BRUNSWICK — Gulf of Maine seafood has fed people for thousands of years and still plays a critical role in providing for New Englanders, but marine ecosystems in this corner of the Atlantic have been radically altered over the years, say experts. Now, as fisheries decline and some fishermen are forced to abandon their livelihoods, The Nature Conservancy, Island Institute and Penobscot East Resource Center are collaborating with fishermen on a novel plan to keep boats in the water and begin to restore the gulf’s bounty.
The three groups announced that they have purchased two groundfishing permits, and will make those permits available to fishermen involved in collaborative research projects. The organizations are covering the costs of the research, including the permits, fuel, fishermen’s time, and time for research supervision scientists.
“I think that making sure we do something to improve the condition of the Gulf of Maine is one of the most important conservation issues of the day,” said Michael Tetreault, executive director of The Nature Conservancy.