The Young Environmental Leaders this summer took part in a bay planning activity on the afternoon of Day 2. (Yes, we started the week on a Sunday!) In the activity, students took on the roles of these different stakeholder groups: landowners, mussel draggers, scientists, fishermen and aquaculturists. First they met with their own stakeholder group to talk about the concerns they have about the bay and what they would want to see in a bay plan. Then they split into groups with one of each stakeholder type and each group tried to come to agreement on a bay plan. I am not going to write up all the notes from each conversation and from the bay plans, because other students will be doing the activity in the future. But I do want to point out some good ideas that came out of the discussions.
I sat in with the mussel-draggers group for the first round of converstaions. The students knew that their industry caused damage to the ocean floor, and were brainstorming innovative ways the industry could change. They suggested land-based mussel farming, with seawater flow-through systems. Aware that red tide could be a problem, they suggested holding seawater in a tank until it has been deemed safe and then letting it flow through the mussel tanks. We talked about how even mussel aquaculturists have to drag to get their mussel seeds. Someone suggested collecting the mussel larvae. Well, I found this Canadian company that has developed a way to grow its own mussel seeds from larvae. Island Sea Farms is the only dedicated commercial mussel hatchery in the world. Visit their website here!
The scientists group discussed tactics they’d like to see in a plan. One which I’d like to point out is their number 5: Set up a way for citizens to contribute to a database of ecological data. (CEHL is working on developing something like this now!)
The discussions among the different stakeholder groups were very interesting to hear. The students were really focused, trying to come to agreements. The bay plans they came up with were each a little bit different, but most of them had education as a strategy. and a couple of them had the strategy of more enforcement of conservation regulation.
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