June 3, 2011

Tech Assistance for Lobstermen

MIT Sea Grant announces the launch of a USDA Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts's lobster industry. The program consists of a series of free workshops and cash benefits for eligible Massachusetts lobstermen. Over 900 lobstermen in Massachusetts signed up for the program. Each will take 12 hours of intensive workshops and write a short-term business plan. If they choose to continue with the program, they will be assigned a business consultant who will work one-on-one with the lobstermen to help them develop a long-term business plan. The first workshop is scheduled for June 8, 2011.

BACKGROUND
In the fall of 2010, MIT Sea Grant helped Massachusetts Lobsterman's Association (MLA) file a petition under the USDA Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts's lobster industry. The TAA program provides free technical training and cash benefits for eligible farmers and fishermen whose businesses have experienced adverse impacts from foreign imports. The program is designed to help individuals increase profitability, improve production efficiency, consider marketing opportunities, and evaluate alternative enterprises.

Evidence was provided to support the claim that prices and production of American lobster in Massachusetts were negatively affected by foreign imports in 2009. On September 24, 2010, that petition was certified, paving the way for the Commonwealth's lobstermen to receive benefits through the TAA program.

The full summer schedule is listed below, and class descriptions are available online at the TAA website, http://www.taaforfarmers.org/commodity/default.aspx?Id=20. The hope of the program is that the majority of participants will be able to complete the required 12 hours of workshops either online or in person by the end of the year. Most of the second phase intensive workshops are available in-person and online.

WORKSHOP OFFERINGS LISTED BY LOCATION
Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, Large Classroom, 23 Harbor Loop, Gloucester, MA
Taught by Steve Parkes
6/8/11 ---no morning workshop--- 4 PM Alternative Enterprises
6/11/11 9 AM Marketing Overview 1 PM Marketing Opportunities
6/14/11 ---no morning workshop--- 4 PM Changing Business Models
7/28/11 9 AM Quality and Handling 1 PM Energy Consumption & Fishing Efficiency
7/30/11 9 AM Alternative Enterprises 1 PM Developing your Business Plans
8/9/11 ---no morning workshop--- 4 PM Changing Business Models
8/17/11 ---no morning workshop--- 4 PM Quality and Handling
8/27/11 9 AM Marketing Overview 1 PM Marketing Opportunities

Chatham Community Center, Large Conference Room, Chatham Community Center, 702 Main Street, Chatham, MA
Taught by Ellen Tyler
6/24/11 9 AM Marketing Overview 1 PM Alternative Enterprises
6/25/11 9 AM Marketing Opportunities 1 PM Changing Business Models
7/26/11 9 AM Energy Consumption 1 PM Quality and Handling
7/27/11 9 AM Marketing Overview 1 PM Marketing Opportunities
8/23/11 9 AM Energy Consumption 1 PM Quality and Handling
8/24/11 9 AM Alternative Enterprises 1 PM Changing Business Models

Northeast Maritime Institute, Lemley Hall Annex, 56 Main Street, Fairhaven, MA
Taught by NMI staff
(Note once a month at NMI, we will be hosting an Open Computer Lab night if you would like to take some TAA courses online and need some assistance.)
6/9/11 9 AM Quality and Handling 1 PM Energy Consumption
6/10/11 9 AM Marketing Overview 1 PM Marketing Opportunities
6/16/11 6-9 pm Open Computer Lab Night Need online assistance?? Come and do TAA courses online with a tutor to help you through the process!
6/27/11 1 PM Changing Business Models 4:30 PM Alternative Enterprises
6/28/11 1 PM Direct Marketing 4:30 PM Develop Your Business Plan
7/11/11 6-9 pm Open Computer Lab Night Need online assistance?? Come and do TAA courses online with a tutor to help you through the process!
7/14/11 1 PM Marketing Overview 4:30 PM Marketing Opportunities
7/15/11 9 AM Quality and Handling 1 PM Energy Consumption
7/21/11 1 PM Changing Business Models 4:30 PM Alternative Enterprises
7/22/11 9 AM Direct Marketing 1 PM Develop Your Business Plan
8/11/11 1 PM Quality and Handling 4:30 PM Energy Consumption
8/12/11 9 AM Marketing Overview 1 PM Marketing Opportunities
8/15/11 6-9 pm Open Computer Lab Night Need online assistance?? Come and do TAA courses online with a tutor to help you through the process!
8/29/11 1 PM Changing Business Models 4:30 PM Alternative Enterprises
8/30/11 1 PM Direct Marketing 4:30 PM Develop Your Business Plan

ABOUT MIT SEA GRANT
The mission of the MIT Sea Grant College Program is to employ innovative research, education and outreach strategies to responsibly use and sustain the vital marine resources of Massachusetts. The issues we address manifest locally but many are global in nature. Compelling challenges demand our attention as a solo entity and in partnership with other groups living and working on the coasts and at sea. MIT Sea Grant brings the substantial intellectual abilities of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and our sister universities to bear on ocean-related challenges requiring an extraordinary technical contribution. In meeting these challenges, we expand human understanding of the ocean and establish the infrastructure to sustain the initiatives and talent pool needed to address complex issues of critical and fragile marine resources.

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MIT Sea Grant College Program
Mail to: 77 Massachusetts Avenue, E38-300, Cambridge, MA 02139
To visit: 292 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02140
http://seagrant.mit.edu/


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Lobstermen, Photo curtesy NOAA

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