Lewis joins advocacy group
BAR HARBOR — The former director of Maine’s Aquaculture Division has joined Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Foundation, a statewide group raising concerns about large–scale aquaculture expansion and its possible impact on fisheries.
“I am joining this effort because too many aquaculture leases are being approved without the ability to adequately oversee and monitor those leases,” said Jon Lewis, who worked with the Maine Department of Marine Resources Aquaculture Program for 23 years as a scientist and diver and ultimately as the director of the Division of Aquaculture. “Lease applications are growing quickly in both number and acreage requested, which is leading to increased conflict along the Maine coastline. We have a gold rush mentality with aquaculture.”
Lewis said the state needs a plan for managing aquaculture and that there should be discussions concerning the size of leases and the transferability of leases.
“We have heard these same concerns expressed by lobstermen and communities up and down the coast of Maine,” said Crystal Canney, who is executive director of Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage and CEO of the public relations firm The Knight Canney Group. “We are now hearing from small aquaculturists who believe large, industrialized leases could infringe on the small businesses they own and operate.”
As director of the Aquaculture Division, Lewis’s responsibilities included environmental evaluations of proposed aquaculture lease sites, testifying at public hearings and monitoring shellfish, finfish and sea vegetable farms throughout the state.
Prior to joining the DMR, he worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for 15 years as a wildlife research biologist.
Forum goes online
BAR HARBOR—The Fishermen’s Forum has canceled its in-person event this year and will instead host a series of virtual events over the next six months.
The activities that are in the planning phase range from virtual events to radio shows and are designed to occur during the 2021 winter and spring.
The focus of these virtual events will encompass subjects such as Shellfish Day, Lobster Science, U.S. Coast Guard Safety Seminar, Young Fishermen Event and many others. As the schedule is finalized, an updated listing of events will be available on the Forum Facebook Page and mainefishermensforum.org as well as through media releases and email notifications.
BAR HARBOR— The Maine Fishermen’s Forum has announced that its board of directors will award $40,00 in scholarships this year, despite having to cancel the live event normally held in March. Applications will be accepted until March 3, for up to 26 Scholarship Book Awards. Scholarships will be a minimum of $1,500 each and will be payable to the winning students.
Candidates must complete the application, be in at least their second year of college or a vocational school and will need to submit a transcript along with the application. Scholarship applications are available at mainefishermensforum.org or by sending a SASE to Maine Fishermen’s Forum, PO Box 288, Bath, ME 04530. Applications can also be requested by calling (207) 442-7700. Prior winners are not eligible.
For questions, contact Chilloa Young by email at [email protected] or call (207) 442-7700.
The scholarship drawing will be held on Friday, March 5. Winners will be announced on the forum’s website and on the forum’s Facebook page.