[Coral-List] Opportunities and Resources for Collaboration

BSG Farm bsgfarm at peoplepc.com
Wed Sep 19 12:54:44 EDT 2012

Opportunities and Resources for Collaboration:

We are seeking input and proposals to determine the long-term placement of Research Vessel Llyr in 2013-14 as a permanent service platform for biocultural capacity building, alternative livelihood resilience, resource support and monitoring in a coral biome and adjacent communities. Islands and archipelagos of interest include Tonga, Cook, Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands as well as Kirabati and the Sulawesi region.

We are independent social scientists and agroforesters working on harvesting, processing and market adaptations which stabilize or build biocultural diversity. Our academic trainings are in Human Ecology, Cultural Anthropology and Psychology. Our interest is in coral regions where cultural adaptation is underway due to declining fish stocks intersecting with marine protected area charter and regulatory agreements and a changing ecosystem. 

At Berkshire Sweet Gold Maple & Marine, we operate as social entrepreneurs, a hybrid activity linking business and not-for-profit ventures by using earned resources from one sector of business, a forest farm and direct markets, to leverage social and environmental outcomes in another sector, Research Vessel Llyr's activities. (see Ashoka.com)  RV Llyr can therefor offer a variety of services to different parties either at no cost or at nominal operational costs.

Many MPA regions, each with their own creative designs and their local communities, could use a volunteer service boat, or two, to meet local transportation and infrastructure needs, educational support, training and long-term integration of the MPA mission into both local community life/business, monitoring or restoration efforts as well as offering a resource link to the West.   What we're building is a hybrid model seeking close association with an MPA's charter and regulatory agreements while also embedded in local community, harvesting and markets and further directly yoked, as a "sister city" might be, to stateside resources and advocacy.  

Long-term cultural adaptation and stability supporting biocultural diversity can be difficult to achieve. Our efforts include privileging community initiatives that seek harvest adaptations and artisanal strategies to increase resilience ahead of introducing tourism which may carry significant longitudinal risks without careful design. We work both within and against commodity markets. Stateside our work is to engage consumers and the business community, via direct markets, training opportunities, educational presentations and partnerships. RV Llyr is partly designed to function as a broker and facilitator of such efforts from Ridge to Reef.

We are a family crew of bluewater mariners and divers who work multi-generationally both in action and education. Research Vessel Llyr is a 53' steel ketch, a beamy, 30 ton motor-sailer carefully chosen and refit by us to meet broad capacities within her modest class which keeps her lean and efficient to operate while offering rugged offshore capabilities, shallow 5.5' draft inshore abilities, broad spaces for work or transport, dive facilities and dive tender with spacious, bright liveaboard capacity for 9 or so.

It is widely understood that the vast majority of people have their backs turned to the sea as the coral/ocean crisis accelerates. Numerous times on this Coral List Serve we have heard voices advocate for innovative and inclusive responses which work across disciplines, resources and traditional professional firewalls both locally in coral regions and more broadly.  Here is one response underway seeking guidance and collaborators.

Please visit our website to learn more about this project and to investigate RV Llyr's April, 2013 South Pacific transect collaborative opportunities for researchers and interns as we train, study and work en-route to her permanent destination.

Brooks McCutchen, Ph.D. & Janis Steele, Ph.D.

Berkshire Sweet Gold Maple & Marine, Heath MA USA
& Research Vessel Llyr, on expedition in Bocas del Toro, Panama
farmhouse: 888-576-2753 (usa) or 1-413-337-8301
offshore: WDG2668 at sailmail.com

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