Marine Resource Education Program Northeast: Fostering Trust and Shared Information in Fisheries Science and Management

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 2015-2018

timeframe. 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 four initiatives listed below, and then in 2016 – 2018 will carry out all 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:

o Insights into the Stock Assessment, marketed to New England and Mid-Atlantic

fishermen, offering hands-on exposure to NOAA science infrastructure;

o 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.