National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis
B. Management of Shellfish Populations and Territories
Shellfish are a natural resource held in common. The shellfish management
problem is a subset of many marine resource management issues. Current
practices allow harvesting to the full extent that shellfish beds produce.
Local shellfish committees have expressed interest in preserving this
resource through inventory, local seedbed management and local decisions on
seedbed closure. Closures are now regulated by the state based primarily on
water quality. There is an adversarial relationship between the fishing
community and the state over criteria for closure. There is also some local
contention among shellfish harvesters as to fishing rights in certain beds. A
pilot project is underway in which local identification and management of
test beds has been conducted using GPS and GIS technologies.
Characterization of public goals and dialogue:
The local fishing community should be involved closely in water quality
monitoring and in measuring the status of their resources. Their information
should be on the same level as the Department of Marine Resources and marine
biologists. Understanding the entire ecosystem toward sustaining an important
common resource is the goal. Local disagreements over fishing rights and
practices and contention with state regulators are elements in the ongoing
dialogue. There is beginning recognition of the importance of a research-
based cooperative approach toward successful outcomes.
How can effective access to current, locally produced information and
decision processes be provided for this low-income community which possesses
minimal technical expertise?