Mexico research in Working Waterfront

Working Waterfront featured Heather Leslie, director of the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole, in an article about the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries “State of the Science” conference, held June 17-18 at the University of Maine at Machias. The conference focused on the science needed to move towards more ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management.

Leslie, one of four keynote speakers at the conference, outlined an example of “the emerging science of social-ecological marine systems” in her talk. That approach “recognizes connections between human activity and fisheries; is place-based; draws on the various values people have for ocean ecosystems; and attends to changing conditions,” and if done well, results in resilient human and ecological systems, according to Leslie.

Leslie and students have spent four years studying the coupled social and environmental systems associated with fisheries in the Gulf of California, gathering social data to match the ecological data and giving equal weight to both the people who live and work in the area and the marine species, according to the article in Working Waterfront.

“We need to understand how people respond to changes. We can’t have those conversations about how to tailor the management,” she said, “until first understanding the biological and social science data.”