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Successful conservation depends on a scientifically literate public. We developed the adopt-a-Herring program to educate nonscientists about fisheries and watershed restoration. this interactive educational and outreach project encouraged coastal residents to be involved in local watershed restoration. In the northeastern United States, river herring (Alosa spp.) are an important component of many coastal watersheds and often are the object of conservation efforts. In order to understand river herring spawning behavior and to improve the effectiveness of restoration efforts, our research tracked these fish via radiotelemetry in the Ipswich River, Massachusetts. In our adopt-a-Herring Program, participating stakeholder organizations adopted and named individual tagged river herring and followed their movements online. We also made information available to our adopters on our larger research goals, the mission and activities of other research and management agencies, examples of human actions that adversely affect watersheds, and opportunities for proactive conservation. Research results were communicated to adopters through our project web page and end-of-the-season summary presentations. Both tools cultivated a personal interest in river herring, stimulated discussion about fisheries and watershed restoration, educated participants about the goals and methods of scientists in general, and initiated critical thinking about human activities that advance or impede sustainability.
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The Adopt-a-Herring program as a fisheries conservation tool [El programa "adopta un s??balo" como herramienta de conservaci??n en pesquer??as]