Marine Resource Education Program: Fostering Knowledge of Fishery Science, Management, and Ecosystem Implications in the Northeast Fisheries Region

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 2014-2015 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 thirteenth 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. MREP consists of four program components: Introduction to Fisheries Science (MREP Science 100), Introduction to Fisheries Management (MREP Management 100), an advanced science module, Insights into Stock Assessments (MREP 200 Science), and a newly designed advanced module focused on ecosystem based management, climate change and the implications to assessment science and management
structure. (MREP 200 Science). 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 2014-2015 the MREP Implementation Team will carry out four initiatives:
 1. Deliver one MREP Science 100 module and one MREP Management 100 module in a
Southern New England or a Northern Mid-Atlantic location;
2. Deliver on a newly developed MREP 200 focused on providing insights into ecosystem based management and climate change implications for New England and Mid-Atlantic fishermen;
3. Further experiment with and deliver one condensed MREP workshop for a targeted fishing community, such as New Bedford Massachusetts or Cape May, New Jersey or designed for a larger number of recreational anglers, as examples.
4. 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 reach to more fishermen at less cost.

Module delivery 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.