The Fishermen’s Forum, held annually in late February/ early March at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine is always one of my favorite times of year. OK, I know, that may sound a bit odd, but just hear me out… The event brings together fishermen, academics, graduate students, nonprofit organizations, and fisheries managers from around the state and New England. The seminars cover a wide range of topics from annual meetings of various harvester groups like the Maine Lobsterman’s Association to updates on scallop and lobster management at the state level, through the Department of Marine Resources (DMR), to high school students presenting about their own research-- there’s something for everyone! The event is always well attended with bustling exhibit halls and packed seminar rooms. Not to mention it's a great distraction from the long winter we've been having this year!
The Hurricane Island crew was well represented and spent most of the two days talking with people interested in learning more about our organization and the summer programs on the island.
One of my favorite presentations was from the Eastern Maine Skippers Program, which organized a seminar updating the community on students' progress made to date and sharing the different flounder traps designed by each school. The audience had the opportunity to provide feedback on which flounder trap they believed would be the most effective. In the spring, the schools will test how well the traps catch flounder, and work to combine their ideas, improve their design, and make a recommendation to the DMR.
I also had the opportunity to present as part of a panel on state scallop management and closed areas. The session was called “Thinking Outside the Box: Spatial Closures in the Scallop Fishery.” I summarized methods used in a collaborative research project we are doing in partnership with a number of organizations and Midcoast scallop industry members. Look for a blog post on that coming soon...