I am just one week into my Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholar position and I am already starting to get a clearer idea about my role as a Summer Scholar! One thing I have started to figure out is how my work fits into the broader picture of Sea Grant. This summer I am working for Eat Oregon Seafood (EOS) which is an initiative created by Oregon Sea Grant. EOS was created after a survey asked individuals in the Oregon fishing community about the effects of COVID-19 on their income. The survey reported that 95% of respondents had suffered negative impacts due to the pandemic. In response, the EOS mission was created: “to give the coastal seafood economies a boost as they recover from restaurant closures and other issues related to COVID-19”. My goal this summer is to participate in smaller projects that help advance the larger EOS mission.
I have a few different projects I will be working on this summer. The first is creating a social media campaign to boost the reach of EOS content. Part of this campaign will include short videos to highlight different members of the fishing community. I will also be working on creating a way to analyze the effectiveness of the outreach program “Shop at the Docks”. Shop at the Docks provides tours of the Newport fishing docks every Friday. The goal of these tours is to show the public how to purchase seafood directly from fishers. All of these duties aim to increase the public’s awareness of issues facing coastal communities.
The project I am starting on right away is the social media campaign. I will post infographics and seafood recipes on a weekly basis on the EOS social media. Hopefully, this will increase the number of people these resources reach. If you’re interested in keeping up with our social media you can follow us on Twitter or Instagram @EatORSeafood! If we are able to reach more people and increase the number of people buying seafood from fishermen, then we may be able to slightly offset the other negative impacts these coastal communities are facing. Hopefully, these projects will help the community enough so individuals can bounce back from COVID-19 impacts and reach a pre-pandemic economy.
The EOS goal ties directly into the broader goals of Oregon Sea Grant. Oregon Sea Grant’s mission is to be “a catalyst that promotes discovery, understanding, and resilience for Oregon coastal communities and ecosystems”. EOS is directly impacting the resilience of Oregon coastal communities by increasing financial buy-in. EOS also increases interactions between fishers, scientists, policymakers, and the public. My hope for the summer is to use my projects to strengthen the connection of fishermen with other community members. Then fishers can use these connections to help build a more resilient fishing community. I am excited to see where this summer goes and will keep you all updated throughout my journey as a Summer Scholar!