First forum in three-years

48th Maine Fishermen’s Forum off to a good start in Rockport

Sat, 03/04/2023 - 10:00am

    ROCKPORT — After a three-year hiatus, the Maine Fishermen’s Forum is alive and well at the Samoset Resort this weekend, March 2, 3 and 4. Capacity crowds filled the venue that attracted participants and attendees from all over Maine and New England, beginning Thursday and continuing through Saturday night.

    “It’s been great,” said Connie Russell, general manager of the Samoset Resort. “There’s a lot of people that are out to see each other who haven’t seen each other for three years, so attendance is strong and it’s nice to be back. Tonight, is their fish dinner and tomorrow is their awards dinner and then we’ll wrap up another year.” 

    Of note was the arrival of Maine Governor Janet Mills, along with Maine Senators Angus King and Susan Collins. All three were elated by the turn-out and energy created by the event.  

    “I’m so glad to see it back and to have a chance to see everybody in person,” said Sen. Collins. “The last time I was with a large group of lobstermen and women was at the scoping hearing in Portland.” 

    The Scoping Meet took place on October 25, 2022. It was held to discuss modifications to the Atlantic large whale take reduction plan.  

    Collins said she would be heading the next morning to Fort Kent for the Can-Am Sled Dog Races. 

    “We’re back after three years and we’re in person,” said Sen. King. “I’m feeling a lot of good positive energy here. It’s great to be able to come here having just worked on lobstering issues in Washington and to see it on the ground, or rather, in the water.”  

    Maine’s Governor Janet Mills said the forum is a, “great tradition, and I’m so glad to be here to talk to fishermen about all sorts of issues and to listen.”

    She added: “And to celebrate the victory we achieved in late December, with great help from Senator King and Senator Collins, in particular, in getting this language in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill (Annual Spending Bill Passes Senate with King-Backed Initiatives to Support Maine Jobs, Bolster National Defense). 

    “This was a huge heavy lift, and we were never sure we were ever going to be able to do it, but with the great help from these people we got it done,” she said “It’s a reprieve, so now we’re going to work on the research and keep listening to the fishermen about other issues and how we can make life better for everyone on the coast.”  

    The Fishermen’s Forum continues through Saturday. It includes activities for children, such as crafts, games, movies and a pizza party.

    Comments from the younger generation about lobsters, included:

    “They’re red and they have claws.” 

    “They’re red and I love them.” 

    “Lobsters can live very long if nobody catches the and I like to eat them.” 

    “They’re crustaceans found in Maine and there’s a bunch of different kinds of them like spiny lobsters, shovelnose lobsters and a few others.” 

    “They’re shellfish and they can live a long time underwater, and their shells shed off.” 

    “Lots of people fish for them and they look really cool.” 

    “They have ten legs and their delicious with butter.” 

    “They’re red and they have pinchers.” 

    “They have claws.” 

    “They have antennas.”  

    “You gotta hold them by their tail or their back because if you hold the by the head they can reach back and snap your fingers.”