STONINGTON — Penobscot East Resource Center’s work with fishermen, regulators and the scientific community reviving the Maine sea scallop fishery has been featured as one of eight return on investment case studies in the Maine Association of Nonprofits’ (MANP) recently released biennial report that illustrates the essential contributions of Maine’s nonprofits to the state’s economy and quality of life.
The report, Adding Up Impact: Maine Nonprofits at Work, states: “Fishing is Maine’s economic lifeblood. Maintaining a thriving, ecologically sustainable industry requires planning as well as input from those who know it best: fishermen. Penobscot East Resource Center in Stonington is demonstrating that cooperation among government regulators and marine scientists using data contributed by local fishermen produces both better yields and longer-term sustainability.”
The full report, http://www.nonprofitmaine.org/blog/adding-impact-fishing-future/ documents how Penobscot East’s efforts have contributed to a “co-management” model, when local information provided by fishermen has contribute to improved fisheries management. Last year’s scallop landings were worth more than $5 million to the state, up from a low of $200,000 in 2004. Scalloping provides important winter income for Maine fishermen and diversity to their fishing portfolio.
“The scallop co-management program is a pilot for what could be done in many fisheries,” said Robin Alden, Penobscot East’s executive director. She noted that what is important is that this type of collaborative approach can result in management that is better tied to local resource conditions and yield better outcomes. The approach is widely recognized for management of community-scale fisheries around the globe.
With scallops, she said, “All parties are contributing to an evolving process of improving science, setting rules and making responsible adaptations, even mid-season, to improve them.”
The report lists specific accomplishments including an international scallop science summit that included fishermen and managers from the U.S. and Canada. The summit, in May 2014, has resulted in localized collaborative research projects that are ongoing now, examining questions about scallop populations generated by both fishermen and the Maine Department of Marine Resources.
Penobscot East Resource Center is a Stonington-based non-profit organization working for a sustainable future for fisheries and fishing communities in Maine. Maine Association of Non- Profits is the largest membership organization in the state serving Maine’s nonprofit sector.
The release of the impact report coincides with MANP’s Nonprofit Week, which includes a number of activities highlighting the impact of the nonprofit sector.
For more information on the Adding Up Impact Report, please visit www.NonprofitMaine.org/AddingUpImpact.