Extension Projects

Sea Grant has launched a regional lobster extension program designed to work with communities to link lobster research with the industry, resource managers, and other stakeholders across the region, who can both use the results and inform additional studies and decisions. As part of the American Lobster Initiative, extension programs in the six Northeast states are working together to advance the Regional Lobster Extension Program and have organized their projects into four themes:

Literature Review, Industry Interviews, and Social Science

Sea Grant extension programs in Connecticut, Massachusetts (Woods Hole and MIT), New York, and Rhode Island will be working to:

  • Consolidate information about various stressors that have impacted the Northeastern lobster fishery, which include climate, disease, ocean chemistry, and social response in lobster fishing communities as a result of declined harvests
  • Complete a survey of published and ongoing social science research related to American lobster
  • Assess and compile information on relevant stakeholders and historical research programs focused on the American lobster
  • Document current state of knowledge, research, and industry projects underway as well as gaps/ideas for future work and linkages with the American Lobster Initiative through an iterative process of annual industry and science “check-in” meetings
  • Use established social science research techniques to assess the landscape and support extension activities across research, management, and industry

Citizen Science and On-the-Water Engagement

New Hampshire and Rhode Island extension programs will be working to:

Stakeholder Meetings and Science Communication

All participating Sea Grant extension programs, with Maine coordinating efforts and New Hampshire providing communications leadership, will be working to:

  • Summarize and share final outcomes of the collective National Sea Grant American Lobster Initiative investments
  • Hold workshops to inform and engage local lobster industry and stakeholders and to connect end-users with the results of the 4-year Sea Grant American Lobster Research Program
  • Expand industry and public awareness of the effects of biological, social, and environmental change on the lobster population and fishery through the development of targeted stakeholder workshops
  • Debut a regional Oral Traditions Project (a series of short video interviews) to begin to document the history, fishing traditions, and changes in perspectives within the Northeast lobster fishery – from industry members to resource managers, and natural and social scientists
  • Produce video interviews and contribute to the NOAA Voices From the Fisheries project. This includes training student journalists to work on this project and to engage with diverse stakeholders throughout New England, including lobstermen, processors, resource managers, and researchers

Project Leadership and Coordination

Maine Sea Grant’s extension program will be working to:

  • Coordinate regular communications between Northeast extension staff and stakeholders via a Regional Coordinator
  • Provide coordination and support for regional outreach activities, informational product development, workshops, and events driven by industry needs
  • Assemble and coordinate the activities of a Regional Steering Committee
  • Coordinate efforts to summarize and share final outcomes of the collective National Sea Grant American Lobster Initiative investments

The American Lobster Initiative will also hold an annual Regional Lobster Research and Outreach Summit. This event will provide a platform where stakeholders can be engaged with and provide input for the research projects, and will connect end-users with the various research findings. It will also provide opportunities for the lobster industry to share information about the challenges and opportunities they are facing and provide input and feedback on new research priorities and proposal ideas. Outcomes of many of the extension projects listed above will be discussed during sessions at this summit.