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Program that fosters open dialogue around fishery management in the Gulf of Maine gains national support

Courtesy of Rachel Strader
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The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), a marine research and education institution focused on the Gulf of Maine ecosystem, today announced that the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has approved a three year grant in support of GMRI’s initiative to provide a neutral forum for open dialogue among New England’s diverse fishery stakeholders.

GMRI has a long history of serving as a neutral convener for marine stakeholders to discuss and resolve marine resource conflicts in New England. GMRI will now have the opportunity to enhance its convening program. The Moore Foundation grant will enable GMRI to support dialogue and collaboration among New England’s fishing community. The goal will be to develop innovative fishery management solutions that have broad support.

“The Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank have enormous economic and cultural significance to New Englanders”, said Don Perkins, President of GMRI. “They comprise one of the world’s premier fishery ecosystems and provide the lifeblood of our coastal communities. Historically, the fishing community has not participated broadly in the identification of new fishery management options. The Moore Foundation grant will support a model for convening fishermen from Eastport, Maine to New Bedford, Massachusetts to address fishery management challenges.”

The Moore grant is timely. A recent decision by the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) to develop Amendment 16 to the Multispecies Fisheries Fishery Management Plan presents a unique opportunity for the fishing community to have a meaningful voice from the outset of the management process. Amendment 16 will define the institutional mechanisms and regulatory terms for New England's groundfishing fleet for the next decade. The grant will enable GMRI to broaden its FishTank initiative from an informal discussion group consisting of a few local fishermen into a regular forum for communication among a region-wide network of diverse fishery stakeholders. This groundfish dialogue will coalesce a broad cross-section of the fishing community to use Amendment 16 as an opportunity to discuss and debate alternative approaches to groundfish management.

 "Open dialogue is key to fostering innovative fishery management, and we are happy that our grant to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute will provide a forum for dialogue within New England’s fishing community”, said Barry Gold, Chief Program Officer for the Marine Conservation Initiative at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

About Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation was established in 2000 and seeks to develop outcome-based projects that will improve the quality of life for future generations. It has organized the majority of its grant making around large-scale initiatives and concentrates funding in three program areas: environmental conservation, science, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The Foundation’s focus on marine conservation is focused on the advancement of globally-applicable marine conservation management tools that contribute to sustainable ocean resource management.

About Gulf of Maine Research Institute

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) was established in 1968 to develop pragmatic solutions to complex problems to support the evolution of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the human community that depends on it. GMRI accomplishes this by convening the public to discuss, debate and resolve aquatic resource conflicts, conducting unbiased scientific research to improve public understanding of the Gulf of Maine and its watershed, and educating Maine residents and visitors about fresh and saltwater ecosystems.

GMRI’s hybrid marine research and education facility, located on the Portland waterfront, provides a neutral, collaborative platform for research partnerships among leading research organizations, the fishing community, and private industry with a focus on fishery ecosystem research. GMRI is closely linked to the community, strategically focused on the Gulf of Maine bioregion, and complements its research programs with a unique education program that engages Maine’s middle school students with marine science.

Related Link: http://www.gmri.org/about/newsItem.asp?ID=25&y=2006&t=1