The Nature Conservancy Maine believes that the Gulf of Maine’s ecological resilience can be compatible with the economic vitality of the fishing communities that depend on it. To make it happen, they established the Gulf of Maine Project Permit Banking Program, which helps local fishing businesses transition to sustainable fishing practices while remaining profitable and resilient to economic downturns. With leasing just underway, TNC Maine saw an opportunity to gather and share information on the permit bank’s impact. They also thought they could take a first step in creating long-term conservation indicators to track the collective impact of the array of efforts focused on large-scale changes in the Gulf.
Amplifier worked closely with TNC Maine to articulate the large-scale systemic changes it sought to generate and the tangible intermediate results it would produce in fishing and fisheries management practices, policies and institutions. After researching existing metrics, we developed key indicators. Knowing indicators are worthless without a timely and cost-efficient way of getting data, we created data collection and governance processes to support indicator measurement. Our design team stepped in to create a simple, visual way to represent how the needle was moving. As the project neared completion, we designed a short deck for the permit bank to present our work to its board and other stakeholders.
With buy-in from its board and recommended action steps from Amplifier, the permit bank began integrating the evaluation framework into its daily life: establishing a process for incorporating data into decision-making, prioritizing indicators and creating low-burden ways to collect fishermen data. In the bigger picture, TNC Maine has a product it can contribute to regional planning in New England fisheries to inform the evolution of permit banks nationwide and to promote investment in sustainable fishing innovations.
"The Conservancy and our fishing community partners developed an innovative strategy to improve ecological conditions and economic performance in the New England groundfish fishery, but we needed help figuring out how to measure its’ success. Amplifier’s team was instrumental in helping us develop a robust set of metrics that have allowed us to evaluate our progress and share the results with fishery stakeholders."
Marine Program Director, TNC Maine