Texas Sea Grant

Texas Sea Grant

Healthy Coastal ecosystems

I’m McKensie Daugherty, your host for on the ocean. Many people know Texas A&M University to be a “Land Grant university”, but few know that it’s also a “Sea Grant university”.  Sea Grant is a network of 33 research and extension outreach programs in coastal and Great Lakes states funded by a partnership between NOAA and the states. The Texas program, headquartered at Texas A&M in College Station, has field staff from Beaumont to Brownsville and is celebrating its 45th birthday this year. Texas Sea Grant has many functions, but the four focus areas that have defined its goals are healthy coastal ecosystems, resilient communities and economies, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, and environmental literacy and workforce development. One of its healthy coastal ecosystems initiatives is the oil spill science outreach team, a partnership with the other Sea Grant programs in the Gulf of Mexico. After the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, a large amount of research was funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, or GoMRI (goam-ree), but the results weren’t being communicated clearly to the many groups that needed them. Under a grant from GoMRI, the Gulf Sea Grant programs have published 8 fact sheets and hosted several webinars, meetings and workshops geared towards communicating with diverse audiences. Overall, healthy coastal ecosystems are of paramount importance, and Texas Sea Grant is one of the many programs that are working diligently to preserve them. This has been On the Ocean, a program made possible by the Department of Oceanography and a production of KAMU-FM on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station. For more information and links, please go to ocean.tamu.edu and click On the Ocean.

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Resilient communities and economies

I’m McKensie Daugherty, your host for on the ocean. Resilient communities and economies is a focus of Texas Sea Grant, a program funded through a partnership between NOAA and the state that is dedicated to the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources. Coastal communities and economies are prone to some unique natural hazards due to their location. In partnership with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, Texas Sea Grant formed the Texas Coastal Watershed Program, an initiative that developed cutting edge technology that put the ability to model natural disasters and their impacts on coastal areas in the hands of coastal residents and city officials. The program held hands-on training for several coastal communities and, with support from FEMA, has expanded the program and recently conducted a short course for local officials to help them make informed land use decisions that lead to long-term hazard management. Combined with the efforts of Texas Sea Grant’s Coastal Planning Specialist, who guides coastal communities through an exercise to gauge their resilience to natural hazards, Texas Sea Grant has built risk awareness and disaster resiliency in communities all along the Texas coast. This has been On the Ocean, a program made possible by the Department of Oceanography and a production of KAMU-FM on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station. For more information and links, please go to ocean.tamu.edu and click On the Ocean.

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Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture

I’m McKensie Daugherty, your host for on the ocean. Texas Sea Grant is one of many programs involved in helping ensure the sustainability and safety of our seafood supply. One way to safeguard the sustainability of fisheries is to decrease the impact on non-target species. Texas Sea Grant has been at the forefront of helping the Texas shrimp industry, the largest and most profitable commercial fishery in the state, to adopt turtle excluder devices, commonly called TEDs. A correctly installed TED creates an escape hatch in shrimp nets for sea turtles and other larger marine animals. If sea turtles do not escape from the nets, they drown. Texas Sea Grant has helped train shrimp fisherman to install and use these federally mandated devices, and inspects and certifies shrimp vessels that are using them properly, which lets the fishermen demonstrate to retailers that their product was harvested sustainably. To support the sustainability of the industry, Texas Sea Grant has also tested fishing gear to determine which styles and materials are the most fuel-efficient, helping the fishermen’s bottom line. It’s a win-win for the gulf and southeastern U.S. shrimp fishery, which harvests the best tasting wild-caught shrimp for its consumers. This has been On the Ocean, a program made possible by the Department of Oceanography and a production of KAMU-FM on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station. For more information and links, please go to ocean.tamu.edu and click On the Ocean.

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http://texasseagrant.org/assets/uploads/resources/15-515_State_of_Texas_Shrimp_Fishery_Economic_Impacts.pdf

Environmental literacy and workforce development

I’m McKensie Daugherty, your host for on the ocean. Texas Sea Grant, headquartered on Texas A&M University’s main campus, has among its goals an increase in coastal and marine science literacy, especially among inland audiences. The program, with financial support from the university’s Provost, began its efforts in College Station with Aglantis, a large saltwater aquarium the program placed in the Memorial Student Center. To expand its efforts to a younger audience and teach children in schools about these ecosystems and the organisms that live in them, Texas Sea Grant launched Aglantis Jr. The program recruits K through 12 teachers in the Brazos Valley to host marine fish tanks in their classrooms to display the animals of the Gulf of Mexico for their students, and incorporate them into lesson plans that can teach their students about marine organisms and what they need to survive in their ecosystems. Texas Sea Grant provides the aquariums and starting organisms, and the training to maintain them. Through their efforts, hundreds of children of all ages have been introduced to the unique and fascinating animals of the Gulf of Mexico. This has been On the Ocean, a program made possible by the Department of Oceanography and a production of KAMU-FM on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station. For more information and links, please go to ocean.tamu.edu and click On the Ocean.

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