With sharp declines in fish populations and severe federal restrictions on allowable catch, the New England fishing industry is in dire straits. Last month, the Boston Globe reported that the number of federally licensed groundfishing boats in the Northeast had fallen from 1,019 to 344 between 2001 and 2011.


On July 30th Manomet will hold an event in Bar Harbor, Maine, to introduce the Downeast Fisheries Partnership, a regional partnership focused on restoring healthy fisheries and fishing communities in Downeast Maine.


In eastern Maine the fishing industry is crucially important, according to Manomet’s Anne Hayden.


Manomet is working with two other Maine nonprofits, the Penobscot East Resource Center and the Downeast Salmon Federation.


“Fishing is responsible for feeding the families of over 3,000 fishermen and guides, in 50 fishing communities in Hancock and Washington Counties,” said Robin Alden, executive director of the Penobscot East Resource Center. “We need to rebuild the freshwater and marine ecosystems and the towns that rely on them.”


The fishing industry now mostly relies on lobstering because cod, haddock and flounder populations collapsed over 20 years ago, Hayden said. Species such as herring and alewives are also in serious decline. Atlantic salmon are now listed as endangered along with shad and smelt.


The Downeast Fisheries Partnership will work closely with fishermen and fishing communities to boost production and document findings so the approach can be replicated in other regions.


The talk will be from 5:30-7:00pm at the Maine Sea Coast Mission in Bar Harbor, Maine. Speakers will include Manomet President John Hagan, Penobscot East Resource Center Executive Director Robin Alden, Downeast Salmon Federation Executive Director Dwayne Shaw and Dennis Damon, a board member with the Penobscot East Resource Center and Maine Sea Coast Mission.


Join us as we discuss our plans to bring back healthy fisheries in Downeast Maine.


To read more about the event, please visit http://mainefisheries.eventbrite.com


– Marina Duchesneau