We often say that Green Fin Studio is where science meets art and storytelling. This is particularly true for our work with the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC). We are helping them communicate how the Council could potentially use ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) in the region. While EBFM itself is not a new concept, the New England region is one of the first to work toward putting it into practice. NEFMC wants to inform its stakeholders about how EBFM works so that they can then work with these same stakeholders to develop a new management system. 

EBFM is a complicated framework that considers multiple environmental, management, commercial, and even cultural factors to arrive at fishery management decisions. All of these factors are informed by science, data, and mathematical models. How do you develop a suite of communications products that conveys how all this information comes together into a system of fisheries management in a format that is understandable to a spectrum of stakeholders? The first step is to get to know those stakeholders!

We conducted extensive interviews to understand the NEFMC’s varied stakeholder audiences. We spoke to almost 60 individuals across 11 stakeholder groups, including commercial fishermen, seafood dealers and processors, fisheries scientists, fisheries managers, conservation non-profits and more. Through our interviews, our team identified common themes, questions, and concerns from these stakeholder groups around EBFM, like how EBFM would impact their existing work and how to ensure continued collaboration on management decisions.

Using the information gathered from the interviews, we are now developing a series of public-friendly outreach and communications materials to be used at outreach workshops. These products include infographics, presentations, brochures, and a video. The goal is for everyone to understand how EBFM functions so they can work together to develop a management system that works for everyone. 

Below is an excerpt of an infographic we developed that helps communicate what EBFM is, what factors are considered, how it fits into management decisions, and what the benefits are. Also check out the NEFMC’s most recent press release for more details and future steps the Council is taking for the upcoming public outreach workshops.