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Colby Hosts Carl Safina, Leaders in Maine’s Conservation Community, March 8

Marine conservation leaders will convene at Colby College in Waterville Friday, March 8, for a conference on the future of Maine’s coastal communities, ecosystems, and fisheries. The conference, “Changing Oceans and the Future of the Gulf of Maine: Solutions, Success, and Sustainability,” is sponsored by Colby’s Environmental Studies Program. It will bring together experts on marine ecology, history, policy, law, and community development. The conference is free, and the public is welcome.
 
Carl Safina, an internationally recognized marine conservation activist, host of the PBS series Saving the Ocean, and director of the Blue Ocean Institute, will deliver the keynote address at 1 p.m. He is the inaugural Mellon Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Studies at Colby this academic year.
 
Formal presentations will conclude with a panel discussion including all presenters beginning at 4:20 p.m.
 
A full schedule of talks, with links to information about speakers and panelists, is at www.colby.edu/gulfofmaine. Speakers include experts from the Bigelow Laboratory for Marine Sciences, the Island Institute, the Conservation Law Foundation, Maine’s Department of Marine Resources, and the University of Connecticut.
 
At 7:30 p.m. the Saving the Ocean episode “Cod Comeback?” will be screened, followed by a discussion with Safina and Maine residents featured in the television show.
 
“This conference is incredibly timely, given recent cuts to cod fisheries and ongoing discussions about sustainability in marine fisheries in the Gulf of Maine,” said Loren McClenachan, assistant professor of environmental studies at Colby. “Maine has a long history of fishing, and learning to manage fisheries sustainably is essential to the future of our coastal communities.”
 
Professor F. Russell Cole, chair of the Environmental Studies Program, said, “I am pleased that this conference provides a platform to expand the study of marine conservation amongst Colby’s student population. It’s also a great opportunity to contribute to the ongoing dialogue here in Maine and along the Eastern Seaboard.”
 
The conference will also feature Barney Balch, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay. Colby and Bigelow Laboratory established a strategic partnership in 2010, and Colby students have worked as research and expedition interns at the laboratory over the past several years. Bigelow scientists teach courses in ocean science at Colby during the Jan Plan term, and the first off-campus Semester at Bigelow for Colby students was held in the fall of 2012.
 
“This conference will examine the challenges to Gulf of Maine fisheries from several angles, bringing together academics, regulators, and members of conservation and coastal communities here in Maine,” said Benjamin Twining, senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory. “It is an example of Colby’s leadership in interdisciplinary environmental studies, including the marine issues that are so critical to this region.”
 
To register, e-mail gulfofmeconf@colby.edu. Visit www.colby.edu/gulfofmaine for additional information about the conference.