CRMC Cites Ocean SAMP in Deepwater Decision

Rhode Island’s Ocean Special Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP), a marine spatial planning tool developed by CRC and partners, proved essential to the state Coastal Resources Management Council (CRCMC) deciding this week to issue no objections to the turbine wind farm proposed for the waters off Block Island. An article in The Providence Journal Thursday discusses the CRMC’s stance and the role of the Ocean SAMP in CRMC’s decision-making process. A public hearing on the offshore wind project will be held Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 4 p.m. in Corliss Auditorium, Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett Bay Campus.

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CRC-Generated Report Cited in International Story on IUU Seizure

When the Senegalese Navy arrested a Russian vessel for illegal fishing in its waters in recent weeks, it did more than make international news: It showcased a CRC-generated report on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

A BBC report last week on the ship capture quoted the West African nation’s Fisheries Minister, who cited the IUU report researched and published by the USAID/COMFISH project implemented by CRC. That report, published in May 2013 and prepared through a partnership with the University of British Columbia The Sea Around Us project, was presented to the Senegalese government as an objective study of IUU fishing. In Senegal IUU fishing accounts for an estimated 350,000 metric tons of fish per year, equal to the nation’s total annual legal catch. These fishing methods contribute to over-exploitation of Senegal’s fishing stocks and rob the nation of US $292 million annually.

Based on a year of data collection, the report has helped inform the government of Senegal of the facts surrounding IUU fishing and to inform the fisheries management planning process. The document was presented at a national marine fisheries workshop in Senegal in June 2013 and was officially transferred to a Technical Committee of the government of Senegal, along with another USAID/COMFISH report on fish catch outside of Senegal’s exclusive economic zone. Senegal’s Marine Fisheries Department cited the IUU report in its announcement in December of an action plan and national strategy on IUU.

“The fact that the report is being used as a source and to justify the position of the government’s actions speaks well of the document,” said James Tobey, USAID/COMFISH project manager at CRC. “IUU is now seen by the government of Senegal as a reality, and the Minister of Fisheries has taken a firm decision to confront it.”

Sea Level Rise, Beach SAMP Make News

CRC’s comprehensive work on sea level rise in Rhode Island through the Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (Beach SAMP) garnered attention around the state last week when CRMC’s Grover Fugate spoke on the issue and the SAMP Jan. 8 at the State House. He shared dire predictions of sea level rise based on the latest modeling, their implications and the Beach SAMP’s efforts to respond to such threats. The Providence Journal and EcoRI News covered the conference. Also, CRC Coastal Manager Pam Rubinoff spoke to the Tiverton Planning Commission on the topic at a meeting Jan. 9 covered by the Herald News in Fall River. CRC and RI Sea Grant, along with other advisers at GSO, are facilitating the research and development of the Beach SAMP, which is seen as a model for the nation’s coastal communities.