ELLSWORTH — The annual Fishermen’s Forum, a three-day event held in Rockport in early March, was canceled for 2021 under the pandemic restrictions, but online seminars and presentations will take its place.
The forum brings together scientists, seafood marketers, fisheries management specialists and more from across the commercial fishing industry, including marketers, processors, representatives from the Department of Marine Resources, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other government agencies. And fishermen, of course, who gather to talk shop, share information, hear new and upcoming legislation affecting their industry, and to swap stories.
The short slate of workshops will address some issues Maine fishermen face, while others will take a more general approach. Also scheduled during the online series are two public hearings on NOAA-proposed lobster–fishing regulations designed to protect the North Atlantic right whale population.
On Feb. 22, a shellfish forum will focus on conservation and restoration of shellfish and mudflats, innovative efforts to grow clam seeds and community-supported aquaculture. The session is scheduled from 4–6 p.m. and will be re-broadcast on WERU on Feb. 26 at 4 p.m.
The public hearings on the proposed right whale regulations span two evenings. The Feb. 23 session will focus on southern Maine and the Feb. 24 session on northern Maine. Registration is required for the online hearings, and comments may be submitted through March 1. Visit https://bit.ly/36fnDgT for information and links.
The online series wraps up on March 6 with the Future of Fishing video challenge at 5:30 p.m. The forum seeks young fishermen to share their hopes and dreams around commercial fishing and older fishermen to pass down their experience and advice. The deadline to submit video clips of under two minutes is Feb. 27, and the snippets will be reviewed and compiled into a virtual presentation. Follow the link on mainefishermensforum.org for more information.
The Maine’s Fishermen’s Forum Facebook page (facebook.com/mainefishermensforum/) provides updates, more information and links to the online events.