MARINE RESOURCE EDUCATION PROGRAM: Fishermen, Scientists and Managers Creating a Culture of Trust and Shared information

Alexa Dayton , Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Abstract:

The Marine Resource Education Program (MREP) Implementation Team offers this proposal for continued funding of course offerings for fishermen in the Northeast Region in the 2015-2019 time-frame. MREP seeks to satisfy the essential information needs of diverse fishing communities, fostering trust and pragmatic working relationships in a rapidly changing industry. 

Now in its fourteenth year, MREP has attracted consistent acclaim from fishermen and the regulatory community of New England. An OIG report to Congress, as well as the 2010 Pate/Touchstone Report commissioned by NMFS, cites MREP as having contributed to more effective participation by stakeholders in the management of New England fisheries and to an increasingly positive perception of fishery science and management.

Funding from NMFS would enable MREP to continue delivery of fishery science and management curricula tailored specifically for fishermen and relevant stakeholder groups for the years 2015 - 2018. MREP consists of four primary program components: Introduction to Fisheries Science (MREP Science 100), Introduction to Fisheries Management (MREP Management 100), two advanced modules, Insights into Stock Assessments and Insights into Ecosystems (MREP 200 Science), and a fourth element (MREP Mini) where we provide a two day experience tailored to a hard to reach community. Through a unique collaboration between Gulf of Maine Research Institute and industry partners, comprising the MREP Implementation Team, the curricula have been developed for relevance to the fishing community, with fishermen moderators serving a prominent role in delivery and development.

With continued funding in 2015-2016 the MREP Implementation Team will carry out the first of the below listed four initiatives, and then in 2016 – 2018 will carry out all of these four initiatives in each of the two years:

  • Deliver one MREP Science 100 module and one MREP Management 100 module in a  Mid-Atlantic or Northeast location as decided each year by the Implementation Team in consultation with broader industry and NOAA fisheries partners;
  • Deliver one MREP 200, either:
    • Insights into the Stock Assessment, marketed to New England and Mid-Atlantic fishermen, offering hands-on exposure to NOAA science infrastructure;
    • Fundamentals of Ecosystem Based Management in service of both the Mid Atlantic and New England fishing industries.
  • One MREP Introductory “Mini” workshop, tailored to a specific geographic community or fisheries sector.
  • Perform active outreach in building a fishing community network to support MREP training recruiting throughout the Northeast Region, and seek opportunities to expand the program training to reach to more fishermen at less cost in more diverse communities.                                                                      

Modules will be evaluated along established protocols, with continuing development of instruments to track program relevance. Testimonials and other feedback will be captured both in writing and with photography.