Gloucester is the birthplace of commercial fishing in the United States, which is deeply woven into the region’s culture and blue economy. The New England commercial fishing industry on which the region prides itself, is facing a rapidly warming and changing Gulf of Maine ecosystem which affects fish population dynamics. Low catch limits for specific fisheries remain a significant issue.

At GMS we are working with partners and creating community-engaged research partnerships and experiential learning opportunities to improve our understanding of the cascading effects of these impacts on fishers (fish, lobster, shellfish) and the complex set of challenges up and down the seafood supply chain.

Projects & Partners

Five current projects are adding new information help drive solutions toward a revitalized fisheries supply chain:

  1. Mapping UMass seafood system expertise: We are mapping UMass seafood system expertise across our five campuses to assess our capacity and identify the partnerships needed to tackle priority research questions, through a MA Seaport Economic Council grant. This effort builds upon previous work with the UMass Boston Urban Harbors Institute, to engage researchers and local stakeholders within the Commonwealth’s seafood system.
  2. Lobster bait alternatives: Working with a Gloucester-based company, Neptune's Harvest, and the MA Lobstermen's Association, lobster bait alternatives are being explored with a NOAA Sea Grant National Lobster Program grant to reduce waste and increase revenues for the lobster fishery.
  3. Striped bass, river herring, and winter flounder: A partnership with the MA Division of Marine Fisheries continues to thrive and includes projects around the economically and culturally important striped bass, river herring, and winter flounder fish populations.
  4. Marine debris and microplastics in seafood food webs: A recent Worldwide Universities Network award includes 7 partner universities across 4 continents. GMS is working with the Stockbridge School of Agriculture to investigate marine debris and microplastics in seafood webs.
  5. Targeting blue economy opportunities and partnerships: We are targeting blue economy opportunities and partnerships to explore a North Shore Center for Sustainable Seafood that would enhance ocean discovery, develop sustainable business strategies with the seafood supply chain, and foster workforce development and training.