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Jon Hare speaks to tribal audience around U-shaped table Jon Hare (far right), NEFSC Science and Research Director, speaks about the changing Northeast Shelf climate and the impact on fisheries. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC
Beth Turner with image about NOAA's ocean acidification programBeth Turner of NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science addresses ocean acidification and its impact on shellfish. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC
Bill Mook with aerial iamge of his farm operations Bill Mook, owner of Mook Sea Farm in Walpole, Maine, speaks about environmental changes facing his oyster farm and hatchery business. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC

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April 5, 2017
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

NOAA and Mashpee Wampanoag Hold Tribal Roundtable

Adapting to the changing climate was the theme for a day-long meeting March 22 attended by NOAA scientists and staff from various line offices and by members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

The roundtable, organized by NOAA’s North Atlantic Regional Team, was held at the Tribal Community and Government Center in Mashpee, MA and attracted nearly 40 people, including 17 members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. 

“This assembly sought to elevate awareness of tribal issues that intersect the NOAA mission,” said Lieutenant Commander James Brinkley, the NOAA North Atlantic Regional Team coordinator.  “The Tribe are hereditary stewards of the neighboring lands and protecting their resources is essential in maintaining their cultural identity. We have an obligation to share our knowledge thru engagement in the hopes of building a lasting relationship.”

Jessie “Little Doe” Baird, vice chairwoman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and natural resources liaison, gave an invocation and welcome to the group, George “Chuckie” Green , Jr. assistant director of natural resources then provided an overview of the Tribe’s history and culture. The NOAA Fisheries tribal program and the NOAA consultation process were presented by Linda Belton, NOAA Tribal Liaison in the NOAA Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs.

“The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has had a 12,000-year relationship with the land and waters here. Our desire to form a close collaborative relationship with NOAA is critical to exercising our responsibilities to both land and water as well as the protection of the Wampanoag practice of aboriginal rights,” said Baird. “As fellow recipients of these privileges, both the Native and non-Native communities can and must work together to ensure the future of our children yet unborn. I look forward to future collaboration.”

During the day the Tribe expressed interest on issues related to fish and shellfish, habitat and water quality. Members spoke to their desire to bring traditional ecological knowledge to NOAA partnerships, and to participate in the resource management process in some way.

“It was an opportunity to meet with tribal leaders, including those involved in natural resources, learn more about their history and culture, and share with them some of our research findings,” said Jon Hare, NEFSC Science and Research Director. Hare spoke briefly about climate impacts on fisheries and the changing conditions in the Northeast.

John Hoey from the NEFSC’s Cooperative Research Program spoke about opportunities in cooperative research. George Liles, curator of the Woods Hole Science Aquarium and acting NEFSC Academic Programs Director, also attended the session; tribal programs have visited the aquarium and interacted in various ways with the Center, and more interactions are planned.

Staff from NOAA’s National Weather Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, and NOAA Intergovernmental Affairs also gave presentations, as did representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Office of Coastal Zone Management, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and private industry. In addition to climate and fisheries, topics included aquaculture and ocean acidification, harmful algal blooms and ecological forecasting, and extreme weather preparedness. Tribal members addressed aboriginal rights and fishing in local and offshore waters. 

“These kinds of opportunities are valuable for all of us,” said Hare, who would like to see the dialogue continue. “Tribal members have traditional ecological knowledge about the local ecosystem and environment that we can learn from. More broadly, we want to understand what the tribe’s needs are, how NOAA can best address those needs, and how we can expand our interactions and collaborations.”

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The Northeast Fisheries Science Center conducts ecosystem-based science supporting stewardship of living marine resources under changing climatic conditions. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public. Join NOAA Fisheries on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.

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