The 35th annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum will open Thursday, March 4 at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. While the schedule has yet to be finalized, planned highlights of the three-day event include discussions on lobstering, the herring and groundfish fisheries, collaborating with other types of businesses, and the impacts of other ocean-based activities on those whose income depends on maritime harvests.

The agenda for Thursday, March 4 begins with “Clam Day,” and includes such topics as consumer confidence, municipal shellfish management, and pollution identification and abatement.

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association will kick off an international exchange at the forum with speakers invited from West Australia, Tasmania, Ireland, Prince Edward Island, Southwest Nova Scotia, New Zealand and South Australia.

The Coast Guard’s Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Program will provide water safety training on Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6, at 8 a.m.

The 56th annual meeting of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association will be held Friday, March 5 at 9 a.m. and will be followed throughout the forum by a number of sessions on issues relating to the lobster fishery. As in the past, the annual meeting will include a free membership raffle for 2009 V-notch survey participants and door prizes for association members.

Seminars Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6, will include a session hosted by the Eat Local Foods Coalition to highlight strategies to address the sustainability of Maine’s farming and fishing communities. In other sessions, attendees will have opportunities to review several upcoming and proposed changes to regional and federal management policies. There will be a discussion on opportunities and major issues to be resolved in response to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council Shrimp Advisory Panel’s request for a summer shrimp fishery.

Seminars on such topics as ocean acidification, marine spatial planning and national ocean policy, marketing, and ocean energy will round out the menu of discussions, presentations and events at the forum.

As always, there will be an extensive trade show and the Decompression Chamber will offer an informal opportunity for visits among friends, impromptu jam sessions, Maine videos, historical presentations and other activities.

For more information about the 35th annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum, visit mainefishermensforum.org or contact event coordinator Chilloa Young at 442-7700.

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