I’m posting this from the 37th annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum, THE annual gathering of Maine’s fishing industry. Sea Grant helped start the forum in 1976, and we’ve had a role in the event ever since. This year we are hosting seminars on seaweed, shellfish aquaculture, Trade Adjustment Assistance for lobstermen, ocean wind power, and ocean acidification.
A few weeks ago I promised more information on buying and preparing Maine shrimp. Well, waddya know the season ended last friday. So, for those of you lucky enough to have snagged a final pound (or two, or three...), I'll offer some final words until next year.
I haven't yet been smelt fishing this year, but now that it seems cold enough for the rivers to actually freeze, I'm getting anxious. Rainbow smelt are a native, sea-run species that are good to eat (the fresher the better) and fun to catch--at night, in a shack suspended above a frozen tidal river, warmed by a rusty wood stove and whatever you may have brought to drink. You can find cleaned smelts in fish markets and some grocery stores this time of year, but why not catch your own?
Shrimp season is upon us, and with big cuts in catch limits, winter-hungry souls should waste no time getting their share. That’s what I was attempting to do a few weeks ago, when I stopped by a Portland fish market to pick up a few pounds of Pandalus borealis.
photo courtesy B. Scully
Earlier this month, I joined my Sea Grant colleagues from around the Northeast on a tour of Matunuck Oyster Farm & Bar in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. I had met the oysterman, Perry Raso, last June, and was excited to see his farm. I was also interested to see whether and how his operation might be different from those I’d seen in Maine.
Cherrystones, Mussels, Clams.
The hand-made signs that decorate the roadsides of downeast Maine are clues to the region’s seafood industry, an independent and enterpreneurial collage of individuals and families who dig for clams and worms, collect periwinkles, dredge for scallops, rake seaweed, trap lobsters and crabs, and tend salmon.