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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Enhancement funding equips Rhode Island Sea Grant Fisheries Extension to confront emerging issues

Media Contact: Monica Allard Cox, 401-874-6937

NARRAGANSETT -- February 15, 2005 -- When the next urgent fisheries issue emerges in the Northeast, Rhode Island Sea Grant will have the resources to take it on. Infusion of new funds from the National Sea Grant Fisheries Extension Enhancement Initiative allows Rhode Island Sea Grant’s Sustainable Fisheries Extension Program to continue its partnership building, information exchange, and targeted extension services.

The national initiative is a $3 million Congressional mandate intended to broaden fisheries extension programming to local, regional, and national constituents and to promote communication and collaboration among fishermen, fisheries managers, environmentalists, and researchers for the resolution of fisheries issues.

Rhode Island’s project is one of 18 competitive efforts nationwide supported by $1.5 million in funding from the National Sea Grant College Program. The five-year grant provides for the development of projects and cultivation of agency networks to tackle problems affecting the fishing industry. Rhode Island Sea Grant will augment the national award by reprogramming funds from its core resources.

An additional annual national grant will support coordination of broad-based endeavors of regional importance and impact. A regional emphasis “focuses the talents and resources of the Northeast Sea Grant programs to extend their capacity for developing solutions while minimizing duplication,” said to Kathleen Castro, director of the Rhode Island Sea Grant Sustainable Fisheries Extension Program who also serves as regional fisheries coordinator for Northeast Sea Grant Fisheries Extension programming.

Regionally, the Sea Grant Extension Enhancement Initiative will support meetings, workshops, production of related publications, and development of a new Northeast Fisheries Extension website. Castro will organize and lead the regional workshops to concentrate multi-state, multi-agency attention on issues of immediate and crucial concern to New England fishing communities. Citing the focus on harvesting cooperatives for last year’s regional workshop, Castro says this year’s event also will take its topic from an imperative emerging issue.

For additional information about the new Northeast fisheries enhancement initiative, contact Kathleen Castro at the URI Fisheries Center, (401) 874-5063, kcastro@uri.edu.