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Ocean View, Stephanie Showalter Otts JD/MSEL'01

Lost, discarded and abandoned fishing gear causes environmental problems—degrading marineecosystems, trapping marine species, damaging active fishing boats and gear. The National Sea Grant Law Center, which Stephanie Otts directs, is researching derelict gear with a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant. Gear removal laws vary by state and fishery, which complicates interstate cooperation. Otts’s center is analyzing the legal framework and removal programs. “This research raises awareness of legal barriers and helps New England marine-debris managers implement innovative fishing gear-removal programs,” she says. “This will facilitate gear removal from the ocean, reducing the environmental impact.”