On March 12th, RCP completed an assessment of the University of Maine’s Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET) - a statewide effort to develop a transdisciplinary understanding of how social-environmental systems (SES) interact with sustainable ecological aquaculture (SEA) in Maine’s coastal communities and ecosystems. The project is supported by a 5-year, $20M award from the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, and includes investigators and stakeholders from institutions of higher learning, non-profit organizations, and industry members located throughout Maine. SEANET research is focused on Maine’s coastal SES carrying capacity, changing environment, and SEA innovation for social and ecological gain: 56 research projects are underway in three ecologically and socio-economically diverse bio-regions along the coast of Maine. RCP was asked to evaluate SEANET’s progress against benchmarks and provide guidance to SEANET’s leadership on maximizing the potential for successful implementation and outcomes.
The RCP convened a panel of three scientific experts at the University of Maine and spent two days interviewing various participants and stakeholders to learn about SEANET research, communication, and outreach and educational activities and accomplishments. After the visit, the panel reported to SEANET on key findings and made recommendations aimed at developing opportunities for SEANET to realize its full potential to advance scientific understanding, ensure that decision-makers have access to ongoing learning, and highlight SEANET outcomes.