Many of our meetings are with small groups or one-on-one, but we get excited about events that bring entire industries together to talk change. The way that Manomet moves science forward is by bringing diverse opinions and interests together to discuss complex issues. The Maine Fishermen’s Forum, March 1-3 in Rockport, ME, envisions a healthy fishing industry engaged in stewardship and self-regulation, and we are looking forward to seeing old friends and building new relationships. The Forum brings together host fishermen, gear suppliers, scientists, government, and other stakeholders to collaborate on all things fishing: markets, resource status, regulations, the latest in technology, the environment, and more. Manomet is providing leadership at two sessions during the 2018 event.
Senior Fisheries Scientist Marissa McMahan will be co-hosting a session on Saturday, March 3, about developing a viable green crab fishery in New England, alongside Gabriela Bradt from New Hampshire Sea Grant. Population increases of the invasive European green crab (Carcinas maenas) in New England is cause for concern for commercial fishermen, shellfish farmers, and resource managers because of the economic and ecological threat green crabs pose to commercially important bivalve species, native crustacean species, and ecosystem biodiversity. Recently, mitigation efforts to reduce green crab numbers through trapping programs have led to preliminary investigations into viable fisheries that could serve to control populations, provide an alternative source of income for fishermen, provide new seafood products, and stabilize ecosystem degradation.
The session will discuss current research, explore existing and potential markets, and look at positive and negative implications of a green crab fishery in New England. A diverse panel of scientists, fishermen, managers, and citizens who are passionate about creating green crab fisheries and market opportunities will be participating in order to encourage meaningful and informative discussions to propel this work forward.
Ethel Wilkerson, Senior Program Manager, Sustainable Economies Program, is on the steering committee for the Shellfish Happy Hour and Listening Session and will be moderating a group discussion. This session seeks input from members of the shellfish industry and local commissions, researchers, and managers about the most pressing needs facing Maine’s shellfish industry. This input will be compiled and used to inform research efforts, trainings, and funding opportunities through a broad distribution of seminar results.
The Maine shellfish industry has multiple natural and human-caused stressors that are affecting the health, survivability/reproduction, and water quality, as well as access to shellfish resources. While there are some ongoing research projects addressing these issues, there is a need for additional monitoring as well as scientific, economic, and social research, and funding remains limited. Seminar results will be circulated to attendees, local shellfish commissions, and key stakeholder groups with the intention of matching up local research priorities with the appropriate institutions, graduate/PhD students, and funding opportunities.