Expanding Horizons

Lt. Governor Polito announces grants to MMA

A trio of groups proposing high-tech projects for the maritime industry are hoping to use $450,000 in grants to turn fishing vessels into data collection tools and fishermen into “citizen scientists.”

The first grants awarded through the Seaport Economic Council’s new “grand challenge,” given out by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito at a ceremony at the Scituate Maritime Center, will fund three projects to collect and share data about the ocean and fishing industry.

The grants were given to applicants who aimed to use “Internet of Things” technology to boost economic development in the state’s maritime industry. Internet of Things is a term that describes how everyday objects can connect to the internet to collect, send and receive data.

The three projects are the New Bedford Ocean Cluster, which received $250,000; LobsterNet, run by the Scituate-based Lobster Foundation of Massachusetts, which got $133,156; and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s Marine Hydrokinetic Oceanographic Data Portal, which was given $69,600.

The (third and) last grant was given to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to build an online data portal that will give the public access to conditions of the Cape Cod Canal.
“We’re strategically located in the canal and we have an aquaculture center, a deep-water environment and a center for renewable energy,” Lt. Tom Pham said. “We thought that since we have all of this state equipment we would gather the date from all those environments and put it out to the public — from the current to the fishing habitat and water quality.”

This article has been abridged. Read the complete piece from the Patriot Ledger at this link, reach the author, Mary Whitfill at mwhitfill@patriotledger.com