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2016 Maine Fishermen’s Forum: record trade show; events galore

ROCKPORT, ME – The Maine Fishermen’s Forum (MFF) turns 41 this year with a jam-packed three days scheduled at the Samoset Resort from Thursday, March 3 through Saturday, March 5.

Capt. Keith Coburn.  (Discovery Channel photo)

Capt. Keith Coburn. (Discovery Channel photo)

Spread the word: Capt. Keith Colburn from the Discovery Channel’s popular television series Deadliest Catch will be returning to the Samoset for this year’s forum.  Colburn’s appearances include being a panelist during Thursday’s “Our Changing Oceans” session and taking part in a “Just For Kids” ocean survival class at 8:00 Saturday morning in the Samoset’s pool.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) will be on hand Friday (10 am to 4 pm) and Saturday (9 am to 2 pm) to help guide fishermen through the registration process for the new Maine LEEDS online licensing and landings system.  DMR staff will provide one-on-one assistance in learning how to apply for licenses, submit landings reports, and even order trap tags online.

A number of organizations will be holding their annual meetings at the MFF.  Friday’s schedule includes the Maine Lobstermen’s Association and Maine Coast Community Sector sessions, while the Alewife & Elver Harvesters Of Maine annual meeting and Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association pre-season sit-down will be held on Saturday.

“Face-to-face” sessions include a meet and greet with the Maine Marine Patrol’s current leadership team at noon on Friday followed by an open forum with NOAA Fisheries Leadership in the afternoon.  Forum goers will have the opportunity on Saturday to share their thoughts and questions with members of the Maine Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee.

Other seminars include discussions of aquaculture opportunities, habitat issues, product marketing, and financial planning.

You never go hungry at the forum: Thursday night’s seafood reception will feature a silent auction; Friday evening’s fresh fish dinner will be followed by the annual MFF scholarship benefit auction; and Saturday night, as always, is the banquet and dance.

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Forum attendees always look forward to the weekend’s trade show – a chance to check out new products and do some serious shopping.  They’ll have more opportunities this year than ever: MFF coordinator Chilloa Young reports the largest number of exhibitors ever in the show’s history, spread over two floors.

As one MFF board member put it, “If you were looking to renew your license, buy a new boat, an engine to power it, and enough traps to fill it, you could do it all at this year’s Forum.”

All seminar info was correct as of press time.

For more information and/or updates, please visit the forum web site www.mainefishermensforum.org or contact Chilloa Young at (207) 442-7700 or by e-mail at <Coordinator@mainefishermensforum.org>.

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