The success of this program hinges on sensitivity to the cultural differences that impede communication. The MREP implementation team works with content presenters to translate course material into approachable English and to develop novel ways to illustrate complex concepts.
The curriculum receives regular evaluation and upgrades to maintain relevance for fishermen. MREP emphasizes the importance of fishermen’s information and knowledge as a primary source of data. This builds confidence for individuals to contribute to effective fishery management.
The Fishery Science 100 Module
This three-day workshop provides participants with core foundation in the fundamentals of fisheries science.
Participants obtain a basic working knowledge of concepts in population biology and the assessment process, including survey sampling techniques, statistical tools, models and their uses, as well as biological reference points used in management. Information presented in this section helps relate fishing effort to stock assessments and shows how fishermen’s knowledge, fishery-dependent data, and collaborative science partnerships help to strengthen stock assessment models and results. The module examines developments in conservation engineering, as well as principles of ecosystem-based management and environmental influences on stock assessments.
The Fishery Management 100 Module
This three-day workshop provides an overview of entities that manage commercial and recreational fisheries with emphasis on the structure of the Fishery Management Council and the requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and National Standards.
The curriculum covers the components of a management plan, describes the progression of plan development, and identifies critical opportunities for participation and input. The module explores alternative ways for fishermen to initiate management solutions, including training in consensus building and negotiation skills. An important new component developed in 2012 simulates the Council process through a case study examination that provides participants an opportunity to immediately apply new knowledge to a management application. The final day ties in curriculum elements from the Science Module, examining the role of science, scientific process, and influence of scientific uncertainty in management systems.
MREP Science 200 Module
This two-day workshop provides an in-depth look at the trawl survey methodology and the collection and processing of data used in stock assessments.
The workshop includes a visit to the NMFS gear loft to explore the trawl nets and scallop dredges used in survey work, a trip aboard the Henry Bigelow research vessel with a tour of the onboard labs and sample handling stations, a visit to the Woods Hole Age and Growth lab, a discussion with port agents on data reporting, and time spent at the northeast Observer facility. The program concludes with an in-depth discussion about how the various pieces all contribute to stock assessments.
MREP Science 200 Module: Concepts in Ecosystem Based Fishery Management
Fishermen often express concern that what they are seeing on the water is not reflected in fisheries science, pointing to aspects like species interactions, ecological relationships, and climactic factors. Many scientists share these concerns and have been studying ways to incorporate environmental data and the relationships between different species into stock assessments. This emerging approach is called Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management (EBFM).
The MREP Concepts of Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management workshop takes participants through an in-depth discussion of what EBFM is, what it is being used for, and how it can better include fishermen. The workshop is always held in conjunction with a NMFS research lab so that participants have the opportunity to meet top NMFS scientists, explore on-going research, and learn first-hand how fishermen’s information can shape assessment models. Participants leave the workshop with a better understanding of the purpose of EBFM, what data sources are being used to develop the science, and how it may change fisheries management in the future.
Fisheries Science and Management for Recreational Anglers Module
Recreational saltwater fishing in the United States is more popular than ever, driving an expansive and diverse economy in every coastal corner of the country. As the number of recreational anglers has increased, so have the demands of the recreational saltwater fishing industry. Saltwater anglers have inherently different concerns than their commercial counterparts. This has led to both challenges and opportunities for the existing management system and highlighted the need for educated, engaged recreational anglers who are comfortable working within that system.
MREP Fisheries Science and Management for Recreational Anglers is an introductory look at the foundational concepts of the science and management of federally managed saltwater fisheries, with a special focus on those aspects most important to the recreational fishing industry. The three-day workshop gives participants insight into how fisheries data are collected and how those data lead to the regulations which govern recreational fishing. As with all MREP workshops, a primary focus is the opportunity for fishermen, scientists, and managers to network, exchange ideas, and build relationships. Participants leave the workshop prepared to engage effectively in the fisheries science and management process.