Fishermen's Forum tackles issues facing state's key industry

To be held Feb. 28-March 2 at Samoset
Feb 26, 2019
Source: File photo Vendor and fisherman meet at the 2018 Maine Fishermen's Forum trade show at the Samoset Resort in Rockport.

The 2019 Maine Fishermen's Forum arrives at the Samoset Resort in Rockport Thursday, Feb. 28, and continues until March 2, bringing together fishermen, scientists and government regulators to talk about issues including the ongoing concern about right whales and the impact of climate change on the fisheries.

"This is the largest event of its kind in New England – one dedicated to offering fishermen, clammers, lobstermen, aquaculturalists and other related seafood industry participants an opportunity to meet on neutral ground with fisheries managers, state representatives, congressmen and senators," the forum's website states.

Each year the forum draws thousands to Rockport.

The event includes more than 30 informative seminars on topics relevant to fishing today and the annual trade show featuring a multitude of businesses that provide gear, engines, traps and any number of other products and services related to the fishing industry.

The Maine Lobstersmen's Association, the Alewife Harvesters of Maine and the Maine Elver Fishermen's Association hold their annual meetings during the forum. The Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association will have a pre-season meeting. The Red Cross will provide CPR and first aid training.

Other events include a seafood reception, a banquet and dance, and a benefit auction to raise scholarship funds for children from fishing families.

The Maine Fishermen's Forum is a nonprofit organization run by a board of directors.

The informative sessions will include:

A public scoping hearing on "Amendment 21 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan" at 1 p.m., Feb. 28 in the Camden Room. This will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to give feedback and ask questions about changes being considered, which may include changes to the possession limits in Maine.

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association's 65th annual meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, March 1, in the Rockport Room.

"The MLA will update the membership on the two most pressing issues facing the industry in 2019 -- reduced bait supply due to the 70 percent cut in herring quota and the potential for new regulations to protect right whales," the Fishermen's Forum website states.

MLA's attorney, Mary Anne Mason, will talk about the group's court case concerning the right whale issue.

MLA will also conduct its annual election.

An update on right whale status will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 1, in the Rockport Room.

This discussion will include information about what the status of the endangered whale species will mean in terms of potential regulations to reduce entanglement risk.

"Presentations will include population and entanglement updates, an overview of where we are at with potential management actions and pending court cases, an update on the results from the ongoing DMR vertical line research project, and a demonstration of a new prototype for the 'Time Tension Line Cutter,'" the site states.

The host will be Meredith Mendelson, Maine Department of Marine Resources, and the moderator will be Patrice McCarron of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. The forum will include Erin Summers, Maine Dept. of Marine Resources; Michael Asaro, NMFS GARFO; Megan Ware, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission; Caitlin Cleaver, FB Environmental; and Ben Brickett, Blue Water Concepts.

Water Survival Training will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 2, at the Samoset Pool.

The Maine Elver Fishermen’s Association will hold its annual meeting at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 2, at the Golf Club.

The Alewife Harvesters of Maine will hold their meeting at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 2, at the Golf Club.

"Warming Waters, Emerging Species and Market Changes" will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 2, in the Rockport Room.

"Over the past decade, southern New England waters have experienced dramatic and widespread warming, having profound impacts on key fisheries resources," the website notes.

For a full list of sessions and other information, visit http://mainefishermensforum.org/home-2-2/2019-forum-2/

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