World Aquaculture Society Meetings

Add To Calendar 25/02/2016 11:45:0025/02/2016 12:05:00America/ChicagoAquaculture 2016THE RHODE ISLAND SHELLFISH MANAGEMENT PLAN: A MODEL FOR STAKEHOLDER PARTICIPATION AND INDUSTRY-AGENCY COLLABORATION LoireThe World Aquaculture Societyjohnc@was.orgfalseanrl65yqlzh3g1q0dme13067DD/MM/YYYY


Azure D. Cygler*, Jennifer McCann, Dale Leavitt, Dave Beutel, Jeff
Mercer, and Monique LaFrance Bartley
Coastal Resources Center/ Rhode Island Sea Grant
Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island
220 South Ferry Road
Narragansett, RI 02882

Shellfish represent a cultural icon and family tradition in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Shellfish Management Plan (RI SMP) began in 2013 at the request of Rhode Island state agencies to address growing issues in the management, uses, and science around shellfish resources. The initiative, facilitated by the Coastal Resources Center/Rhode Island Sea Grant (CRC/RI SG), was a 2-year effort, the first ever in the state's history which relied on a stakeholder-driven process to engage the broader shellfish community in the state, including the commercial wild harvest industries, the aquaculture industry, recreational harvesters, state and federal agencies, non-profits involved in restoration efforts, local water-front land owners, and academics from multiple institutions. The process brought many of these groups to the table for the first time and produced over 100 management and science recommendations to ensure the long-term sustainability of shellfish resources and the industries which depend on them.

The RI SMP is much more than a 400-page document with recommendations (see - it also represents an innovative approach to understanding the issues and concerns of citizens, scientists, managers, and the environmental community. Relying on the expertise of a core team of individuals, paired with private foundation support and in-kind commitments of extensive time by state agencies charged to manage shellfish, synergies were created and lasting collaborative partnerships were formed. A model for achieving key 'Early Actions' during the process helped demonstrate that the process was indeed responding to stakeholder needs and concerns. An extensive public education component included "Come Clam with Me" classes each summer, a Seminar Series with guest speakers addressing timely topics, and regular communication through a listserv, website, and public meetings. In addition, concurrent research funding opportunities through RI Sea Grant ($1.2M in 2013) focused exclusively on shellfish issues. This commitment has continued through 2018 thanks to the latest Sea Grant research omnibus, adding to the staying power and relevance of the RI SMP. The RI SMP process was considered successful, utilizing the CRC/RI SG process for effecting change. Maintaining a neutral position in facilitating the state-wide effort was key. Ensuring future involvement in building the state's capacity to tackle the multiple recommendations was also critical and has meant CRC/RI SG's continued participation in shellfish issues, research, and management and industry concerns. This involvement includes leading an Implementation Team for the RI SMP recommendations, continuing to guide research efforts, and assisting state agencies in facilitating public processes around shellfishm, especially recent controversy/perceptions between public uses and the growing aquaculture industry. This issue in particular will be a primary focus over the coming years.

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