The 38th annual Maine Fishermen's Forum got under way Feb. 28 for three days of seafaring conversations and education.

Being held at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, the forum offers a full agenda from the Trade Show Exhibit including more than 90 exhibitors to seminars discussing factors that currently affect and could have an impact on the future of our commercial fishing industry.

Seminar topics include water survival training, avoiding gear conflicts, ocean acidification, and factors that may be inhibiting groundfish recovery, to name a few.

Other events include a silent auction, health care clinics and skin cancer screening.

The event attracts several thousand people from fishing-related businesses, governmental agencies, individual fishermen and public organizations that serve the industry.

Participants come from all over to network.

"Just seeing the fishermen who are real people in need of help," said Ron Thomas from RE Thomas Hardware of Hancock, who transformed his machine tool business to marine machinery nearly 17 years ago.

Merton Sawyer, sales representative from CH Sawyer & Son of Warren, said "Nobody knows more what the fishermen need than the individuals themselves."

The entire event is coordinated through volunteer efforts.