A group, including Clarkston’s Mayor Ted Terry, is set to protest Yamaha on Kennesaw State University’s campus on Friday.
The protesters feel the company supports legislation that promotes the over-fishing of the oceans, said head organizer Audrey Beedle with environmental advocacy group Mighty Earth.
But Yamaha Motor Corp. USA spokesman Martin Peters rebuffed that claim.
“We are conservationists,” he said. “We love the fish. We want there to be fish forever in our oceans so every generation to come can enjoy fishing.”
Beedle said they picked Kennesaw State because of the students and faculty who’d been helping with the campaign and because of its proximity to Yamaha’s new headquarters less than two miles away.
“We wanted to be as close to their backyard as we could,” she said.
Peters said his company met with Mighty Earth in Washington, D.C. in June to discuss a bill the company supported, the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017, that was proposed in the U.S. House and Senate.
The legislation involves oversight of federal fisheries. Critics like Mighty Earth say the Act could roll back conservation gains to protect fisheries, while advocates like the American Sportfishing Association say it would allow responsible fishers to continue without "unnecessary restrictions."
He said Yamaha asked Mighty Earth to suggest language for the bill they found more agreeable.
Peters said the company didn’t respond to that request.
“They want us to simply stop being engaged and involved with fisheries issues that affect our business,” Peters said. “They seem to have singled us out.”
Beedle wasn’t at the meeting, but she said that wasn’t her impression of what happened. She claimed Yamaha was unwilling to change the language.
She agreed that they were singling out Yamaha because of their wide range of customers, including those who buy their musical instruments.
“We find it strategic and important on calling on Yamaha,” she said. There will be three musicians performing at the protest Friday.
“Yamaha is definitely not the only company involved in rolling back” over-fishing protections, she said. “ ... We’re targeting Yamaha as the most egregious.”
Beedle said she expects between 20 to 30 people at the event, which will include Daniel R. Ferreira , with KSU’s environmental science program.
Peters said Yamaha does not plan to respond any specific way to the protest.
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