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Symposium to Consider Social Science Aspects of Fisheries Management

By David Sims, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space
April 7, 2010

On Monday, April 12, 2010, a multi-stakeholder group of fishermen, scientists, fishery managers, students, and others with an interest in the social and economic impact of the management of marine resources will gather at UNH to consider how the Northeast region as a whole can improve the collection of social and economic data about marine fisheries and the incorporation of this data into fisheries and ocean management.

The 2010 Northeast Regional Social Science Symposium, which will be held at the MUB, will feature a variety of speakers and poster presentations on various social science aspects of fisheries and ocean management, including economics, sociology, anthropology, geography, psychology, community development, recreation analysis, human ecology, and planning.

Notes symposium co-coordinator Rachel Feeney of the Northeast Consortium, “Most stakeholders would agree that the demand for social science data and analysis in fisheries management is greater than the supply and that we have yet to achieve a ‘scientifically sound’ understanding of all social and economic components of marine ecosystems.”

The Northeast Consortium is a UNH-based initiative that funds partnerships among commercial fishermen, scientists, and other stakeholders to engage in collaborative research and monitoring projects in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank. Other institutional partners include University of Maine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The symposium comes on the cusp of big changes in the way groundfish are managed in New England. On May 1, 2010, about 800 fishermen will begin fishing in sectors, or cooperatives, and with a total cap on annual catch. Many fishermen fear the potential consequences of consolidation including a loss of viable fishing communities. Thus, the meeting comes at an opportune time to “take a step back” and examine progress made to date and to identify data collection gaps that, if filled, could provide more accurate impact assessments of fishing regulations on the fishing industry and fishing communities.

The symposium, which runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is open to the public. Registration is $20. A registration fee waiver is available to commercial fishermen. For more information contact Ken La Valley at 2-4343 or Rachel Feeney at 2-2276 or visit http://extension.unh.edu/Marine/NRSSS/NRSSS-Temp.htm

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