2008 Annual Report
Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Community Overview

A major thrust of our community initiatives in 2009 centered on the difficult transition underway in New England’s historic groundfishing industry from a "days-at-sea" management system to harvesting sectors. Our staff was down in the trenches with fishermen and policy makers doing the hard, messy work that comes with implementing a new way of doing business.

We provided training and support for incoming sector managers, grappled with monitoring and reporting challenges, and helped the fishing community think creatively about how to maximize the value of their catch as the first fishing season under the new rules approached. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration partnered with GMRI to provide start-up financial assistance to sectors. Our staff worked through multiple models to help fishermen settle on an equitable plan to disperse these funds. We conducted a series of ethnographic interviews to capture attitudes and perceptions as fishing families grappled with seemingly overwhelming changes.

GMRI's sustainable seafood program also gained significant momentum in 2009. Hannaford, our signature partner, adopted a rigorous sourcing policy for the seafood sold in their grocery stores. We engaged scientists, harvesters, processors, distributors, retailers, and conservation organizations to define a rigorous set of standards to guide responsible harvesting. We laid the groundwork for a new branding program that will make it easy for families to choose Gulf of Maine seafood products that look to the future.

We continued to nurture leadership in the fishing community, adding an advanced course for alumni of our Marine Resources Education Program. We prototyped a new series of Lobster Biz workshops to provide training for lobster families to enhance skills in basic accounting, financing, and planning for business growth or retirement.

Our SeaState lectures engaged the community with the work of the Census of Marine Life and the Gulf of Maine’s potential to develop renewable ocean energy.

Recognizing the extraordinary growth of our community programs over the past five years, we conducted an extensive international search to find a strategic and entrepreneurial leader to serve as our first Director of Community Initiatives. We were delighted to recruit Kate Burns from Ireland.

Merging Tradition and Innovation
Kate Burns
by Kate Burns
GMRI's new Director of Community Initiatives
Deepening Our Impact

GMRI co-hosted workshop guides effort to find most effective geographic scale to manage fisheries.

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