Center for Marine Social Sciences

Objectives:The principal goal of the CMSS is to apply advances in the social sciences to help resolve marine-related issues and contribute to policy development. In particular, CMSS has been working toward helping the New England region improve fisheries management so that both the industry and fisheries-dependent communities reach as sustainable level.Methodology:1. Research: Conducts research on the social science aspects of commercial fisheries and fishing dependent communities to provide data that may be incorporated into the fisheries management process.2. Liaison: Serves on a variety of boards and advisory panels to provide them with social science expertise, information about Sea Grant, and applicable research conducted at MIT.3. Outreach: Presentation, publications (writing and editing), and information technologies are used to reach a broad audience to disseminate research findings and to advance knowledge about the complexity of marine related and fisheries policy issues. Additional outreach includes active participation in selected groups with the objective of helping them build their organizational capacity. CMSS also provides information and contacts to students, job-seekers, and writers (journalists and others) upon request.Rationale:The use of social science methodology and research results leads to problem resolution and improved policy development. The importance of such a focus in fisheries management has been recognized in legislation and is underscored by recent judicial decisions. CMSS has been recruited to serve on a number of advisory panels specifically to address social and cultural issues facing managers. The research conducted provides fodder for knowledgeable outreach and effective liaison