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SMast students holding shellfish

Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute

The Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute (MFI), a cooperative venture between UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST) and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, promotes sustainable fisheries by providing timely information needed to protect, conserve, and manage Massachusetts marine and coastal resources in a manner that balances the economic, environmental, and cultural interests of the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Information is gathered through interdisciplinary research that examines the interaction between marine organisms and their environments. These application-oriented studies enable scientists to understand the underlying processes and implement timely solutions.

The Institute focuses on addressing critical issues related to Massachusetts fisheries and fishing communities, including fostering a cooperative working relationship among scientists, government, fishermen, and environmentalists. Marine Fisheries Institute researchers are highly productive in a variety of areas.

Current research initiatives

The MFI’s research program has been supported by both state and federal agencies and includes: 


  • scallop video survey
  • open cod-end video trawl survey
  • industry-based groundfish survey

Bycatch reduction

  • herring fishery bycatch avoidance
  • scallop fishery bycatch avoidance
  • conservation engineering for better fishing gear

Population dynamics

  • cod reproduction
  • groundfish discard mortality
  • scallop life history
  • fish stock assessment
  • shark population assessment

Ocean planning and ecosystem science

  • climate change
  • habitat conservation and mapping
  • offshore wind energy

Industry leadership

The MFI organizes scientific and stakeholder meetings and workshops.

  • “End-to-End Review of New England Groundfish Stock Assessments” produced recommendations to improve the scientific basis of management for groundfish fisheries
  • The Fisheries Summit explained the state of the region’s marine fisheries for stakeholders and a strategy for moving forward
  • Accountability Measures for Northeast Fisheries (pdf) (PDF)


The Marine Fisheries Institute educates, trains, and positions graduate students pursuing master’s degrees or PhDs to assume important fisheries science and management roles in Massachusetts, throughout New England, and in other regions nationally and internationally, through their research, scientific publications and employment.

Students are firmly grounded with a hands-on understanding of, and experience with, the Commonwealth’s fishing industry, including its current and historical importance, as well as the problems that can be addressed and resolved through better science and management approaches.

Graduate students have the opportunity to study applied fisheries research in the top-valued port in the nation with the collaboration of the fishing industry and the Commonwealth’s fisheries management agency. 

The MFI also provides fosters community engagement through school programs, safety training classes, and educational events.

Executive Committee

Steven Lohrenz
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth - SMAST

David Pierce
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

Education Director 
Steven Cadrin

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth - SMAST
Research Director 
Kevin Stokesbury
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth - SMAST
Distinguished Senior Scientist 
Michael Sissenwine
New England Fishery Management Council
Adjunct, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Policy Director 
Cate E. O'Keefe
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

Advisory Committee

Ramprasad Balasubramanian
College of Engineering
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

John Bullard
Regional Administrator
NOAA Fisheries

Paul Diodati
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (ret.)

Roy Enoksen
Eastern Fisheries

Kathryn Ford
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

Vito Giacalone
Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund
Northeast Seafood Coalition

Steven Goodwin
University of Massachusetts Amherst
College of Natural Sciences

Robyn Hannigan
School for the Environment
University of Massachusetts Boston

Eric Hansen
Hansen Scalloping Inc.
F/V Endeavor

Jon Hare
Director, Northeast Fisheries Science Center
NOAA Fisheries

James Kendall
New Bedford Seafood Consulting
Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership

Jake Kritzer
Environmental Defense Fund

Chris McGuire
The Nature Conservancy

Frank Mirarchi
Fisherman (ret.)

Kenneth Oliveira
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Michael Orbach
Emeritus Professor
Duke University

John Quinn
New England Fishery Management Council
University of Massachusetts School of Law

Brian Rothschild (Chair)
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth - SMAST
Professor Emeritus


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