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Maine Fishermen’s Forum promises more than ever

ROCKPORT, ME – The Maine Fishermen’s Forum (MFF) turns 43 years old this March, promising a full roster of events (see page 44) at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine from Thursday, Mar. 1 through Saturday, Mar. 3.

Regardless of which area of the commercial fishing industry happens to be your focus, few people attend the forum without at least one swing through the annual trade show, which runs Friday morning through Saturday afternoon.

Forum coordinator Chilloa Young reports that a record number of booths have been sold for this year’s event – a mix of everything from diesel engines and lobster traps to boat builders, banks, bait dealers, and equipment suppliers of all kinds.

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.  The Maine Elver Fishermen’s Association and Alewife Harvesters of Maine annual meetings will be held on Saturday, along with the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association’s pre-season sit-down.

Whether you’re staying on-site or commuting in to the forum, look for the First Coast mobile studio, which will be parked outside the Samoset for their “Voices From The Maine Fishermen’s Forum” project.  Inside this refurbished Airstream you’ll find a staff of oral historians looking to record and preserve stories or thoughts about Maine’s fisheries past, present, and future.  All are invited to stop by between 10 am and 10 pm each day.

Past attendees will tell you: the forum is the place to be if you enjoy good grub.  Foodie-friendly events this year include the opening reception on Thursday evening (featuring fresh Maine seafood); Friday night’s fresh fish dinner that leads into the MFF scholarship benefit auction; and Saturday night’s banquet and dance with music once again provided by DJ Chris Grade.  Plus, The Food Guys will return on Saturday morning with a tasty presentation titled “La Cucina Famiglia – My Family’s Kitchen,” exploring Chef Jim LeVerso’s Sicilian family roots.

A wide variety of seminars and discussions at this year’s MFF offer something for everybody in the fishing community, starting with “Shellfish Focus Day” on Thursday.

Thursday’s schedule also includes “Reel In Some Cash” – discussions with three different panels focused on finding opportunities for fishing businesses to land more income.

Lobster-related seminars over the three-day event include an eMOLT program update (Thursday); “Lobsters To Dollars” and “Can Right Whales And Fishing Rope Co-Exist?” discussions (Friday); and Saturday’s “State of the Lobster Fishery” and “Maine Lobster Marketing Annual Report”.

Other scheduled sessions include a Herring Amendment 8 information update; a seminar on electronic monitoring; “Embracing Ecosystem Change” and “Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management”; and discussions on the scallop fishery in the northern Gulf of Maine, scallop aquaculture, and developing a viable green crab fishery in New England.

The forum program will also offer a number of safety-themed items including “Smart Hauling!” (a chance to try out a variety of lifejackets and discuss your likes and dislikes) and USCG water safety training on Saturday,

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: <coordinator@mainefishermensforum.org>

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