This time of year, many eyes are on Maine’s rivers, lakes, and harbors, watching for the spring phenomenon known as ice-out. On rivers in particular, ice-out brings the risk of flooding.
Researchers (including Sea Grant extension associate Dana Morse) are studying isolated oyster grounds in the Sheepscot River that may date back to the last ice age. Meanwhile, as the aquaculture industry has grown and coastal water temperatures have warmed, cultured oysters have begun to multiply on their own elsewhere, particularly in the brackish waters of the Damariscotta River.
“There isn’t anything more special than Maine seafood,” said fisherman Kristan Porter, kicking off a culinary afternoon at the 2015 Maine Fishermen’s Forum.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Forum, seafood industry partners invited four established chefs to share their cooking knowledge of Maine seafood.
Forty years ago, fish harvested by Maine fishermen stayed local, only traveling perhaps as far as Boston or New York. The Gulf of Maine fishery was dominated by fleets of foreign fishing vessels, factories at sea that fished harder than anyone before. Even at Gorton's in Gloucester, Massachusetts, 40% of the cod came from Polish boats.
Over the holidays this year, my family and I decided it was time for a trip beyond Downeast Maine. We crossed the border at Calais and drove on to Black’s Harbor, New Brunswick (Canada) to catch the ferry to Grand Manan, an island at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. I’d been to Grand Manan on a few occasions, once for a wedding ceremony overlooking the sea and its fishing boats. On Grand Manan, life is still timed by the sea.