Odds and Ends

Newsworthy events from the Sea Grant community.

Cape Ann Fresh Catch

Community supported fisheries offer an innovative way for fishermen to bring fresh fish to the public. And if the success of Cape Ann Fresh Catch (CAFC) is any indication, it's an idea whose time has come. In its first season, the Gloucester-based program signed up more than 750 customers, or shareholders. Six boats are participating in the pilot program, which is supported by the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association (GFWA), MITSG and the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance.

In traditional marketing, fishermen go after whatever species is bringing in the best price. But with a community supported fishery (CSF), fishermen can haul in whatever fish is plentiful, as customers agree to take a variety of fish; the catch thus far has included cod, yellowtail flounder, and whiting. Another benefit of the CSF, points out GWFA president Angela Sanfilippo, is that it "keeps fishermen safer because they don't have to fight the weather to go offshore for a certain species; if the weather is dangerous, they can stay close to shore and catch only what the CSF needs that week."

CAFC customers pay up front for their weekly shares at one of eight locations in the Greater Boston and North Shore area. For $360, those in the first 12-week season got 8-12 lbs of whole fish per week and tips on cooking and filleting. The winter fishery, the program's third season, will focus on shrimp. NAMA coordinating director Niazz Dory notes that there are waiting lines for fishing vessels wanting to join the program, which is helping the public to better understand who catches the fish we eat and how local fisheries operate.

MITSG educator Sarah Olivo has been involved with the project since last winter, helping to get the word out to the public. And MITSG's Nancy Adams has been instrumental in helping to sign up the 285 Cambridge residents participating. For more information, see http://www.namanet.org/csf/cape-ann-fresh-catch.

BLB and OEX

On February 2, 2010, MITSG will host The Blue Lobster Bowl (BLB), in which Massachusetts high school students test their marine-related knowledge. Winners will advance to the National Ocean Science Bowl in April. Thanks to the software program created by Caine Jette, a junior in MIT's Computer Science Department, 12 of the 24 regional bowls will be going paperless this year, with plans for all of the regional bowls to go paperless next year.

Two students who'll be competing in their second BLB spent a month this past summer as MITSG Blue Lobster Bowl interns. Jennifer Hsu of Lexington High and Benjamin Kramer of Cambridge Rindge and Latin got a hands-on introduction to ocean engineering by building and enhancing their own remotely operated vehicles, known as the Sea Perch. They also went out into the field with the AUV Lab and looked for invasive species on the South Shore. To see them at work, go to http://seaperch.mit.edu/build_videos.php

This coming summer, MITSG will host its first Ocean Engineering Experience (OEX). In this week-long academic program, 30 students will design floating wind turbines to power remote control boats that they will test on the Charles River.

Murphy, Berman Join Woods Hole Sea Grant

Two new staffers have joined WHSG over the past several months, filling vacancies in the extension program shared with Barnstable County. Diane Murphy was appointed fisheries and aquaculture specialist, filling the position opened by the departure of Bill Walton. Murphy was previously the marine program specialist with Cape Cod Cooperative Extension. Prior to her appointment with the county in 1999, she was a field researcher for the Wildlife Conservation Society and an archivist for the American Museum of Natural History, both in New York. Murphy graduated from Pace University and is working toward a graduate degree from Western Connecticut State University. She lives in Brewster and can be reached at dmurphy@whoi.edu or (508) 375-6953.

Greg Berman is the new coastal processes specialist, replacing Jim O'Connell. Berman joined Sea Grant in August following more than 5 years with SAIC in Newport, R.I., where he specialized in geophysical aquatic and coastal surveys. He also worked for the U.S. Geological Survey in Honolulu and St. Petersburg, Fla. Berman is a graduate of Eckerd College and the University of South Florida. He lives in Pocasset and can be contacted at gberman@whoi.edu or (508) 289-3046.

O'Connell Continues To Add To Massachusetts Coastal Knowledge Base

Former WHSG coastal processes specialist Jim O'Connell has been finishing up some work he started before leaving for Hawaii Sea Grant in 2008 - and it's being well received.

He was a co-author on a paper published in the Oct. 27, 2009 issue of Environmental Research Letters entitled "State & Local Governments Plan for Development of Most Land Vulnerable to Rising Sea Level along the US Atlantic Coast."

The paper describes the possible linear length of coastal armoring of low-lying coastal areas (< 1 meter) in the future from Massachusetts to Florida. In turn, that will prevent the landward migration of coastal wetlands and, thus, their potential loss, according to the paper.

O'Connell and Stacey Justus, formerly of the Cape Cod Commission, also completed work in October on a model floodplain bylaw aimed at effectively managing coastal floodplain development.

The pair set out to develop a scientifically sound coastal floodplain regulation to help protect the shoreline and coastal floodplain, while facilitating appropriate uses of public and private property located within the coastal floodplain.