Marine Resource Education Program: Fostering Industry Leadership Through Fisheries Science & Management Education 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 startup
pilot effort, and continue to collaborate with partners in the Southeast Fisheries region to
refine and implement an annual set of Marine Resource Education Programs (MREP)
science and management workshops 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.

For each of the coming four years of this multi-year program, we will reconvene the
program’s Steering Committee consisting of a diverse cross-section of fisheries
stakeholders representing the three regional Councils (Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic
and Caribbean), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), recreational,
headboat/charter and commercial fishery interests, as well as conservation organizations,
and SeaGrant. The annual event will foster industry leadership of the program, and offer
a chance to review and evolve curriculum, presenter selections, and stakeholder
perceptions and outcomes. From this review, the Steering Committee will recommend
changes for consideration to ensure we are continuing to meet the needs of the region as a whole, as well as the needs of the three Fishery management Council regions.