Winter workshops will take place during winter/spring 2016/2017. Workshops will take place around the state and will bring stakeholders together to learn from each other and from outside experts. Outside experts are chosen by participants, and can include scientists, policy analysts, fishermen from other states, and/or experts from other industries. Workshops are intended for fishery participants (fishermen, seafood businesses, shoreside support); with a few noted exceptions, they are not open to the public or media.

Members of RI’s commercial fishing industry can access notes and video from past workshops here, using your member log-in credentials. If you are a member of the commercial fishing industry and wish to obtain log-in credentials, go here.

 February 7, 2017 (4-6 pm): Focus on Black Sea Bass, at the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation.

The recent explosion of the black sea bass population in Southern New England offers a learnable moment about how science and management must adapt to changing ecosystems. The workshop will be led by Anna Malek Mercer of the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation and Jason McNamee from the Department of Environmental Management, who will talk about the issues and how CFRF’s black sea bass Research Fleet is working to resolve them through sound, collaborative science. Snacks will be served. Audience: commercial fishermen and shore-side businesses. The Commercial Fisheries Foundation is located at the Commercial Fisheries Center at URI’s East Farm (Rte. 108, between Kingston and Peacedale). RSVP‘ing is not necessary, but it helps! More info here.

February 13, 2107 (4:00 – 6:00 PM): Diversity and Specialization in RI Fisheries: Implications for Resilience, at the Coastal Institute’s Hazard Room

According to many Rhode Island commercial fishermen, the ability to be diverse in their fishing operations is a key ingredient in fisheries resilience. However, this ability has been steadily eroded over the last few decades, as licensing and quota schemes, export market orientation, and costs of doing business have created conditions that incentivze specialization. In this workshop, we’ll hear from three researchers (Josh Stoll, Dan Holland, and Geret dePiper) who have looked at the issue of diversity and specialization in different fisheries. Then we’ll invite URI researchers to brainstorm with RI fishing industry members about crafting a mini-research agenda to better understand how these trends are playing out in Rhode Island, and how we can think about them in the context of a changing environment. Audience: commercial fishermen, shore-side businesses, and researchers. The Hazard Room is located at the Coastal Institute at URI’s Bay Campus, 215 South Ferry Rd., Narragansett.  RSVP‘ing is not necessary, but it helps! More info here.

February 21, 2017 (8:00 AM – 5:00 PM): Full-day Scenarios Planning Workshop, at the South Kingstown Land Trust Barn

The consulting firm Future Strategies Group specializes in helping businesses think through future scenarios and prepare to face a range of different changes and uncertainties. They will lead a full-day workshop to help RI’s fishing businesses think collectively about building resilience into our industry. Audience: up to 48 commercial fishermen and shore-side businesses (space is limited). “Tie-up” compensation will be available to participants to offset time taken off work. Workshop agenda and registration available at this link.

March 15, 2017 (2:00 – 3:00 PM): Presentation at the Commercial Marine Expo

We’ll be hosting a one-hour panel discussion at the Commercial Marine Expo in Providence.  We’ll also have a table there all day March 15 and 16. Stop by to visit (we’ll be near the beer garden)!

Panel Description: New England fisheries are changing. The fleet and its captains are aging; regulatory change is occurring at ever-smaller intervals; and to top it all off, the ocean ecosystem is experiencing dramatic changes in temperature, timing of migrations, and location of fish stocks. Are our fisheries built to last in an era of environmental change? Join New England fishermen from different gear types who are working to figure out answers to this question through a statewide stakeholder co-learning process. Panel members will engage the audience in discussing current threats to the resilience of their industry and potential strategies to enhance its adaptive capacity.

December 7 (4-6 pm): RI Fisheries in a Warming World, at Whalers Brewery. 

Oceanographer Jon Hare joined RI fishermen for a chat about how warming water temperatures are affecting RI commercial fisheries.  Jon recently assumed a role as director of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Before taking that position, Jon was at the NEFSC Narragansett Lab, where he directed a two-year study to estimate and compare the vulnerability of each East Coast commercial species to climate change.

December 13 (4-6 pm): Ocean Acidification: Impacts on Ocean Fisheries, at the conference room above Superior Trawl.

Ocean and coastal acidification (caused mainly by a combination of global carbon dioxide emissions and and coastal nutrient inputs) has recently emerged as an issue of public concern and scientific inquiry. Changes in seawater pH are predicted to affect the marine food web in major ways — but where, and when? At this workshop, NOAA researcher Nathan Rebuck shed light on these and other burning questions. The intended audience included all ocean-going fishermen; a separate workshop for Narragansett Bay fishermen was held on December 14.

December 14 (4-6 pm): Ocean Acidification: Impacts on Narragansett Bay Fisheries, at the Warwick Elks Lodge. 

This workshop was designed for bay harvesters. Ocean and coastal acidification (caused mainly by a combination of global carbon dioxide emissions and and coastal nutrient inputs) has recently emerged as an issue of public concern and scientific inquiry. Changes in seawater pH are predicted to affect the shellfisheries in major ways — but where, and when? At this workshop, NOAA researcher Nathan Rebuck shed light on these and other burning questions. Refreshments will be provided and a cash bar is available. The intended audience was Narragansett Bay fishermen and quahoggers; a separate workshop for ocean fishermen was held on December 13.

December 20 (4-6 pm): Ecosystem change in Narragansett Bay, at the Newport Elks Lodge. 

Narragansett Bay fishermen are raising concerns about recent changes in the Bay ecosystem. At this workshop, we exchanged observations in the hopes of furthering a dialogue between fishermen, managers, and researchers about these changes and how to address them. The intended audience was all Narragansett Bay fishermen and quahoggers.

January 9, 2017 (4-6 pm): Fostering a New Generation of RI Fishermen, at the Contemporary Theater in Wakefield

A key ingredient in fishing industry resilience is the industry’s ability to replenish itself over time. But the average age of Rhode Island fishermen is going up, and access to licensing, training, and financing is more limited for today’s young fishermen than it was a generation ago. At this workshop, we heard from several young fishermen in RI who have embraced fishing as a career: their personal experiences, barriers they’ve observed, and hopes and dreams for the future of the industry. Then we listened to a panel of advocates from RI fisheries as well as other states and industries who are working to reduce barriers to young people: Dave Ghigliotty (RI Shellfishermen’s Association), Hannah Heimbuch (Alaska’s Next Generation of Fishermen project), and Tess Brown Lavoie (Young Farmer Network of Southeast New England and Land for Good).

January 18, 2107 (4-6 pm): Focus on Seaweed, at the RI Natural History Survey

RI’s commercial fishermen have been noticing changes in the make-up and abundance of our local seaweed communities, with implications for fishing and fish stocks. These include periodic outbreaks of nuisance seaweed like Heterosiphonia japonica that clog fishing nets and decreases in estuarine populations of brown seaweeds like rockweed and kelp. At this workshop, fishermen exchanged observations with seaweed reseracher Lindsay Green from the URI Department of Biology. We talked about what research is available to shed light on these changes, and what sorts of monitoring could be done in the future to understand them better.

January 23, 2017 (4-6 pm): Measuring Fishing Industry Vulnerability and Resilience, at the Bristol Maritime Center

The response of fishing communities to environmental change is conditioned on many social and economic factors. In this workshop, NOAA social scientist Lisa Colburn presented the results of a recent study to gauge the socio-economic vulnerability to climate change of Rhode Island and other East Coast fishing ports.

January 30, 2017 (4-6 pm): Focus on squid (Above Superior Trawl)

Squid is one of Rhode Island’s most important fisheries. This workshop was led by Owen Nichols from the Center for Coastal Studies, based in Provincetown. Owen’s research along with Chatham weir fishermen focuses on the responses of squid to temperature, oxygen, wind, and other factors. At this workshop, Owen revealed what he and the fishermen are finding, and how it relates to the science and management of squid in a changing climate.