Marine-related resources support a variety of enterprises along the Mississippi-Alabama coast ranging from the seafood industry to eco-tourism and contribute significantly to an intangible, but highly valued, quality of life. The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Extension Program proposes to conduct outreach programs that assist the coastal community and the region in understanding problems that confront the wise use of marine related resources and the options for achieving solutions. In addition, some elements of the coastal community have specific needs for technical assistance in food safety, mandated fishing gear, best management practices, water quality monitoring, etc.
Unbiased, science-based extension programs will be presented in five subprogram areas: Seafood Technology, Marine Fisheries, Mariculture, Environment, and Economics. These subprograms reflect the expertise of current staff. Subprograms address the following areas of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium Strategic Plan: Coastal Ecosystems and Habitats, Sustainable Fisheries, Industrial Ecology, and Education and Outreach. Information relevant to coastal issues is disseminated through newsletters, newspaper columns, presentations to groups and organizations, workshops, meetings, participation in committees and organizations, mailings, personal contacts, computer networks, and distance learning technology.
Cooperative arrangements with the Mississippi Sea Grant Legal Program, other Sea Grant Programs, the relevant local state and federal agencies, and non-government organizations facilitate extension programs. The extension effort is further enhanced by the resources of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service and their county offices throughout each state.
As a result, diverse elements of the coastal area such as commercial and recreational fishing, seafood processors, conservation interests, non-consumptive businesses, and policy makers will have the information to make informed decisions on issues affecting their economic well-being as well as their marine environment. Similarly, clients will have specific information on technology that is mandated by environment and health concerns or is needed to improve conditions in the coastal area.
- To assist the community of coastal citizens in making wise choices in the use of coastal resources.
- To identify and communicate opportunities for future research to appropriate investigators.
The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Extension Program gathers and assimilates research based information from local Sea Grant researchers, the National Sea Grant Network, and a host of other sources. Information is disseminated to constituents through personal contacts, group meetings, workshops, newsletters, committee memberships, newspaper columns, magazine articles, computer networks, and other means. Feedback is sought from constituents through similar methods for future research needs.
The coastal community derives many of its economic values and quality of life values from marine related resources. Issues surrounding the sustained use of these resources are best addressed by extension programs that deliver unbiased, science-based information to citizens, policy makers and elected officials.