The success of this program hinges on sensitivity to the cultural differences that impede communication. The program moderators work with content presenters to translate course material into approachable English and to develop novel ways to illustrate complex concepts.
The curriculum receives regular evaluation and upgrades to maintain relevance for fishermen. MREP emphasizes the importance of fishermen’s information and knowledge as a primary source of data. This builds confidence for individuals to contribute to effective fishery management.
The Fishery Science Workshop
This three-day workshop is designed to provide participants with core foundation in the fundamentals of fisheries science.
Participants are provided a basic working knowledge of concepts in population biology and the stock assessment process, including survey sampling techniques, statistical tools, models and their uses, as well as biological reference points used in management. Information presented in this section helps relate fishing effort to stock assessments and shows how fishermen’s knowledge, fishery-dependent data, and collaborative science partnerships help to strengthen stock assessment models and results. Developments in conservation engineering are examined, as well as principles of ecosystem-based management and environmental influences on stock assessments. The program includes tours of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute facilities, and participants are given small group activities designed to allow direct application of the concepts learned.
The Fishery Management Workshop
This three-day workshop provides an overview of entities that manage commercial and recreational fisheries with emphasis on the structure of the Fishery Management Council and the requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and National Standards.
The curriculum covers the components of a management plan, describes the progression of plan development, and identifies critical opportunities for participation and input. Alternative ways for fishermen to initiate management solutions, including training in consensus building and negotiation skills, are explored in this session. An important new component developed in 2012 simulates the Council process through a case study examination that provides participants an opportunity to immediately apply new knowledge to a management application. The final day ties in curriculum elements from the Science Module, examining the role of science, scientific process, and the influence of scientific uncertainty in management systems.