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Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor"You have a lot of time to think when you're out at sea. You can think about how things ought to be," says Richard Taylor. Taylor started fishing in 1968 and has spent about half of the past thirty-some years working the seas, pondering, and working to improve fisheries and the marine environment. As a crew man, he fished in Virginia for scallops, went off-shore trawling and lobstering in Gloucester, and shrimped in Kodiak, Alaska. A resident of Gloucester since 1970, he estimates that eight of his first eleven years there were spent out on Georges Bank. And many free nights were spent in an MIT library that stocked marine literature and helped feed a keen curiosity in math and science.

Taylor bought his first boat in the late 1980s and recalls, "I moved around and got to look at a number of different fisheries. I watched them wax and wane." Taylor last worked as a fisherman in 1997, when his vessel sank at the dock in Gloucester. More recently, he has participated in the scallop biomass surveys of three of the closed areas as a scientist/data collector and is active on advisory panels and the Research Steering Committee that funds projects to improve Northeast fisheries management. He has worked with MIT Sea Grant on a number of efforts, the most recent of which explored the convergence of GIS technologies and fisheries vessel electronics to map what's where in the oceans. "With these technologies we can now store and display our own information, thereby making it much more accessible," he says.

Taylor is particularly interested in the impact of fisheries on ecosystems, and in light of the growing population, the need to develop aquaculture for increased marine protein production. "I've watched the population double and the fisheries are not enough to sustain us. Aquaculture is absolutely critical," he explains.

As a member of the Sea Scallop Working Group, Taylor has worked for several years with state and federal officials, environmentalists, financial supporters, and scientists to support the development of sea scallop aquaculture in New England. The list of his collaborations is long, and currently includes three federally funded scallop projects, including a Gloucester-based grow-out program. Taylor's also handy on the web. To learn more about what he's doing, check out

-Andrea Cohen, MIT Sea Grant

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