The state Department of Environmental Management and the URI Graduate School of Oceanography are partnering to produce more – and more efficient – data and analysis about the fishing industry here in the Ocean State.
The Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Institute “will enhance the state’s ability to positively affect marine fisheries research and management,” said Jason McNamee, a DEM biologist. He was speaking to a crowd of scientists, students, bureaucrats, politicians and fishermen at the Mosby Center, the oldest and most waterfront building at the Bay Campus. The group met there to formally bless the effort.
The Institute will focus on both commercial and recreational fishing, which DEM Director Janet Coit said “bring hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs into Rhode Island.”
Oceanography professor Jeremy Collie said he hopes the collaboration can make the state a hub for research and information. “When people have fisheries related questions, they will come to Rhode Island first,” he said.
And the folks from the fishing industry seem happy with the effort too:
As far as what the Institute will do, “I can think of about 50 projects off the top of my head,” said one fisherman in the audience. Ideas ranged from studying closer the emerging squid and scup fisheries, to the effects of climate change – which include some species, like cod and lobster, moving out of local waters and others, like summer flounder, moving in.
“The fishing industry will drive the agenda,” McNamee said. But Collie added, “the focus will be on research, not management.”