Fishermen’s Forum Recap:
A summary from Executive Director, Paul Anderson.
Several of us from Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries made our way to Rockport, Maine to participate in the 43rd annual Fishermen’s Forum earlier this month. While March came in like a lion on the water, with a fierce nor’easter that dropped a “bomb cyclone” in the region, we hunkered down with hundreds of friends and colleagues to share what’s happening in the fishing industry. Nothing like a good blow to bring out fishermen for sessions, trade shows, and good food, drink, and company. For me, it was great to connect with folks that I’ve worked with for years, but this time wearing a different logo on my coat and engaging in new conversations.
Eastern Maine Skippers Program: How can individuals and communities manage and restore local fisheries?
One of the highlights was the session featuring the students in our Eastern Maine Skippers Program. Nearly 100 students from eight schools, along with their teachers, presented on a wide range of topics, from studies of alternative lobster baits to water quality in clam flats. This year’s projects are intended to answer the question: “how can individuals or communities manage and restore local fisheries?” The students presented posters that highlighted their work, engaged audience members to share ideas, and collected input.
The Skippers Program, now in its sixth year, provides a critical opportunity for students to learn in different ways. Zack Harvey from Swan’s Island, and a student at MDI High School, told the crowd that this program was his favorite part of school. His dad John chimed in to say the program’s “been a great opportunity for him [Zack] to evolve into a young adult. It has helped a lot. Great program!” We agree. And we applaud the teachers, community members, and supporters that are helping Zack and his fellow students. You can next see the skippers at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth on May 24th when they present their final project findings. Come cheer them on!
For a closer look at the Skippers Program, see WABI’s coverage of the session.
Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management: Recent and emerging efforts
We also welcomed fishermen to participate in a session on exploring ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management in Eastern Maine. Tad Miller (F/V Mallary Sky) from Maine and Bobby Ruhle (F/V Darana) from North Carolina joined us to talk about the importance of collaborative fisheries research. Also on the panel was Pete Halmay (F/V Erin B), who phoned in from San Diego, California because the aforementioned “bomb cyclone” caused the cancelation of his flight. Between these three fishermen, our Senior Scientist, Carla Guenther, and our colleagues from NOAA Fisheries and DMR, there was a spirited conversation about the challenges, successes, and lessons learned. The session echoed Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ goal of progressing towards better, finer-scale information to improve our understanding of fisheries and how to sustain them in the long-run.
If we missed you at the Forum, please visit us in Stonington sometime.
Executive Director of Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries
About Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries
Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries is a Stonington-based nonprofit that works with fishermen, community members, scientists, regulators, and partner organizations, to sustain fisheries and fishing communities in Eastern Maine and beyond.