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Sea Grant Community Service Award
cites Rep. Naughton as aquaculture visionary
Narragansett R.I. -- January 22, 2003 -- When good things happen in Rhode Islands aquaculture industry, Eileen Naughtons name usually comes up. Naughton, state representative from Warwick and chair of the Rhode Island Legislative Commission on Aquaculture, has devoted much of her legislative career to promoting aquaculture and related marine businesses as a viable force in Rhode Islands economy.
She has also put money where her mouth is, directing funds to projects ranging from an educators network that brings practical aquaculture into classrooms to a million-dollar-plus university/industry/government partnership that nurtures the industry through technological support and applied-science grants.
In recognition of Naughtons commitment to economic development through marine enterprises, the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program at the University of Rhode Islands Graduate School of Oceanography has presented her with its Community Service Award. The award acknowledges Naughtons leadership, not just locally but also regionally and nationally, in the "promotion, support, and industry development of environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture," says Barry Costa-Pierce, director of Rhode Island Sea Grant (in photo with Naughton above). Costa-Pierce, a professor of fisheries and aquaculture at URI and author of a just-published aquaculture text, surprised Naughton with the award during the recent Northeast Aquaculture Conference and Expo in Providencean event Naughton helped launch in 1996.
"She has been a tireless champion of the merits of marine businesses like aquaculture that could be meaningful for the future of fishing, processing, and all the value-added aspects of aquaculture," Costa-Pierce said as he presented the award.
"This is about commerce and about improving our environment," Naughton says of aquaculture and the supporting businesses it generates. Pointing to Rhode Islands maritime heritage, its ready workforce, and the intellectual and scientific capacity of its universities, she contends that the state has the resources to be a major player in global aquaculture efforts.
To cultivate that potential, Naughton enlisted the support of U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, who procured for Rhode Island a $1.5 million National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grant to enhance and diversify the states aquaculture industry. Linking academic, regulatory, and industry resources, the Rhode Island Aquaculture Initiative funds applied research, integrated outreach, and industry projects intended to advance the development, promotion, and management of sustainable aquaculture in the Ocean State.
Her unflagging belief in the potential of the industry and her generous expectations for the states place in worldwide aquaculture have earned Naughton a reputation as a visionary. Costa-Pierce notes that she has looked beyond the complications of Rhode Islands densely populated coast and its early history of user conflicts to "promote the type of aquaculture that can be acceptable by the public and can maintain the viability of our working coast and our maritime heritage far into the future."
Rhode Island Sea Grant, based at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, is a federal-state partnership that promotes the conservation and sustainable development of marine resources for the public benefit through research, outreach, and education.