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Fish Forever!


At its tenth anniversary, Penobscot East undertook strategic planning with the urgent recognition that the future of community-scale fishing in Maine hangs in the balance. A changing ocean, fisheries policy, marine science, public interest and the insights of fishermen have all converged: there is hope for fishing forever to be real. Handin-hand with many essential partners, Penobscot East’s contribution requires doubling our capacity in pursuit of six long-range goals that we believe are crucial to the future of fishing. The challenges are many. Today, as we set forth on this plan, the fishermen and fishing communities we serve in eastern Maine face new ecological and economic uncertainty. From Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border, they are highly dependent on just one fishery, a lobster “monoculture.” The ocean is changing before their eyes, affecting all Maine’s traditional fisheries – lobster, scallops, clams, shrimp and cod – in a variety of surprising ways. Regulatory roadblocks at federal and state levels and existing shoreside seafood systems work against the fundamental strategy of a successful small-boat fisherman: to adapt, shift species, and survive. Faced with staggering complexities, the signal accomplishment called for in Penobscot East’s vision and five-year plan is the first United States pilot of ecosystem-based fisheries co-management. The most promising innovation in global fisheries, what this means is that local fishermen, together with scientists, fishery managers, aquaculturists and others, have an integral role in research, rules, real-time monitoring and deci-

sion-making. It combines bottom-up knowledge and collaboration for results that no previous top-down system could ever afford or achieve. Doing this at ecosystem scale respects new scientific insights. It takes into account linked watersheds, river and marine systems across a distinct geographic area and the dynamic interdependencies of the marine food web. Significantly, ecosystem scale also means looking smaller, applying new understanding that most marine species exist far more locally (and carry out mating rituals far more elaborate) than anyone ever knew. Day-to-day conversations with fishermen remain Penobscot East’s critical touchstone; and helping fishermen adapt and succeed in a changing fishery is our test. The long view requires an enriched education for the next generation of fishermen, marine scientists and fishery managers. A sustainable future calls for all sorts of new learning; and fisheries licensing and management must change. Thinking a decade out and beyond, we also know nothing put in place will last without public understanding, strong support, and skilled, passionate leadership. Anchored by enduring principles with the promise of co-management at its heart, what follows is Penobscot East’s 2014– 2018 Strategic Plan. With gratitude to fishermen, partners, challengers and supporters, we are hopeful in presenting it. Together, we can secure a sustainable future for fisheries and fishing communities in Eastern Maine and make an impact for the world. The Board and Staff of Penobscot East Resource Center


Secure a sustainable future for fisheries and fishing communities in Eastern Maine and beyond.


Community fishermen’s engagement, knowledge and leadership is central to everything we do. There are three conditions for long-term success of fishing communities: (1) a diverse ecosystem that produces abundant resources; (2) access to fishing linked to stewardship; and (3) profitability for community scale fishermen including aquaculture and a diversified and adaptive shoreside food system. Collaborative science is a platform for fishermen’s participation in research design, data collection and information-sharing to increase understanding of marine stewardship. Co-management by fishermen, community-based organizations, scientists, and governments requires skill and integrity, and it offers hope in a dynamic and changing climate and ocean environment. A marine and river ecosystem approach holds the best potential for co-management of sustainable fisheries in Eastern Maine and globally. The credibility, relevance and legitimacy of Penobscot East Resource Center are essential to the trust upon which all of our relationships and work depends.


Deliver practical tools and support for today’s fishermen to adapt and succeed in a changing fishery. 2. EDUCATION FOR EFFECTIVE FISHERIES CO-MANAGEMENT

Partner with schools and communitybased groups to provide K-12, university-level, and professional education to prepare fishermen, regulators and scientists for effective co-management roles. 3. ECOSYSTEM-BASED FISHERIES CO-MANAGEMENT PILOT IN THE EASTERN GULF OF MAINE

Lead an initiative to establish the Eastern Gulf of Maine as the first U.S. ecosystem-based pilot where fisheries are co-managed by fishermen, community-based organizations, scientists and governments. 4. LEARNING AND POLICY FOR SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES

Contribute to ongoing learning and science-based policy for sustainable fisheries locally, nationally and globally. 5. INFORMED PUBLIC AND BROAD SUPPORT FOR THE MISSION

Inform the public about a sustainable fishing future and engage broad support for the mission within and beyond Eastern Maine fishing communities. 6. VITAL ORGANIZATION

Strengthen Penobscot East as a vital and maturing organization. 3


Tools and Support for Today’s Fishermen

Running any business is complex. But few begin to match the momentto-moment skills that owner-operator fishermen must have on the water, combined with the shoreside smarts to navigate a highly regulated and competitive industry. Add future uncertainties and the effects of climate change already impacting Maine’s fisheries, and the call for expert counsel and practical innovations resounds loud and clear.


• Engage in daily conversations with fishermen to build each other’s knowledge and identify priorities for tools and support.

such as Island Fishermen’s Wives Association, Stonington Lobster Working Group and Alewife Harvesters of Maine.

• Advance early positive results in rebuilding Maine’s nearshore scallop fishery with sustained investment in co-management of the new rotational system.

• Foster development of handling and distribution systems that can support and market a diversified, high-value catch and seafood harvest.

• Work to streamline Maine multi-fisheries licensing and access initiatives and assist fishermen to develop plans to diversify their business, including shellfish and seaweed aquaculture.

• Create and promote innovations such as lobster-handling best practices that reduce losses, gear changes for new conditions or new species, and adaptations to climate change including development of a new generation “Green Lobster Boat.”

• Collaborate and provide organizational support to a range of like-minded local groups


1 Above: Scale model hulls of Penobscot East’s experimental trimaran lobster boat design (left) and traditional Holland 38 (right). Right: Father and son, both Stonington fishermen, work on a herring dory, part of one of the surviving small-scale herring operations in Maine.

Stewardship and having fishermen involved is key and you are doing it, but it is a huge job. There has to be co-management, not just participating in a meeting. The community has to have true responsibility and ownership. To deal with policy and also deal with fishermen harbor by harbor is a huge challenge with a lot of depth. Face to face and personal communication trumps everything. In Downeast Maine these trump everything double! DWAYNE SHAW, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DOWNEAST SALMON FEDER ATION



Education for Effective Fisheries Co-Management What do you do at a high school where some students have been out on the water since the age of eight and already own a boat, truck, traps and make decent incomes as lobstermen? You meet students where they are with a real-world academic program that helps them graduate with knowledge of marine ecology, navigation, marine engineering, public policy and the communications skills to influence the future of an industry and way of life they love. Whether career fishermen or aspiring marine biology PhDs, today’s and tomorrow’s professionals need intensive preparation for co-management roles in a complex and challenging fisheries environment. STRATEGIC GOAL: PARTNER WITH SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY-BASED GROUPS TO PROVIDE K-12, UNIVERSITY-LEVEL, AND PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION TO PREPARE FISHERMEN, REGULATORS AND SCIENTISTS FOR EFFECTIVE CO-MANAGEMENT ROLES. PENOBSCOT EAST WILL:

• Grow and promote the Eastern Maine Skippers Program in coastal high schools from North Haven to Eastport, offering specialized courses and region-wide connections to students planning a career on the water. • Play a lead partner role with the Marine Studies Pathway at Deer Isle-Stonington High School, a whole-education approach to meeting all the standards for graduation.


• Create a professional co-management education program with a mentoring component for fishery managers and interns. • Deepen marine and social science education with Maine colleges and universities, including internships, residencies, guest teaching, lectures and potential joint appointments between Penobscot East and higher education partners.

Above: Professor Brian Beal gives directions to students from the Deer Isle-Stonington High School about how to carry out the research project examining the likelihood of clam survival and growth under various conditions. Photo by Jessica Brophy; Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, May 16, 2013 Right: Education of future fishermen also occurs on deck. Photo by Paul Meadow

The idea of fishing restoration is very compelling. It is a picture about what an interesting future can be. This is sophisticated and it connects with local history, knowledge, with what could be…and there is hope! We could do this! REV. SCOT T PL ANTING, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MAINE SEA COAST MISSION



Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Co-Management Pilot in the Eastern Gulf of Maine In Downeast Maine, we have shown that when fishermen and regulators co-manage a fishery, they are able to design sustainable strategies. The payoff is abundance, community well-being, and local supplies of high quality fish that cannot be achieved any other way. The lobster fishery is a well-known example and Maine’s new rotational management system for scallops is a fledgling success. In alignment with its mandate to move all U.S. fisheries to ecosystem-based management, NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) is working with Penobscot East to pilot an Eastern Gulf of Maine governance model, the first in the nation designed to learn what co-management actually looks like to fishermen, scientists and managers at ecosystem scale. STRATEGIC GOAL: LEAD AN INITIATIVE TO ESTABLISH THE EASTERN GULF OF MAINE AS THE FIRST U.S. ECOSYSTEM-BASED PILOT WHERE FISHERIES ARE CO-MANAGED BY FISHERMEN, COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS, SCIENTISTS AND GOVERNMENTS. PENOBSCOT EAST WILL:

• Publish findings of global literature and best-practices in fisheries co-management, identify U.S. and Canadian data sources, and create an asset map of Eastern Gulf of Maine players. • Convene a design team with local, state, federal, tribal and cross-border partners and create a Governance Plan for the area. • Strengthen Downeast Fisheries Partnership and link with river restoration to build participation in the pilot with fishermen and fishermen stewardship organizations, aquaculturalists, community-based organizations, conservation organizations, universities and others. 8

• Through the pilot, identify governance strengths and challenges to ongoing implementation, including scientific bottlenecks and mismatches in scales, legal or political roadblocks, and social or economic concerns. • Provide leadership for implementation of the pilot and continue to be positioned in the critical “external agent” role of a non-governmental organization (NGO) charged with ongoing relationship-building, facilitation and support for collaborative science and co-management at ecosystem scale.

Above: Scallop fishermen design rotational closures with Penobscot East staff at the start of the new state scallop co-management program. Right: A shrimper rigs his trawl in the winter Northern shrimp fishery, a highly variable fishery ripe for comanagement in the future.

When members of the group meet with regulators, they argue that the fisheries are a massive collection of tiny and particular habitats that can be tended only by those who know them. If fishing regulations reflect the knowledge and the needs of the Stonington lobstermen, smaller day boats like theirs will have a fighting chance. And so will the fish. MOLLY O’NEILL , NEW YORK TIMES, 1/17/07

Penobscot East possesses a deep understanding of the history of fisheries policies, the mammoth federal system, the pace. And they are committed to changing those policies to work for the communities of eastern Maine. WILL HOPKINS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COBSCOOK BAY RESOURCE CENTER



Learning and Policy for Sustainable Fisheries Current fisheries management is ripe for change. It is important both to foster that change and to document and learn from it. At the state level, a Maine policy initiative has the goal of revising the licensing structure to simplify fishermen’s ability to diversify their catch and also to tie licenses to participation in stewardship. Repeatedly, advice from coastal fishermen is that affordable and diverse access rights are the lynchpin of their family and community economies and those of future generations. At the federal level, a win-win opportunity exists in 2014-16 with the reauthorization of the fisheries management law, the Magnuson Act. It can be improved. The Act’s scientific guidance should incorporate the unique localized geography that most species have, including fish that travel both river and marine ecosystems in their life cycle. The Act should also codify continued collaborative science that brings fishermen’s knowledge to policy. STRATEGIC GOAL: CONTRIBUTE TO ONGOING LEARNING AND SCIENCEBASED POLICY FOR SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES LOCALLY, NATIONALLY AND GLOBALLY. PENOBSCOT EAST WILL:

• Continue to monitor fish recovery at the mouths of restored rivers utilizing the Sentinel Survey collaborative science platform with fishermen, NEFSC and University of Maine. • Extend the collaborative science platform for broader oceanographic and ecological data in the Eastern Gulf of Maine and convene conferences to focus on marine and social science data-gathering, findings and emerging research questions. • Document work on Maine scallop co-management as a pilot from which other fisheries and other areas can learn. 10

• Advocate federal policies that protect community-based fisheries, improve ecosystembased science, and gain additional localized co-management. • Partner with the Maine Department of Marine Resources and others to develop a new multi-fishery stewardship and owner-operator-based licensing system. • On an ongoing basis, identify policies and actions that affect the fishing environment and participate in science and advocacy that supports long-term resource rebuilding, access and sustainability.

New Brunswick, Canada Eastport, ME


Nova Scotia, Canada

Stonington, ME

Portland, ME New Hampshire

Area served by PERC

Gulf of Maine Boston, MA

Above: Penobscot East works in the Eastern Gulf of Maine from Penobscot Bay east to Canada. This area is designated a separate marine ecosystem by the federal government. Right: Fishermen’s lines were used to establish rotational management in the winter scallop fishery.

Maine Sea Grant has worked closely with Penobscot East Resource Center staff since it was established in 2003, and we are so grateful for your partnership and innovative research and community-based approaches to fisheries management, coastal community development, and coastal and marine heritage projects, among many other issues. We are thrilled to see the incredible growth in PERC’s work and staff capacity over the past decade, and the waterfront facility is a wonderful new home and welcoming hub for community participation. We would like to raise a toast to the past ten and the next twenty years of our collaboration with Penobscot East Resource Center! BETH BISSON, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR OUTREACH AND EDUCATION MAINE SEA GR ANT COLLEGE PROGR AM, UNIVERSIT Y OF MAINE



Informed Public and Broad Support for the Mission

Anyone paying even casual attention to news about New England’s fishing industry knows that efforts to manage our nation’s fisheries have not served small coastal fishing communities well. This matters. It matters to the communities, many of which are rural and isolated with few economic options. It matters to Congress’ vision of the public interest for use of public fisheries resources. And it matters to the seafoodconsuming public, who increasingly ask who caught their fish; and where and how. Understanding both the resilience and critical fragility of our marine resources and fishing communities is a powerful motivator to all those who believe in a sustainable future and are striving to achieve it. STRATEGIC GOAL: INFORM THE PUBLIC ABOUT A SUSTAINABLE FISHING FUTURE AND ENGAGE BROAD SUPPORT FOR THE MISSION WITHIN AND BEYOND EASTERN MAINE FISHING COMMUNITIES. PENOBSCOT EAST WILL:

• Publish and speak as regional, national and international thought leaders in venues ranging from Maine Policy Review and Maine Fishermen’s Forum to World Fishing, TEDx and the New York Times. • Welcome the public to an interactive education room at Penobscot East’s headquarters in the heart of Stonington’s working waterfront. • Host popular events such as the annual Lobster Buoy Auction and year-round “fascinating fishing” talks for visitors, fishermen and area residents.


• Explore development of a major Downeast Maine Seafood Fair. • Conduct extensive outreach with partners, individual donors, private foundations and government officials to secure multi-year investments in Penobscot East’s strategic goals and vision of fishing forever.

Local fishermen supply Penobscot East’s touch tank with interesting creatures — a source of wonder for kids of all ages.

The forces of the human species increasingly impacting and upsetting the world’s ecosystems are not easy forces to overcome. To use an old phrase, it is important to think globally, but necessary to act locally. This is what you have been doing so admirably. The Gulf of Maine is blessed with several organizations doing important work to support and save this ecosystem, support species diversity, preserve and rebuild the historic fishing industry, and restore the financial health of this industry so important to the State of Maine. From my perspective over these many years, Penobscot East – although small - has been the soul, conscience and a leader in multiple ways that keep this effort moving ever forward. RICH DAVISON, TRUSTEE, THE SUDBURY FOUNDATION

We’re worried about the future. But we’ve realized if you develop a voice you can change the future. You can never go back, but you can go ahead. With the ability to access our resources, which are our heritage, the future is very bright. JOHN RENWICK, FISHERMAN, GOULDSBORO



Vital Organization

In February 2011, Nature published an academic review of 130 co-managed fisheries in a wide range of countries. Strong leadership was identified as the most important attribute contributing to successful management of aquatic resources and securing the livelihoods of communities who depend on them. Since its beginning at a kitchen table in 2003, Penobscot East has made the crucial transition from a small core of passionate individuals to a highly professional staff, a dedicated Board of Directors and a wide-ranging network of engaged fishermen. In the coming years, a strong organization is poised to galvanize the talent, resources and partnerships essential to results of world significance in Downeast Maine. STRATEGIC GOAL: STRENGTHEN PENOBSCOT EAST AS A VITAL AND MATURING ORGANIZATION. PENOBSCOT EAST WILL:

• Strengthen board governance by establishing a Scientific Advisory Committee and implementing small group “Captain’s Table” gatherings to assure a range of fishermen’s views are always heard and considered. • Build out the Development Committee with board and non-board members who who actively champion continued growth in Penobscot East’s fundraising. • Phase-in a 5-year plan to grow from seven to sixteen staff members as called for to fully implement the strategic plan. • Implement an executive succession plan for a smooth transition when the founding executive director retires from the role in 2017.

• Fully utilize the Stonington waterfront facility based on a master architecture, technology and greening plan. • Continue extensive in-person and grassroots media outreach with local fishermen, families and communities. • Raise Penobscot East’s profile with government officials, foundations, philanthropists and environmental and fisheries leaders. • Continually assess Penobscot East’s opportunities and challenges and implement a regular annual cycle to revisit and update the strategic plan.

14 Board of Directors L to R Front: Ted Hoskins, Brent Oliver, Walt Reed, Charlie Osborn, Thomas Urmy, Bob Steneck, Ted Ames, Chuck Lucas, Paul Lewis; Back: Dennis Damon & Jim Chesney; Missing from photo: Dwight Carver, Sallie Findlay, Paul Venno & Jim Wilson

Above: Penobscot East’s building in the heart of Stonington’s working waterfront. Right: Stonington is Maine’s leading lobster port and home to over 350 lobster boats.

DMR’s ‘50,000 foot’ goal remains diversification of fisheries long-term which is the absolutely hardest thing. There is a huge role here for Penobscot East. We have seen the benefit of your local conversations with fishermen and feeding those back, especially with scallops. Diversification and access is a key thing to remain focused on short-term and longterm. You will need the growth called for in your plan to do what you need to do. COMMISSIONER PAT KELIHER, DEPARTMENT OF MARINE RESOURCES, STATE OF MAINE

15 Staff, L to R Front: Kelly Gell, Carla Guenther, Robin Alden, Aaron Dority Back: Bobbi Billings, Pat Shepard, Brian Conklin-Powers


Eastern Maine will be a place where we can sustain fishing, forever. Rebuilding and maintaining Eastern Maine fisheries requires all-hands-ondeck co-management of the marine and river ecosystem, work that will be done in partnership with fishermen, community-based groups, scientists, and tribal, state and federal fisheries managers and others. The result will be fishing that is able to adapt so well that productivity of the ecosystem is sustained, even as the climate and oceans change. At the same time, the shoreside economy that supports and is supported by fishing will be structured for a diverse, high-value catch and rapid response to changing conditions. Penobscot East Resource Center will have a key role piloting and facilitating this globally significant co-management system.

Penobscot East Resource Center 13 Atlantic Ave., Stonington, ME 04681 Phone: 207 367-2708 FEBRUARY 2014