Calling in from the very northern tip of Newfoundland, Rob spoke this week with Rebecca Brushett about ecosystem-based management where the cod is returning and living is easy. Rebecca is a former teacher, currently a master’s degree candidate in environmental policy. Her research has focused on the development of a “toolbox” that can assist with ocean planning decisions, accessible to anyone in the community. This mapping tool will allow individuals to look at the trade offs between human use of oceans, protection of ecosystems, and services that our oceans provide, such as fishing.
Rebecca and her team are working in many places including marine significant areas, cultural sites, places with aquatic invasive species, tourism, sewage outflow, as well as both renewable and non-renewable resource development. Layered interactive maps will show what people value as most important in their community. One of the largest motivations for creating this planning tool is to designate where is the best fit for a National Marine Conservation area. This would be set up in three zones: high preservation, some research allowed, and fishing allowed. Where to draw these boundary lines is a difficult decision. This approach will help people find open dialogue, common ground, and areas for consensus in ecosystem-based management.
When collecting and analyzing this data, Rebecca emphasizes, it is important to remain engaged with the community members, not just other scientists, and remain present even after the research is done. Several different workshops were held in western Newfoundland. Rebecca’s experience as a high school teacher has allowed her to recognize the importance of different individual lifestyles and values, and prepared her to effectively reach out to fishers.
. . . and the capelin kept on rolling in, sometimes followed to shore by good-sized cod, blessing some lucky fishers with a double catch.
The Telegram (St. John’s) July 25, 2016
Rob was Screeched-In at the oldest bar on George Street, Christian’s Bar (est. 1979), by the Royal Order of Newfoundland Screechers. More photos posted on Facebook, Ocean River Institute.