Eastern Maine Skippers Program

Eastern Maine Skippers Program (EMSP) is a program currently implemented in nine high schools that serve fishing communities across 200 miles of coastal eastern Maine. The program’s focus is on providing students with the core knowledge and skills needed to participate in coastal fisheries. EMSP provides a platform for students to explore and create opportunities to sustain the fishing communities they live in by running successful and adaptable businesses within those communities. A central feature of EMSP is an intensive group, or individual project in which the students work collaboratively with community fishermen, scientists, regulators and related businesses to investigate challenges within the fishing industry. They then research, develop and present effective solutions.

Working with teachers, partners, and school administrations across the region, EMSP facilitates curriculum development and provides broadened access to scientists, the fishing industry, and community members who bring the same reality that the students experience outside the classroom directly into their formal education.

Each year, EMSP supports between sixty and one hundred Downeast Maine students, grades 9-12, many of whom are undermotivated to pursue higher education, to remain in their local communities and to utilize their existing knowledge and/or familial resources to be an integral part of the local fishing economy. Equally important, students within their communities are exposed to multiple perspectives while developing and presenting their extended projects ranging from fishing gear modification, to aquaculture, to safety improvements. EMSP students build relationships, knowledge and skills to graduate from high school ready to face the rapidly changing business, science, political and fishing environments of the 21st Century.

Resource Library for Teachers and Students

Participating Schools:

Deer Isle-Stonington High School

Ellsworth High School

George Stevens Academy

Jonesport-Beals High School

Mount Desert Island High School

Narraguagus High School

North Haven Community School

Vinalhaven School

Washington Academy


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