Skip to content (press enter)


Activist Spotlight: Peter Adame With the Monterey Chapter

Q: What is your current role with the Surfrider Foundation?
I'm the Ocean Friendly Restaurant Lead but I am excited to be transitioning to chair of the Monterey Chapter starting in 2024!

Q: Why and when did you get involved with the Surfrider Foundation?
For six years, I worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium — a place that showcases the wonders of our ocean and inspires conservation. I primarily worked in their Division of Conservation & Science and am the former outreach manager of their Seafood Watch program that helps people make better, more sustainable seafood choices. I recall being on a conference call with Surfrider when “serving sustainable seafood” was added as an optional criterion in the Ocean Friendly Restaurant program. 

After major layoffs hit the Aquarium due to the pandemic, Surfrider became a new way for me to be directly involved with another non-profit protecting the ocean. The Monterey chapter was on a hiatus during the pandemic and I helped our chair relaunch our first in-person event post-pandemic in June 2021. 


Q: What are some environmental issues that are affecting your local community?
Monterey is a highly visited destination, and while our beaches are fairly clean, there’s no escaping plastic pollution and cigarette butts, especially in high tourism areas. Strong winter storms, wildfires, sea level rise, rock slides, and coastal erosion are other environmental concerns that impact our region. Earlier this year, 3,000 residents in the small town of Pajaro, mostly low-income agricultural workers, were evacuated from devastating floods after a levee failed during one of the severe winter storms. 

Q: What Surfrider projects have you worked on?
Relaunching the OFR program in Monterey County has been my primary "role" but I contribute by spearheading events, social media, and newsletters, and representing our chapter on external teams like the Monterey County Plastic Pollution Coalition and the planning committee for Monterey Whalefest.


Q: Are there any specific project's that you have worked on that benefited your community? 
NOAA just came out with a new report outlining how over the past five years, over a million pieces of trash were collected off the shoreline of the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. While that number is daunting, it’s encouraging to know that our Surfrider volunteers played a role in preventing that litter from reaching the ocean and that our Ocean Friendly Restaurants are helping to stop plastic pollution at a major source. More than 50 percent of the trash in the report was tied to eating, drinking, or smoking. 

Q: What has been the highlight of your Surfrider experience?
I work for a seafood company called Lusamerica Foods and we are strongly invested in our local seafood economy in Monterey Bay. On California Ocean Day in Sacramento, it was an honor that Surfrider allowed me to be a lead witness for Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire as he presented SB 286 to the California State Senate Committee on Natural Resources. 

Our American fishermen are facing a lot of challenges and the development of offshore wind is another stressor being added to the mix — SB 286 equips the state to meet its renewable energy goals while ensuring impacted communities, like fishermen, are considered throughout the process and that safeguards are put in place to protect the environment. SB 286 was recently signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to streamline offshore wind permitting while establishing the State Lands Commission as the lead agency to manage the California Environmental Quality Act for offshore wind projects in California. 


Q: Do you have any personal experiences or campaigns/issues that you're passionate about where the social justice and environmental movements have intersected? 
As the Sustainability Director of a West Coast seafood company, my work focuses on driving positive change within the seafood industry — which incorporates both environmental sustainability and social responsibility. I want to ensure marine life and their habitats are around for generations to come while also diminishing the risk of human rights abuses and forced labor. Seafood is such a healthy, climate-friendly protein, and it can be very sustainable when done responsibly, but we also have to consider the rights and dignity of the individuals working in these food systems. I appreciate that Surfrider takes a similar approach in evaluating how actions impact both the environment and communities. 

Q: What is the most important thing you tell others about Surfrider?
Surfrider is what you make it. We are fortunate to have amazing support from our national foundation and they encourage us to tackle local issues that are important to us. If you have an idea of a cool way to help our ocean, Surfrider is a platform to help make it happen. Passionate people should get involved in their local chapter as there are so many different ways to volunteer and contribute. 

Q: Why is being a part of the Surfrider ocean conservation community important to you?
I might be biased as an ocean advocate, but people who love the beach and care for the environment tend to be pretty awesome individuals. Surfrider unites us for a common purpose -- allowing us to make an impact and meet stellar people along the way.

Q: Anything else? 
I could talk about sustainable seafood for days. It's a career path I didn't intend or expect, but it's been so fascinating and meaningful. Reach out if you have any questions! @Pete.Adame

PS. if you are in the Monterey area, please reach out to get involved, and you can catch our Surfrider Surf Report weekday mornings at 8:45AM on 94.7 KRML.