NOAA 99-28
Contact: Stephanie Dorezas


The National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Marine Educators Association have formed a partnership to promote sound marine conservation and education issues in the classroom, the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said today.

An agreement between NOAA Fisheries and the NMEA provides a framework to develop a variety of cooperative activities that will increase recreational fishing opportunities and promote marine education issues. Future projects may include holding school workshops presented by NOAA scientists, organizing student field trips to various marine sites including marine sanctuaries, and hosting annual conferences to provide classroom teachers and informal educators the opportunity to participate and exchange teaching materials on marine conservation issues.

"This new partnership will pave the way in expanding marine science education into curricular and public education programs," said Penny Dalton, director of the National Marine Fisheries Service. "We place a strong emphasis on education, and the National Marine Educators Association is a great forum for improving public knowledge of the ocean as well as training the next generation of marine biologists."

For 22 years, the NMEA has worked at the grass-roots level to address the need for better formal education and public outreach for ocean issues. The NMEA acts as a marine resource clearinghouse by directing educators to sources of marine and aquatic information, linking scientists and educators together, and finding ways to incorporate marine science into classroom curricula.

"NMEA has a long tradition of working to make known the world of water, both salt and fresh," said Joy Wolf, the president of the National Marine Educators Association. "We are pleased to establish a partnership with the National Marine Fisheries Service to further our shared goals of education and conservation regarding our oceans resources."

"We look forward to working with the National Marine Educators Association in a way that allows us to foster sound fisheries conservation among the education community and through their well-established channels," said Dick Schaefer, chief of the Intergovernmental and Recreational Fisheries Office for the Fisheries Service. "This is a strong move by the agency to meet its commitment to work with educators as partners in ensuring a healthy marine environment."

The National Marine Fisheries Service is an agency of the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency is dedicated to protecting and preserving the nation's ocean wildlife through scientific research, fisheries management, habitat conservation and enforcement of the nation's ocean wildlife laws.