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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Rhode Island Sea Grant to focus on coastal ecosystems and fisheries, spend more on students and legal issues

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

NARRAGANSETT -- April 25, 2005 -- Should Rhode Island city coastlines be protected or developed or both? Is there a cure for lobster disease? How can fishermen maintain their livelihoods? Addressing questions like these are the heart of the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program as it establishes its five-year funding priorities in two areas of emphasis—sustainable coastal communities and ecosystems and sustainable fisheries.

Based on goals outlined in the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program Strategic and Organizational Development Plan for 2006–2010, Sea Grant tackles coastal and marine issues from all angles—research, outreach, education, and now law and policy, thanks to the Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program, created in 2004.

“The plan identifies major areas of concern in coastal ecosystems and fisheries where we will be directing our resources—addressing critical fisheries issues such as lobster declines, bycatch, and regulations; creating a Special Area Management Plan for upper Narragansett Bay; and understanding how human inputs affect the ecosystems of the Bay,” says Barry A. Costa-Pierce, Rhode Island Sea Grant director.

The plan, created over 14 months with input from over 100 Sea Grant constituents and partners, also calls for increased support for undergraduate and graduate students, includes new diversity initiatives, expands Sea Grant into Rhode Island’s urban areas, and proposes extending the program’s reach by developing Sea Grant International through a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Coastal Resources Center at the University of Rhode Island.

The strategic plan is available on-line at http://seagrant.gso.uri.edu/ or by calling Rhode Island Sea Grant Communications at (401) 874-6842.

Sea Grant is a nationwide program that promotes the conservation and sustainable development of marine resources for the public benefit.