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Public Interest Law Project

Anzie Nelson

October 10, 2011

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Oceana Portland Office

Oceana, Portland, OR

Oceana is a nonprofit that operates internationally to protect our world’s oceans.  It arranges quite an impressive team of marine scientists, economists, attorneys, and advocates together to tackle concrete problems impacting marine ecosystems.  Some of their campaigns include combating overfishing, climate change, and ocean acidification.  Oceana has offices in Portland, Washington D.C., Juneau, Los Angeles, and Monterey, as well as the countries of Spain, Belgium, Chile, and Belize.  I was excited that PILP could enable me to work for Oceana’s Portland office and participate in such an organized and objective-oriented nonprofit.

I chose to work with Oceana, in part, because I wanted to get some hands-on experience working toward preventing climate change.  I also wanted to learn more about what systems we have in place nationally and internationally to guard against overfishing, what weaknesses there are, and how we can improve them.  With the oversight and guidance of one of Oceana’s staff attorneys, I was able to expand my understanding of fisheries management in the United States and what challenges our oceans face in such an uncertain future.  I was also able to glean some of the scientific terminology from one of Oceana’s biologists in the Portland office.

My summer consisted of researching and monitoring fishing permits, assessing policies needed to protect international marine habitats, and creating a comprehensive document on the regulation of ocean renewable energy development.  I also participated in writing an amicus brief for a case in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.  My boss was wonderful at letting me navigate through issues on Oceana’s agenda and pick topics that I was most interested in.  She also took the time to give me feedback on my writing and make sure that I was enjoying my job.  Although Oceana’s Portland office was small, I participated in weekly staff calls and felt I was part of a larger team.  On a few projects, I worked with Alaska’s Pacific Senior Counsel and California’s Senior Public Relations Manager.  The PILP Stipend gave me the financial ability to contribute to such a great team and to spend a summer working on issues I love.  Without PILP, I would not have been able to assist a such a great organization, taking a small but important step towards protecting the world’s oceans.

 

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