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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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Regional Outreach to Mitigate Economic Impacts of Red Tide Closures

Contract Title: MOA with NH Fish and Game for Red Tide Disaster Relief
Grantee: New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
Award Period: January 13, 2010-June 30, 2011

Original Proposal
Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire agreed to collaborate on production of outreach materials for widespread distribution in New England, to provide the public with clear and accurate information regarding PSP blooms and associated health risks. The project was coordinated through the NH Fish and Game Department’s Public Affairs Division. Project end date was June 30, 2011.

Project Summary

Fish and Game Outreach Materials
A red tide resource website page was constructed by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHF&G) using paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) outreach material from Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. The final version of the webpage was completed in July 2010. Updates to the resource page will be implemented by NHF&G on an as-needed basis, including red tide alerts. The red tide resource page is posted on the NHF&G website seasonally with a link to the page in the off-season.

Several members of the outreach group from NHDES and NHF&G developed a list of questions in May 2010 for the red tide survey to find out what people knew and how they wanted to receive information about red tide issues. The questions were compiled by the University of New Hampshire (UNH) into a formal survey that began on September 8, 2010. The survey was posted on the UNH, NHF&G and NHDES websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts. Postcards with survey links were distributed at local seafood festivals throughout September of that year. 

The survey was available until the end of November 2010, and the results were analyzed by UNH in December 2010. The survey was instrumental in understanding the public’s common confusion surrounding red tide. The survey defined what facts were misrepresented in the mind of the public and allowed the outreach group to develop material to correct these misconceptions. The survey concluded that printed information given at point of sale in grocery stores and local fish markets would be the best way to distribute accurate information, along with public service announcements (PSA) using local media. A "rack card," television/radio PSAs, and a red tide resource page were developed using the feedback received from the survey.

The final edited "rack card" with printing specifications was completed on June 30, 2011. The printed "rack card" not only contains key facts to address common misconceptions about red tide, but also contains a Quick Response (QR) code, which can be scanned by smart phones to directly link the user to the red tide resource page for additional facts and information. Members of the outreach committee, along with NH Sea Grant program, made initial contact with vendors for distribution of the "rack card," but no specific plan for distribution is currently in place. 

Filming for the TV PSA began in June 2010. Still photographs were taken and video footage related to grant projects, such as clamming, PSP sampling, lobster tomalley sampling, commercial oyster harvesting and restoration, and NHF&G permit enforcement were also captured in 2010. Collection of TV and radio PSA footage continued through 2011, including scenes of law enforcement, the coast, and fine restaurant dining. A final review of the TV/radio PSAs took place in June 2011 with several members of the outreach group present. Using feedback from this meeting, the final product for both radio and television were produced and include 15, 30, and 60 second PSAs for distribution to local media. Digital copies of PSAs, documented scripts, and all other related material were distributed to each member of the outreach group for future use. The television PSA has been distributed using social media that includes Facebook and YouTube.

B-roll footage collected throughout the project was completed in June 2011 and was distributed to local television stations for use during red tide blooms. Copies of the footage were distributed to each state agency involved in the collaborative project. A generic media announcement answering several key questions that arise during red tide events was filmed in June 2011 and was included in the B-roll footage distributed to local media. A copy of all footage is housed at the NHF&G Public Affairs Division in several formats for distribution as needed.

The red tide outreach group produced a "How to Eat a Lobster" video, which addresses the current advisory by NHDES regarding eating lobster tomalley. The outreach group decided that the most useful way to support the ongoing tomalley consumption advisory, which does have intersection with episodic PSP outbreaks, would be to simply reinforce the advisory in a product that had a more positive message regarding lobster consumption. The group felt this approach would help avoid creating negative impacts on the commercial lobster industry when health advisory warnings for tomalley consumption were broadcasted and would not create the misconception that lobster meat itself was unsafe. The "How to Eat a Lobster" video was completed in June 2011 will be linked to the resource page seasonally. The video was also placed on social media websites such as Facebook and YouTube. A "How to Eat a Lobster" print advertisement, discretely advising against tomalley consumption, was published in the July/August edition of the Wildlife Journal produced by NHF&G. The artwork was created by Mark Sutherland and is copyrighted by the artist for additional use.

Coastal Atlas
To more effectively disseminate the outreach products already developed and described previously, NHDES developed a web-based NH Coastal Atlas, which was also formatted for use on mobile devices. This Atlas gives users instant access to outreach products, such as the Red Tide Resource center, red tide video PSAs, and updated notices of red tide closures. To broaden the site’s appeal and enhance its effectiveness, NHDES included other coastal items of interest (beach closures, access points, information on marine weather, wave conditions, etc.). Staff from the NHDES beach program and coastal zone management program donated in-kind services to develop the maps and information needed to populate their sections of the Atlas.

The State of NH contracted work for the NH Coastal Atlas webpage and mobile webpage to a team of in-house developers. Work on the webpage began in January 2013, with multiple versions published for in-house review over the spring of 2013. The first version of the mobile webpage was published for in-house review in June 2013. The project could not be completed before the end of this grant period. The in-house developers will continue working on the project through the summer of 2013, and work after June 30, 2013 will be supported through another funding source. Beta-testing of both products began in early September 2013, and the final products are scheduled for completion in the fall of 2013.  When completed, the availability of these websites for the public will be advertised on the NHDES Shellfish Program website, the NH F&G website, and other media outlets.

Reports and Products

 

 

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