co-learningResilient Fisheries RI is a co-learning network

Some problems are too elusive, too broad, and too multi-faceted to be fully understood or addressed by any one individual. Environmental change is a prime example: because no one really knows for sure how the environment is changing and what these changes mean for people, there’s no one source we can turn to for the answers. For situations like this, there’s co-learning.

Wikipedia defines “collaborative learning” as a situation in which people learn or attempt to learn something together. Learning through interaction, whether in-person or online, is a great way to work together to make sense of situations riddled with gaps and uncertainties – like environmental change.

Resilient Fisheries RI is a broad network of Rhode Island fishery stakeholders established to assemble new information, identify gaps, and explore new thinking about the impacts of environmental change on fisheries. Through workshops, informal gatherings, and an e-mail listserv, we will strategize about how to overcome new challenges, tap into new opportunities, and pool together our collective power to advocate for policies that bolster our resilience to change.

This network isn’t something you have to join. If you’re involved in fisheries, you’re already in it! That’s because the network we’re talking about is all of Rhode Island’s wild-harvest fishery stakeholders, a group that includes captains, crew, seafood dealers, gear makers, bait stringers, fuel suppliers, ice makers, etc. Talk to our Project Coordinator to sign up for the Listserv and get informed.

How does the network work?


In a co-learning network, everyone has a role to play. Some people learn and listen, while others play a more active role. For this project, the division of labor works like this:

The project coordinator for 2016-2017 is Sarah Schumann. Her roles include:

  • Tracking project progress and budgets
  • Administrating the project listserv
  • Masterminding the project calendar
  • Helping stakeholders find answers to their questions
  • Recruiting outside expertise to fill in knowledge gaps
  • Co-writing final products along with stakeholders
  • Identifying opportunities for sustained project impact

The fiscal sponsor

A fiscal sponsor is a non-profit organization that offers its legal and tax-exempt status to an unorganized group for a specific project. The fiscally sponsored project is distinct from the sponsor; the sponsor simply handles the accounting ledgers and assures funds are spent the way they’re supposed to be. The fiscal sponsor for this project is the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS) – a neutral party that has no previous involvement in fisheries issues. Having a neutral party as the project’s administrative “home” assures that it will represent all industry members, regardless of gear type, port, or ideology.

The Project Oversight Team

The project’s oversight team is a group of eleven people committed to shepherding the project from start to finish. These individuals represent a wide range of fisheries and geographies; together, they cover every gear type, port, and species in the state. Their role is to think about the project’s “big picture”: to make sure it is useful to all industry members, to identify leverage points for maximum impact on the broader issues facing fisheries, to spread the word about it to their own networks within the industry, and to help assure broad and lasting impact where it counts the most.

The Project Oversight Team is made up of:

  • Jeff Grant (representing West Bay and the RI Shellfishermen’s Association)
  • Rodman Sykes (representing Point Judith and the RI Commercial Fishermen’s Association)
  • Katie Eagan (representing East Bay and mixed inshore fisheries)
  • Norbert Stamps (representing Point Judith and the Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen’s Association)
  • Mike Marchetti (representing Point Judith and the Eastern New England Scallop Association)
  • Denny Ingram (representing Newport and inshore lobstering)
  • Ken Booth (representing the RI Commercial Rod and Reel Association)
  • Alan Glidden (representing the fish trap sector)
  • Katie Almeida (representing large-scale seafood processing)
  • Tom LaFazia (representing small-scale seafood processing)
  • Vacant (representing the port of Sakonnet)

The List Serve

Every industry member that has had contact with this project by participating in an interview, attending a workshop, or expressing general interest will be added to a project Listserv. The Listserv serves as a place for project updates, lively discussion, and joint learning. A list of current members can be found here. If you are a member of Rhode Island’s wild-harvest fishing and seafood industry, sign up for the list serve and members-only access to this website by clicking here.

The Members-Only Portion of the Website

The Resilient Fisheries RI website doubles as an information-sharing platform for members of Rhode Island’s wild-harvest fishing and seafood industry. The behind-the-scenes members-only portion includes video, audio, and summaries of past workshops, internal project documents and draft reports, and a discussion forum where industry members can continue conversing about topic of interest related to environmental change, uncertainty, and industry resilience. A list of current members can be found here. If you are a member of Rhode Island’s wild-harvest fishing and seafood industry, sign up for the list serve and members-only access to this website by clicking here.