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.
One of the highlights of Day 3 of the Baird Symposium on Sustainable Seafood was the scup versus tilapia challenge. Tilapia is a freshwater, farm-raised fish that has skyrocketed in popularity in the last decade due to its low cost and ease of production (it is an herbivore and is raised in land-based ponds and tanks).
This week is the 10th annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium in Rhode Island.
Last Saturday at the Orono Farmer’s Market, the Lobster Shack had a crate of live Jonah crabs for $1 apiece. Crabs are rarely sold live in Maine; crabmeat is the dominant product. I was so excited I forgot to ask where they were from.
On friday, I visited the Downeast Salmon Federation for their annual Smelt Fry celebration. Director Dwayne Shaw gave a tour of the salmon hatchery, where staff and volunteers raise salmon fry for stocking in the Pleasant River.
At the March 12 Orono Farmer's Market, I picked up half a pound of fresh scallops from the Lobster Shack truck (as well as some Stonington crab meat and one lobster, but that's another story). Some of the scallops had a peachy-pink hue, which I knew was a natural tint, thanks to Marine Extension Team member Dana Morse.
Within 24 hours of the latest Fathoming feature, about a harmful disease that now threatens Maine’s oyster industry, national news wires sizzled with reports of a study in the February issue of the journal BioScience. A survey of oyster reefs around the world found that 85% of oyster habitat has disappeared.