No matter who you are or where you’re from, clean water is essential to your daily life. Always has been, always will be. And yet it’s easy to take for granted. Most of us don’t think much about where our water is coming from or worry about its cleanliness on a daily basis. I must admit I’m biased coming from the Sea Grant world, but I was a bit surprised at how little the topic came up in the Futuring discussions at Annual Conference. Obviously things like economics and education will continue to be drivers of society. But to be able to focus on those major pillars, we need to continue to improve the management of our water resources.
That is precisely the mission of Sea Grant; to provide programs that lead to the responsible use of our water resources through informed decisions. That covers a lot of ground, so we break it down into four main focus areas:
- Healthy Coastal Ecosystems
- Resilient Communities and Economies
- Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture
- Environmental Literacy and Workforce Development
If you have questions on anything Lake Erie related, Ohio Sea Grant has you covered. We’ve recently been in the news for our work on things like harmful algae blooms (HABs) and phosphorus, but we’ve also been hard at work battling aquatic invasive species, creating resilient communities and engaging the next generation of environmental leaders.
Personally, I’m currently focused on the Sustainable Fisheries aspect. There are over 650 charter boat captains licensed to fish on Ohio’s Lake Erie, and for many of them fishing is a way of life. Ohio’s charter boat fleet is the largest in the Great Lakes and one of the largest in the world. That fleet is a major economic driver for Ohio’s coastal economies, and a healthy Lake Erie is essential to their success.
We partner with Lake Erie charter captains on a variety of programs throughout the year from youth fishing programs to monitoring HABs. The longest running example is the Annual Ohio Charter Captains Conference. The program covers laws and requirements, fisheries management, best business practices, new technology and equipment, and the health of Lake Erie. We typically see 25% of the licensed captains in attendance, and 74% of responding captains in 2014 stated that information from the conference will help to keep their business going or advance professionally.
The 34th Annual Ohio Charter Captains Conference is scheduled for March 7, 2015 at BGSU Firelands Campus in Huron, Ohio. Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more about the conference or to ask any questions regarding Lake Erie. For information on Ohio Sea Grant visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.
Have a happy holiday season, and enjoy the water!
(Submitted by Tory Gabriel, Fisheries Outreach Coordinator, Ohio Sea Grant Program)