Coastal Resources

Objectives:The goal of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant College Program (MITSG) Coastal Resources Focus Area is to provide scientific information to support sustainable and wise-use of coastal resources and to transfer scientific and technical information to stakeholders in Massachusetts and where applicable to the northeast region and nationally. The objectives are to: 1. Identify critical societal issues in the Gulf of Maine and facilitate the development of research, outreach, and education plans and programs that work towards solutions within an ecosystem-based management framework.2. Enhance scientific and technical literacy in the Commonwealth in support of a healthy coastal ecosystem and economy, through a variety of outreach efforts, including development of databases for use by stakeholders and scientists.Methodology:To implement these goals, the MITSG Coastal Resources Focus Area uses sound science as its underpinning and incorporates several guiding principles such as: seeking and using advice from stakeholders, allowing projects to evolve as new information or new issues arise, focusing on issues that are important locally and regionally but are of national and international significance, collaborating with and coordinating others to address issues, and mentoring students (who bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the problems) as part of the research and outreach activities. In support of addressing management priorities, the approach used relies on scientists to identify research that will provide scientific and technical support that is timely, socially relevant, and will lead to new insights and approaches to address specific issues. Applied research primarily on marine bioinvasions is conducted to support development of outreach materials. Outreach activities include convening focused group meetings, workshops and conferences, preparing outreach materials and training sessions, and working with local, state, regional, and national leaders to implement actions that lead to improved ecosystem management. Collaboration and cooperation with local, state, and federal agencies; non-government organizations, and MIT and WHOI Sea Grant staff is a major component of accomplishing the goals and objectives.Rationale:The message that the oceans are in trouble rings loud and clear in the media and scientific community. Two national reports call for greater emphasis on an ecosystem approach to management, regional coordination and collaboration in addressing critical ocean issues, and a strong emphasis on acting regionally and locally but transferring knowledge and understanding to national levels. The projects outlined in this proposal address three issues of importance to NOAA and the nation. Regional coordination was identified as a priority in the U.S. Oceans Commission Report among others and is a priority of the National Sea Grant, NOAA, and NOAA Fisheries. Similarly invasive species are a high priority for NOAA, National Sea Grant, and other state and federal agencies. It is considered one of the most critical issues impacting ecosystems next to habitat loss. Finally, MITSGís mission includes reaching out to Massachusetts with focused research and outreach activities. Forming a liaison with state agencies, non-government organizations and local constituents is essential for scientific and technology transfer in support of management decisions.