Small Boats. Big Science.

Small Boats. Big Science.  series brings together our community, researchers, and commercial fishermen to discuss the latest scientific advancements and how they relate to our fleet, our environment, and our coastal communities.

Our organization has been empowered not only by what staff learns on the water, and from commercial fishermen who make their living on the sea, but also in meeting rooms with scientists.

With a changing climate, and changing seas, it’s essential to raise our level of awareness and our literacy when it comes to our threatened ecosystem because what makes Cape Cod special is the quality of our environment and our relationship to it.

The policy issues we work on, as well as the regulations commercial fishermen work under, are profoundly shaped by the health of our oceans. Fishermen often help power the scientific research that happens off our shore, the results of which helps sustain their businesses.

Upcoming Presentation:  TBD



For the small boat fisheries to thrive, and the Cape’s unique community to succeed, everyone must learn about and discuss the risks and possibilities associated with a changing ocean.

Small Boats Big Science. is meant as an opportunity to bring everyone together to learn so we can better address the challenges that lie ahead.

The series is a next step from Meet the Fleet, an educational event that features fishermen talking about their catch and Cape chefs preparing it so attendees can enjoy local fare and learn how to make it at home.

Watch videos of previous Small Boats. Big Science. talks

Join us in thanking local foundations that make Small Boat. Big Science. possible:


Black Sea Bass Surge: Climate Change Winners – July 2023

Guests learned about the influx of black sea bass and how fishermen are helping to improve our understanding of this tasty newcomer.

Speaker: Hannah Verkamp, a a fisheries research biologist with the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation. She works collaboratively with fishermen to conduct research on a wide range of fishery topics and species and is also passionate about science education and outreach.  Her current research is: Empowering Fishermen to Fill Data Gaps for a Rapidly Changing Fishery: A Case Study on Northern Black Sea Bass.

The Ecology Around Us – October 2022

Guests learned about the importance of marine ecosystems and how they impact our local Cape Cod communities.

Speakers: Dr. Dave Wiley from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is an award-winning marine ecologist. Dr. Wiley’s research focuses on the ecology and intersection between large whales, seabirds, and forage fish. His presentation will highlight why we should care about the ecology surrounding our Cape Cod communities.

Jill Thompson-Grim is a Ph.D. student at the University of South Florida-College of Marine Science. Her research focuses on how fish populations have responded to climate change in the Gulf of Mexico. Jill’s presentation will focus on concepts that are considered in fisheries modeling, and she’ll discuss a case study on how the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem is predicted to respond to a Category 5 hurricane. This study highlights how hurricanes can initiate cascading effects in marine ecosystems through flooding and infrastructure damage.

From The Arctic to You – August 2022

Through engaging presentations, we learned how changes in ocean currents and weather happening as far away as the Arctic impact our Cape Cod communities today.

Speakers: Dr. Jennifer Francis from the Woodwell Climate Research Center is an expert in climate change and with extensive experience in the Arctic. Dr. Francis says, “The Arctic seems very far away, but the momentous changes occurring there affect us all. Global warming, sea-level rise, tropical storms, and extreme weather events are all connected to the rapidly melting and warming Arctic. [I discussed] recent research into this “hot” topic.”

Dr. Glen Gawarkiewicz from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution specializes in New England oceanography. Glen discussed changes in the ocean circulation and temperature/salinity around Cape Cod in recent years. There have been significant changes in the Gulf Stream as well as the continental shelf and slope. He also described how ocean technology is making a difference in understanding the changes in the ocean.

Captain Eric Hesse fishes in the Gulf of Maine for groundfish and dogfish using benthic longlines aboard the F/V Tenacious II.