A two-day Maritime Summit, conceived as an opportunity to scope out new uses for the under-utilized waterfront of America's oldest seaport, arrives in Gloucester Tuesday.
The first day's theme is "Emerging roles for oceans and maritime resources, How ocean resources offer opportunities to meet new global challenges." For Wednesday, the theme is "Building Capacity to meet 21st Century needs."
The event is being staged at Cruiseport Gloucester, 6 Rowe Square, beginning each day at 8:30 a.m. The program is being funded in large part through the U.S. Commerce Department, and has been spawned by a spring tour to assess economic issues for fishing communities,
"The entire event is open to the public," said Community Development Director Sarah Garcia, but she noted that "the breakout sessions will be facilitated discussions of core participants."
A reception at Maritime Gloucester, 23 Harbor Loop, runs from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Among the participants are Roger Payne, founder of the Ocean Alliance, and Molly Lutcavage, director of the Large Pelagics Research Laboratory at Hodgkin's Cove, Bay View. They are matched in the first discussion on Tuesday morning, focusing on "dynamic areas of ocean sciences."
Ann Molloy of Neptune's Harvest is part of a second discussion along with Tim Jackson of the Canadian National Research Council on "Diversification opportunities in the fishing industry."
A third discussion Tuesday, "Ocean technologies and product development," features Steve Barrett, director of clean energy for Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc., Pierre F. J. Lermusiaux and Brian Hodder of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
On Wednesday, the first session on cluster developments features Michael Jones, president ProFinance & San Diego Maritime Alliance, and Harlan Doliner, of the Maritime Ocean Technology Network.
The second session Wednesday involves team breakouts at 10:30 a.m. followed by a noon presentation of "focus area strategies."
The keynote speaker Tuesday will be Lanesville activist and former Gloucester city councilor Valerie Nelson, who helped organize the event and will speak about "The Blue Economy."
"Based on the response and caliber of speakers and participants, Gloucester is well on its way to defining its niche as a prestigious maritime center in the maritime economy," said Mayor Carolyn Kirk, who will welcome the guests Tuesday morning at 8:30.
The event was financed through the U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration, which provided what Kirk said was in the range of $45,000.
The grant was the first tangible benefit from a two-day visit in May by a Commerce Economic Development Administration panel that gathered testimony and data on Gloucester's economic condition. The team also spent time in New Bedford, Portland, Pt. Judith, R.I., Seabrook, N.H. and Montauk, N.Y.
The panel's tour was ordered by then-Commerce Secretary Gary Locke last spring in response to congressional pressure as the economic toll from the institution of the catch share regimen for the groundfishery in May 2010 began to come into focus.
Co-sponsoring the Gloucester summit is the Metropolitian Area Planning Council, a state-created agency with municipal representatives, which is matching the financial grant with in-kind contributions.
Richard Gaines an be reached at 978-283-7000, x3464, or at email@example.com.