Marine Resource Education Program for Fishermen in the Southeast Fisheries Region

Alexa Dayton, Gulf of Maine Research Institute

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) proposes to build upon a successful first year
startup pilot effort, and continue to collaborate with partners in the Southeast Fisheries region to refine and implement a second set of Marine Resource Education Programs (MREP) for commercial and recreational fishermen. This education enables fishermen and others to participate productively in the fisheries management process, and leads to improved cooperation and trust between fishermen, scientists and managers. Fundamentally, a co‐learning approach is used in this program, where program developers, program participants and program presenters all learn from one another through their interactions and collaborations.

The strength of the MREP model is that it was initially created by industry, and industry plays a lead role in its implementation. This program draws upon local fishing industry representatives to serve as leaders in regional implementation. Thus our proposed activities are heavily focused on cultivating industry leadership and building long‐term intrinsic capacity within the region to ensure uptake.

We will reconvene the newly establish a local Steering Committee consisting of a diverse crosssection of fisheries stakeholders representing the three regional Councils, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), recreational, headboat/charter and commercial fishery interests, as well as conservation organizations, and SeaGrant to review and evaluate pilot program year curriculum, presenter evaluations and stakeholder perceptions and outcomes and recommend changes for consideration to ensure we are meeting the needs of the region.

The curriculum will be further translated and tailored based on the feedback received to the fisheries, fishing communities, and management practices of the region, and we will ensure that we are engaging in effective education and outreach methods/processes. GMRI recognizes that localized cultural differences must be fully understood and will cast a wide net to ensure that the program is tailored and positioned appropriately for the region.