Ted Danson fights for the fish

Actor and environmentalist Ted Danson testified before the Senate on Wednesday afternoon on a topic near and dear to his heart: protecting the world’s oceans. 

Danson’s beef? International fishing subsidies. 

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The actor, best known for playing the character Sam on “Cheers” during the 1980s, argued that the subsidies promote over-fishing of the seas by encouraging fishermen to fish longer, deeper and farther from shore.

He argues that the subsidies, employed by countries around the world, threaten the sustainability of the planet.

“There’s an inextricable link between ocean conservation and global competitiveness,” Danson, 62, told members of the Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness. “It’s quite simple — no fish. No fishermen. No future.”

 The only solution, Danson said, is a World Trade Organization-sponsored agreement on fishing subsidies. “Reducing subsidies is a necessary action to reverse global over-fishing, and the WTO negotiations are our best chance,” he said sternly. “The world needs a fisheries subsidies agreement, and soon.”

Oceana, the environmental group responsible for Danson’s trip, also cited a United Nations report warning that 80 percent of the world’s fisheries are now either overexploited, fully exploited, significantly depleted or recovering from overexploitation.