Fisheries Innovation Scotland is delighted to announce that the winner of our 2019 Travel Bursary is Nicole Anderson. Nicole works for the Clyde Fisherman’s Trust (CFT) as Trust and Projects Co-ordinator. The CFT is a charity founded by local Clyde fishermen with the primary aims of advancing marine science and education using arts, media, and cultural education to regenerate local communities which have faced difficulties including the loss of connection to their fishing heritage and identity.
FIS is the independent charity driving research, knowledge exchange and best practice in Scottish fisheries. The travel bursary is awarded to applicants with the best proposal for a short international study trip that will help grow their career and their ability to contribute to the sector in Scotland.
With the funds awarded to her by FIS, Nicole has decided to travel to Maine, in the USA, where she hopes to meet with the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association (MCFA). She came across this non-profit during her first few months at CFT and has since been inspired by all the projects they are involved in. The MCFA, Nicole explained, uses research, education, and outreach projects to enhance the ‘sustainability of Maine’s fisheries through advocating for the needs of community-based fishermen and the environmental restoration of the Gulf of Maine’.
The more she followed their work, the more she identified similarities between Maine and the Clyde region, not only in their marine environments but also in their shared difficulties and goals for the future. ‘Both areas also have strong roots in the associated fishing culture and heritage,’ Nicole says, ‘which plays an important role in their identities so I was keen to look into this further’. The two locations certainly have rich and complementary histories and traditions in fishing, with one of her destinations even sharing the same name – Port Clyde.
‘I feel that the Maine fishing community has a lot to offer us’
Drawing on this year’s bursary award theme of ‘Innovation and Sustainability’, Nicole plans to talk to the MCFA about their various techniques and projects which could ‘prove useful to the industry at home’. She also hopes that they might both ‘learn and grow’ from each other and work together to find solutions to the similar issues they are facing.
Nicole aims to speak to as many people as possible within the fishing industry during her trip, including MCFA’s partner organisations (like The Nature Conservancy). She hopes that this will not only expand her own network but also give her the ‘full experience’ of the Maine fishing community, with a wide range of knowledge and awareness that she can take home to the Scottish industry. She also goes with the intention of learning more about and discussing MCFA’s cultural programs, which, like CFT’s own projects, have recognised the importance of oral storytelling in engaging with local communities with their fishing identity.
‘I knew it was an opportunity not to be missed… when I received the news I was over the moon’
When asked which aspect of her trip she is most excited about, Nicole told us all about the Maine Lobster Festival: what began as a community affair in 1947 but has grown into a national event with tens of thousands of attendees. The CFT holds its own Festival of the Sea, annually celebrating local seafood and fishing heritage and culture in the Clyde in order to remind the people of Glasgow of ‘their long-standing fishing connections, and to celebrate their shared cultural heritage’. The Maine Lobster Festival is what Nicole and her colleagues see as the ‘type of event that we aspire to become in the future’.
‘It’s a not only a great opportunity for myself but also for the Clyde Fishermen’s Trust,’ Nicole told us: ‘We are a small and relatively young charity so having the opportunity to work with FIS and new partners in Maine on this project is very exciting’.