OnDeck: Summer Newsletter 2017

From the Wheelhouse: What a difference one person can make

We work with exceptional people. Anthropologist, Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” This quote is displayed throughout our office. Our staff make a difference each and every day and they are supported by board members and exceptional donors. But meet a few of the others who are so integral to our effectiveness. Eastern Maine Skippers students dared to speak on stage for their final presentations; for some, a personal transformation. Their success holds such promise for their future as fishermen and as stewards. Milbridge fisherman Steve Brown has been lead fisherman for the Sentinel Survey for its eight years. His knowledge of gear and ecology are now built into the survey. Bailey Bowden of Penobscot is the spark – and lots of the horsepower – for what is now a three-town, multi-organization, hands-on initiative on his beloved Bagaduce River. And that has given Gunnar and Kathy Lymburner, of Brooksville, a way to fulfill their dream to work on rebuilding alewives in Walker Pond. Ryan Larrabee, spoke truth to the New England fishery council about lobster traps and deep sea corals. He has saved this area’s lobster fishery loss and dislocation. Tim Ryder, innovative jig fisherman is fishing in our sector and building a boat-to-restaurant business model. And now, Paul Anderson, currently Director of Maine Sea Grant, has agreed to be the next Executive Director of Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries. Together, we are moving our mission forward.

Alewife Monitoring on the Bagaduce

Volunteer Counting Alewife

Sarah O’Malley of Blue Hill counts the number of Alewives passing into a pond.

Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries (MCCF) has been part of an exciting effort happening close to home — working with alewives — a species that connects fresh and saltwater ecosystems. MCCF staff are working closely with local alewife committees and volunteers from the towns of Brooksville, Sedgwick, and Penobscot to count the number of returning alewives and collect data such as age, sex, and length. The work on the Bagaduce is a perfect example of an ecosystem-based co-management system, where resource users and communities play an important role in monitoring and managing fisheries.

2017 Alewives Highlights

Sample Sites: Pierce Pond (Penobscot), Walker Pond (Brooksville), Wight Pond (Penobscot)

Samples Collected: Zooplankton, Returning Alewives, Juvenile Alewives

Returning Alewives Counted: 170,000 +

Partner Organizations: Blue Hill Heritage Trust, Downeast Salmon Federation, Maine Coast Heritage Trust


If you are interested in volunteering please contact Mike Thalhauser, Fisheries Science & Leadership Advisor, at (207) 367-2708.

Skippers Wrap-Up 16’-17’ School Year

Deer Isle-Stonington High School student Elliot Nevells presents his handmade flying beam trawl model.

On May 25th, 36 students from seven Eastern Maine Skippers Program (EMSP) high schools presented their final projects at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth. Projects included documentary videos on the scallop fishery and monitoring of watershed health, and experiments in kelp farming and creating biofuel from kelp. Elliot Nevells, of Deer Isle-Stonington, won a $100 prize for a low impact beam trawl for shrimp, as did the EMSP class from Jonesport-Beals, who created the “Habi-Trap,” a grow-out system for Arctic surf clams, which also traps invasive green crabs.

Headed into the summer, our staff, teachers, and Val Peacock of Rural Aspirations Project will be developing a framework for next year’s question — How can individuals and communities manage and restore local fisheries? — which promises a deep exploration of the commercial fishing industry and what keeps it afloat.

Stay tuned for more information on the upcoming school year!

Annual Auction Goes Nautical

Join us Monday, August 7th for our largest fundraising event of the year. Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries invites you to our live Nautical Auction. In addition to our traditional artist-decorated wooden buoys, this year’s event will also include nautical-themed items. Over 80 artists and businesses have contributed artwork, jewelry, and Maine experiences to the event, which will take place at the Stonington Opera House Arts. Bidding will begin at 6:00 p.m. Your support will help our efforts to create a place where fishing communities can sustain themselves to fish forever

We are holding a SUMMER RAFFLE for a 22-foot classic Whitehall sailboat, from the prominent Chappelle/Gardner collection — a prize valued at $15,000. For raffle tickets, contact Bobbi Billings at babillings@coastalfisheries.org or (207) 367-2708. Raffle tickets are $100 each, or $250 for three. Only 250 tickets will be sold.


Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries Takes Italy

Betsey asks the Finnish delegates a question about climate change. Their answers are translated in real time, and transmitted through a radio headset.

On May 17th, eighteen-year-old Betsey Brown, of Narraguagus High School, landed at the bi-annual Slow Fish conference in Genoa, Italy. Accompanied by staff from Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries (MCCF), Betsey was chosen to represent the 60+ students that participate in the Eastern Maine Skippers Program (EMSP).
Since 2004, Slow Fish has been working to protect and promote small scale seafood producers all over the world. Betsey, who fishes with her father aboard the Tricia Clark, a 40-foot longline and tuna boat, talked about her community’s story. Betsey had the opportunity to hear delegates from around the world, and share the documentary she made, along with her classmates, about the Maine scallop fishery.
Betsey and MCCF staffers explained how EMSP — in collaboration with Deer Isle-Stonington High School and Rural Aspirations Project — helps open the door for the next generation of fishermen. While EMSP aims to strengthen community connections and help students become the best resource stewards they can be on a local level, fisheries issues have become global, and the program hopes to connect more participants with people from around the world.
To learn more about EMSP, contact Program Coordinator, Christina Fifield, at (207) 367-2708