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2 016 – 2 019 S T R AT E G IC PL A N

The future we have is the future we make.

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Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries has a simple but ambitious mission: for the communities of Eastern Maine to fish forever and in doing so, to learn how to do something the world needs. This is our challenge and our opportunity. The organization is at a transformational moment. We have changed our name to Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries to better reflect our mission and programs. And, we are in the midst of a search for our next Executive Director, as Robin Alden prepares to step aside at the end of 2017. This is part of a deliberate, 5-year plan leadership transition plan. Hand-in-hand with many essential partners, we are on track to meet the organization’s plan for doubling our capacity in pursuit of our six longrange goals that we believe are crucial for the future of fishing. The challenges are many. From Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border, the fishermen and fishing communities we serve are highly dependent on just one fishery, a lobster “monoculture.” At the same time, 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 persist and existing shoreside seafood systems work against the fundamental strategy of a successful small-boat fisherman: to adapt, shift species, and survive. And yet, this is a moment when leadership and innovation can have an impact. Climate change is spurring changes in fisheries science and management. Dam removals are sparking a tremendous rebound of river herring, the prey fish that 2 may result in restoration of marine fisheries, too.

Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries is embarking on the signal accomplishment of this plan: inking an agreement with both federal and state agencies to spearhead the science for a co-managed, ecosystem-based fishery management pilot, the first in the nation. We will enlist fishermen and a broad group of scientists and managers to research, monitor and eventually, make decisions for fisheries in a changing climate. We have an opportunity to pursue one of the most promising global innovations in fisheries. The pilot builds upon our foundational work. Day-to-day conversations with fishermen remain our 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 requires new learning; 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 Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ 2014 – 2019 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 Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries


Secure a sustainable future for fisheries and fishing communities in Eastern Maine and beyond. stratPlan_2016-2019_FA.indd 2

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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 Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries 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. 3


Strengthen Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries as a vital and maturing organization.

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Tools and Support for Today’s Fishermen

Running any business is complex. But few begin to match the moment-to-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 a strong policy framework, expert counsel and practical innovations resounds loud and clear. STRATEGIC GOAL: DELIVER PRACTICAL TOOLS AND SUPPORT FOR TODAY’S FISHERMEN TO ADAPT AND SUCCEED IN A CHANGING FISHERY. MAINE CENTER FOR COASTAL FISHERIES WILL:

• Engage in daily conversations with Downeast Maine fishermen to exchange information, make connections, and build knowledge and trust. • Provide outreach, training and individualized support each year for fishermen to manage and diversify their businesses, including adaptation to climate change. • Respond to oppor tunities to assist Eastern Maine owner-operators in preserving permits for future communityscale fishermen.

• Increase the ability for community-based fishermen to make the best return on landed catch. • Help to assure access in current and emerging fisheries by managing the federal Northeast Coastal Communities Sector (NCCS) and operating a small permit bank. • Advance development of an energy-efficient, trimaran Green Lobster Boat with Maine Maritime Academy through building a prototype with a nonprofit organization seeking an exemplary vessel and responding to opportunities for commercialization.

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


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Above: Above: Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries has developed and tested a new, trimaran design for a lobster boat. An initial 20’ prototype will be built in 2017. Right: Mike Thalhauser and fisherman activist Bailey Bowden take plankton samples as part of the three-town alewife restoration on the Bagaduce River watershed that Bailey leads.

You people are working really hard looking out for us fishermen. It’s not just about today, it’s about tomorrow, and the tomorrows after that. We’re just doing our thing out on the water. It’s great to know you have our backs. R ANDY BET TS, DEER ISLE FISHERMAN


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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 COMANAGEMENT ROLES. MAINE CENTER FOR COASTAL FISHERIES 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. • Provide leadership training and mentorship for fishermen using Community Fisheries Action Roundtable (C-FAR) methods • Engage in with fisheries managers to exchange information and develop methods for co-management.

• 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 Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries and higher education partners.


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Above: Eastern Maine Skippers students make shoreline transects to explore flora and fauna in the intertidal zone. Right: Education of future fishermen also occurs on deck. Photo by Paul Meadow

My students were impacted educationally by the Eastern Maine Skippers Program this year and one grew immensely from both social and emotional angles; he was recognized for his speaking skills, imagination and hard work. The students learned about an area (testimony) of the legislative process not normally accessible to high school students. DAVID MCKECHNIE, TEACHER, NORTH HAVEN HIGH SCHOOL

You are actually involved in not just research, but also in education too, graduate education. My students enjoy working with your staff. You guys work very closely with the industry and so I feel we can collaborate, with you, with the DMR, and the industry teamed up to achieve sustainable fisheries. DR . YONG CHEN, PROFESSOR, SCHOOL OF MARINE SCIENCES, UNIVERSIT Y OF MAINE


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Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Co-Management Pilot in the Eastern Gulf of Maine In Downeast Maine, we have shown that when fishermen and regulators comanage a fishery, they are able to design sustainable strategies. The payoff is abundance, community well-being, and local supplies of high quality seafood that cannot be achieved any other way. The successes of the scallop rotational management we have shepherded is the most recent demonstration of this. And the lobster fishery is a well-known example. Now, in the face of a changing climate, the federal fisheries management is shifting from single species to ecosystem-based management. Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries is developing a groundbreaking collaborative science agreement with the NOAA Fisheries and the Maine Department of Marine Resources designed to support co-management and participatory science at ecosystem scale here in eastern Maine. 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. MAINE CENTER FOR COASTAL FISHERIES WILL:

• Support the emergence and ongoing practice of co-management in Maine fisheries including scallops, alewives, clams, and groundfish. • Develop and implement a cooperative agreement with NOAA Fisheries and the Maine Department of Marine Resources to create a scientific framework with the capacity to support an inter-jurisdictional, comanaged, ecosystem-based fisheries pilot area in the eastern Gulf of Maine.

• Develop and maintain a network of relationships with eastern Maine fishermen and community members to support development of co-managed governance for community resilience. • Strengthen Downeast Fisheries Partnership and link with river restorations to build participation in the pilot with fishermen and fishermen stewardship organizations, aquaculturists, community-based organizations, conservation organizations, universities and others.


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Above: Scallop fishermen design rotational closures with Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries staff at the start of the new state scallop co-management program. Right: Justin Boyce, a Stonington fisherman, unloads a scallop drag, one alternative fishery that has recovered recently due to collaboration between fishermen like Boyce, Department of Marine Resources and Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries.

So it’s a huge help that Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries is getting the three towns on the Bagaduce together, to work together, because it’s not just fishery-based, this is most likely going to morph into some sort of group that wants to manage, ensure the sustainability of the entire river. BAILEY BOWDEN, FISHERMAN, CHAIR PENOBSCOT CL AM AND ALEWIFE COMMIT TEES


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Learning and Policy for Sustainable Fisheries This is a time of innovation in fisheries, sparked by climate change, new scientific research into fish stocks and behavior, and growing insight into the social and economic factors that determine community resilience. For eastern Maine fishing communities to fish forever, we need a new policy framework: this calls upon our strengths as innovators and our work as policy advocates for the long term health of fisheries and fishing communities. It is urgent because of the region’s current ~90% dependence on just one fishery, lobster. The state licensing system must be revised to allow fishermen to diversify and to tie licensing to stewardship. Affordable and diverse access rights to fish are the lynchpin of family and community economies in a dynamic, climate-change context. Federal access rights for coastal Maine fishermen are also critical. If, as our work suggests, cod and haddock and other groundfish will rebuild, these fishermen face will never be able to catch them due to federal rules that exclude them. A policy solution is essential for the long term health of Maine fishing communities. STRATEGIC GOAL: CONTRIBUTE TO ONGOING LEARNING AND SCIENCEBASED POLICY FOR SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES LOCALLY, NATIONALLY AND GLOBALLY. MAINE CENTER FOR COASTAL FISHERIES WILL: SCIENCE


• Continue time series of data on the status of eastern Gulf of Maine groundfish and research the impact of river restoration on groundfish stocks using the Sentinel Survey collaborative science platform with fishermen, University of Maine, and NOAA Fisheries.

• Advocate for multi-fishery stewardship and an owner-operator-based state licensing system.

• Collect, consolidate and synthesize socioeconomic, ecological and oceanographic datasets to provide a scientific platform for ecosystem-based co-management. • Collaborate with the state on scallop science that supports scallop co-management.


• Document the social, cultural and economic elements that contribute to emergence of ecosystem-based community stewardship.

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• Pursue a comprehensive strategy to achieve federal, nearshore coastal hook fishing access that includes the Northeast Coastal Communities Sector, affordable monitoring, market opportunities, and advocacy. • Support policy that provides diversification opportunities for eastern Maine fishermen in fisheries such as shrimp and halibut. • Identify policies and actions that affect the fishing environment and participate in science and advocacy that supports long-term resource rebuilding, access and sustainability.

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New Brunswick, Canada Eastport, ME


Nova Scotia, Canada

Stonington, ME

Portland, ME New Hampshire

Area served by MCCF

Gulf of Maine Boston, MA

Above: Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries works in the Eastern Gulf of Maine from Penobscot Bay to Canada. This area is designated as a distinct ecological area by the federal government. Right: Fishermen’s lines were used to establish rotational management in the winter scallop fishery that has seen a 13-fold increase in productivity.

Things are changing faster in the Gulf of Maine‌ and that means what happens here will be happening in the future to other communities where change is occurring at a slower rate. If we deal with it successfully here, what we learn here will dictate how others can successfully navigate this coming change in fisheries and communities. DR . RICHARD MERRICK, CHIEF SCIENCE ADVISOR, NOA A FISHERIES

Robin (Alden) credits the urgent threat of climate change as a motivator for spurring government regulators to adopt more collaborative approaches that include local fisherman and their unique knowledge in making tough, informed decisions. BENCHLEY AWARDS 2017 NAMING ROBIN ALDEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR A HERO OF THE SEAS


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Informed Public and Broad Support for the Mission

Anyone paying even casual attention to news about New England’s fishing industry knows that, with the exception of lobster, 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 and concerned to rebuild the diversity of species that support them. It matters to Congress’ vision of the public interest for use of public fisheries resources. And it mattes to the seafood-consuming 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 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. MAINE CENTER FOR COASTAL FISHERIES 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 the Fisheries Education Center at Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ working waterfront headquarters and provide them with a premiere learning experience about fisheries through the touch tank and interactive wall.

• Host popular events such as an annual Nautical Auction, lectures, and events cosponsored with Maine sustainable seafood companies. • Conduct extensive outreach in multiple venues with partners, individual donors, private foundations and government officials to secure multi-year investments in Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ strategic goals and vision of fishing forever.


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Local fishermen supply our touch tank with creatures – a source of wonder and learning for kids of all ages.

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

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, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries – 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


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Vital Organization

In 2011, a study of 130 co-managed fisheries worldwide published in Nature identified leadership as the most important attribute for successful management of fisheries and securing the livelihoods of fishing communities. This places Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ approach, empowering local leadership and enlisting the local knowledge and participation of fishermen in stewardship in the mainstream of fisheries effectiveness. The organization is growing to meet the challenge. It has a wide-ranging network of engaged fishermen, a dedicated and empowered Board of Directors, a highly professional staff, and has been preparing for the major transition to a new Executive Director in 2017. It has received national and international recognition for grassroots effectiveness with awards from the White House and the Benchley Awards. On top of this, the organization has changed its name as one more step in galvanizing the talent, resources and partnerships essential to accomplishing results of world significance in Downeast Maine. STRATEGIC GOAL: STRENGTHEN MAINE CENTER FOR COASTAL FISHERIES AS A VITAL AND MATURING ORGANIZATION. MAINE CENTER FOR COASTAL FISHERIES WILL:

• Successfully implement the Executive Succession Plan, hiring and orienting a visionary and effective new Executive Director. • Operate within the Board approved management philosophy of delegated authority to build a culture of collaborative, cross-disciplinary staff work. • Achieve readiness for a major fundraising campaign through building up the development capacity through enhanced staffing, a Board Development Committee, and engagement of partners and community supporters. • Fulfill a phased plan to grow to a staff of 16 as called for to implement the strategic plan.

• Develop next stage utilization plans for both the waterfront facility and the intern house. • Continue an extensive in-person and grassroots media outreach with local fishermen, families, and communities. • Raise Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ profile with government officials, foundations, philanthropists, and environmental and fisheries leaders. • Continually assess Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ opportunities and challenges through an annual cycle revising and updating the strategic plan.


Dennis Damon (Chair), Jim Chesney (Vice-Chair), Chuck Lucas (Treasurer), Charlie Osborn (Secretary) Ted Ames, Dwight Carver, Joe Fessenden, Ted Hoskins, Brent Oliver, Jane Osborne Cecily Pingree, Charles Rudelitch, Bob Steneck, Susan Toder, Tom Urmy, Paul Venno, and Jim Wilson

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Above: Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ building is in the heart of Stonington’s working waterfront. Right: Two young fishermen come in from a long day lobstering in Stonington, Maine’s largest lobster port.

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 Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries. 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 long-term. 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 (left to right):, Christina Fifield, Pat Shepard, Carla Guenther with Cameron Zanke, Mike Thalhauser, Pam Aubuchon-Fields, Robin Alden, Sarah Madronal, Chelsea Kondratowicz, Brian Conklin-Powers, Bobbi Billings

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Eastern Maine will be a place where we can sustain fishing, forever. Rebuilding and maintaining Eastern Maine fisheries requires all-hands-on-deck 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. Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries will have a key role piloting and facilitating this globally significant co-management system.

P.O. Box 27, 13 Atlantic Ave. Stonington, ME 04681 Phone: 207 367-2708 F E B R UA R Y 2 017

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