By Tom Marking
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) has developed an educational program to better inform sportsmen, managers, legislatures and those interested in Fishery Management and Science of the how and why of the Council Management Process. Tim Klassen, Dan Wolford (PFMC Commissioner) and I were invited to attend a scoping meeting last week in Portland. The Group is funded by the Packard and Betty Moore Foundation. That got my antennae up since those were the players in the Marine Life Pro-tection Act out here in California some years back. We spent a day and a half discussing the merits of the program and what our emphasis would be and who might be interested in attending and participating in lecturing at the sessions.
The Program is strictly an educational program developed in the Maine area to try to bridge the gap of knowledge and understanding between anglers, managers, scientists and legislative types. To their credit, those attending seem really impressed, so they are branching out to other areas of the country to spread this program. They have done this for 12 years (always on the East Coast) and have about 700 people who have attended the program. The program is two sessions of about three days each. There is a module on science and another on management. The modules appear to be very informative and their purpose is to bring understanding and a more cooperative environment between the anglers and the man-agement folks. To that end they bring all the stakeholders in the process together to meet and talk about their fishery and build relationships between them to foster better science and communication. It sounds like a laudable goal.
The meeting ended on a high note with the West Coast exhibiting a strong interest to implement the process out here. The GMRI folks are the resource staff to set the program up, but all the participants and presenters would be from the West Coast. Their long term purpose is to get new blood into the Fishery Management Council process and encourage interested persons to attend these meetings and get involved in fishery management. With that in mind they will be advertising to those interested in apply-ing for this program in the near future. They intend to have a science session in San Diego in May and a second session on management in Portland in October of this year. The attendees will be from all the three Pacific states with a mixture of scientists, biologists, sports anglers, commercial fishers, managers, and a few other selected folks of varying interests. Their hope is to get an ongoing program started to build an alumni of about 600 folks out here to get more involvement in the Fishery Management Process in future years. They need to get new blood into the process.
If you are interested, Google the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and you can download their modules of the pro-grams they have put on so far. They are very informational and geared to the angler. If you are interested in attending a program such as this, an invitation will be posted on their website in the near future to select par-ticipants. We were all impressed with the pro-gram and think it will be of great value to those that attend.