Northeast Ocean Plan proposed as guide for coastline and ocean management

A regional planning group issued a sweeping ecosystem-based ocean draft plan Wednesday to guide federal agencies in New England.
The plan also points out surprising gaps in data, such as how and where lobstermen fish along the sprawling New England coast, even though the fishery is central to the economic health of coastline communities and New England states, especially in Maine, and subject to the impact of development and climate change. Nick Battista, the marine programs director at Island Institute in Rockland, said lobstermen should be involved in decisions that could impact their coast.

Why the Island Institute decided to offer a 12-week paid parental leave

Nonprofit organizations like the Island Institute are not exempt from the pressures of the bottom line. In fact, we are just as mindful of budgets as for-profit businesses because we are funded by finite sources — grants and donations — and can’t count on an uptick in sales to provide a cushion.
But despite fiscal constraints — or maybe in part because of them — the Island Institute recently adopted a new policy for our employees. Beginning this month, we will give our staff 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

Finding that niche: Artists and Makers Conference 2016

…“I called probably a couple dozen island artists and said, what do you need from the Institute, what are we missing here? And they said, ‘Oh gosh, I really need to know about pricing,’ or ‘I could use some support on how to make a show booth.’ So, we said, OK, we’ll do it,” Vietze said.
The rise of the Internet and attendant websites and social media has given island artists and makers, as well as those in remote mainland communities, a way to get their work out to the world.

Archipelago’s Artist and Maker Conference caters to those in the creative economy

By Kay Stephens / Penobscot Bay Pilot
BELFAST — In recent years, the Midcoast has seen a number of events and conferences dedicated to uplifting those in the arts and creative economy and on April 1, Archipelago, retail side of the Island Institute, is bringing together artists and makers from around the state for a one-day event to offer networking, and practical tips and strategies to help people grow their small business. 

From tourism to Lobster Étouffée: Fishermen learn about broadening income

By Sarah E. Reynolds / Village Soup
ROCKPORT — The state recently announced a record catch for 2015, with landings of fish and other seafood products amounting to $631 million, with more than $500 million worth of lobster landed; however, groundfish and Maine shrimp fisheries are down, and the state’s fishing industry is feeling the effects of warming waters and ocean acidification, said Nick Battista of the Island Institute March 5. 

Aquaculture workshop for teachers a success

On Feb. 21, teachers from Casco Bay to Down East convened at Herring Gut Learning Center’s campus in Port Clyde for a day of immersion in the field of aquaculture with the goal of developing strategies for incorporating it into their curricula. The workshop was the result of the increased recognition aquaculture is receiving in the state of Maine as a viable option for coastal communities to maintain a robust economy with diversification into fields other than commercial fishing.

Just 1 word for Maine’s Future: Seaweed

Kelp, green and nutritious, could be Maine’s ticket into a multibillion-dollar global aquaculture industry.
The state’s nascent seaweed business is thriving, experts say, and that puts Maine in a front-row seat as the U.S. market for homegrown sea veggies grows. It could also help provide an alternative source of income for lobster fishermen subject to the constant challenges of fluctuating prices, changing ocean temperatures and unpredictable catches…

Faces of Ocean Planning: Rebecca Clark Uchenna of the Island Institute

Rebecca’s focus is on the regional ocean planning process currently underway in the Northeast. She and the Island Institute have worked tirelessly to lend voice to Maine’s many island communities – which are sizable drivers of the state’s economy – to ensure their needs are heard and incorporated into the region’s first Northeast Regional Ocean Plan.