Vice President: Keith Hart, RPM Diesel & Diesel Services of America

Secretary/Treasurer: Jim Renfrow, Total Marine

Immediate Past President: J.J. McConnell, Gilman Yachts of Fort Lauderdale

Members of the Board are:

Jason Dunbar, Luke Brown & Associates

Mark Hanke, Merritt Boat & Engine Works

Jimmie Harrison, Frank & Jimmie’s Propeller Shop

Kitty McGowan, NautiCom Communications

Scott Miser, Rybovich

Cathy Petowsky, Lauderdale Marine Center

Jay Reynolds, J.P. Reynolds, Inc.

Scott Salomon, Hall of Fame Marina

Bob Saxon, Florida Yacht Brokers Association

“As we look towards another year as a Board, and reflect on the past year, I want to first thank the 2009 – 2010 Board for their hard work and dedication to MIASF and our mission,” said John Stephens, who is beginning his second year as president of the Association. He stated, “Our industry and our organization faced the challenges of the last year bravely and boldly and I know the re-election of Scott Miser and Kitty McGowan to the Board, along with newly elected members Scott Salomon and Jason Dunbar, will maintain the MIASF Board of Directors as a united and focused body that will continue to serve the interests of our members and the industry.”



Florida Boat Sales-Use Tax Cap Is Approved as
Governor Charlie Crist Signs Florida Jobs Bill

FYBA, MIASF Joint Effort, Backed By Grassroots Support, Proves Successful

Fort Lauderdale, FL – June 1, 2010 –In what amounts to a major victory for Florida’s struggling marine industry, a measure limiting the sales-use tax on boat purchases now is poised to become law. Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed the larger Jobs for Florida Bill, CS/SB-1752, which contains the Florida Boat Sales-Use Tax Cap legislation on May 28, 2010. The $18,000 Boat Sales and Use Tax Cap will take effect on July 1, 2010, effectively bringing Florida’s boat dealers and brokers into parity with their competitors in other states and nearby countries, where sales taxes on boats have been far lower.

“Thanks to an intense lobbying effort sponsored jointly by the Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA) and the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF), the Florida Boat Sales-Use Tax Cap has been approved and is about to become law,” said Jeff Erdmann, President of Bollman Yachts of Fort Lauderdale and a member of the FYBA Legislative Committee, which along with MIASF’s Government Relations Committee has spearheaded efforts to pass this landmark legislation. “We want to thank Governor Crist for signing the bill into law, as well as the bold leadership of Representative Ellyn Setnor Bogdanoff, Senator Don Gaetz, Representative Tom Grady, Representative Will W. Weatherford, and all of the State Legislators who supported our cause.”

The Boat Sales-Use Tax Cap limits the 6-percent Florida state sales tax on a boat purchase or the use tax for currently owned vessels to $18,000, helping Florida save marine industry jobs and, ultimately, increase sales tax revenue. Florida has been losing boat sales and service business and revenue to other states and countries that offered more favorable sales tax treatment. Passage of the cap is expected almost immediately to begin invigorating Florida’s vital marine industry by helping to stimulate boat sales and encourage boat buyers and current owners to register, keep and use their watercraft in the state.

“Florida’s marine industry badly needed this legislation to pass,” said Bob Saxon, FYBA Chief Executive Officer. “We want to thank all our members who heeded our calls to action and wrote their State Legislators urging them to support this important measure. Their efforts have paid off and demonstrate once again that an effective, consistent and well-coordinated grassroots effort can reap positive results.”

MIASF Executive Director Frank Herhold agreed, adding: “Our members spoke loud and clear and, thankfully, our Legislators and Governor Crist responded to the call. Florida offers some of America’s most inviting boating destinations and most experienced marine sales and service professionals. With the passage of this bill, it once again will become a popular place to purchase a vessel, especially for those contemplating purchases over $300,000. Consequently, Florida’s important and vibrant marine industry faces a stronger and brighter future.”




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