MCCF Monthly
April 2020
Our Work Continues
Since last month, we've settled into our make-shift home offices and learned the ins-and-outs of video conferencing. While we continue to adjust to
this "new normal", we remain hopeful for the future of the industry and Maine's coastal communities. In fact it's even more critical that we help our neighbors along the coast to recover and adopt sustainability and resiliency
for long term survival. Our office is closed to the public, but we are available
to answer any questions you may have regarding our fisheries, collaborative efforts, and COVID-19 and the industry. Together we will continue to stay connected while navigating these uncharted waters.

Earlier this month we rounded up a list of helpful resources for fishermen
and industry-related small businesses that can be found on our blog. This month's edition also provides an update from MCCF's Mike Thalhauser
current alewife efforts and Tom Duym shares how the Eastern Maine
Skippers Program is tackling virtual learning outside the classroom.

We hope that on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, you take a moment to
step outside and take in the sights, sounds, and smells around you. You may also want to check out the Virtual Earth Optimism Summit - a three-day,
FREE digital event featuring films, talks, and workshops filled with success stories of earth optimism from hundreds of speakers!
Alewives don't Social Distance
May Day is around the corner and that means millions of alewives and blueback herring (both species of river herring) will be making their annual migration from the open ocean to our communities before you know it. These important fish spend the majority of their life at sea supporting countless other fisheries that depend on them as prey. Now it’s time for them to spawn. And it’s a lucky time for the Maine communities that are culturally connected to this species that marks spring’s return by turning our streams and brooks black with the backs of these spawning fish.  

Alewives, are one of two species in Maine, along with clams, where towns have the ability to manage fisheries. This is called “co-management” and if done correctly, can benefit from local capacity, and traditional knowledge that goes along with our connection to these fisheries. Because of local management efforts, Maine’s river herring populations are in far better shape than other fisheries further down the coast, as far as the Carolinas.  

For towns to manage their fisheries, they are required to monitor them. This means counting fish and taking scale samples to look at age structures that can tell a lot about the health of each run. With enough data showing a harvestable population, towns can create a commercial fishery and harvest river herring for bait, food, or other important uses. 

MCCF works closely with local communities to assist them in monitoring local fisheries, which includes partnering with other organizations like Maine Coast Heritage Trust in efforts such as restoring the Bagaduce River to its historic levels of fish passage. We also work with local, state, and federal managers and scientists to create policies that leverage this local capacity and knowledge, and turn it into more data and more fish. In the time we live in, river herring now depend on stewardship as much as we depended on them in the past… and as much as an ocean of fish depend on them as a food source.

Starting in early May, MCCF will help coordinate counts at Wight's, Pierce's, and Walker's Pond. We are also proud to share that this year will mark the first commercial harvest in Wight’s Pond in recent memory thanks to our partners and collaborative efforts.   

Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates and ways that you can pitch in, and please check out your local run. It is one of very few opportunities to congregate with thousands of individuals in close proximity. They may not be humans, but they are still part of our communities.
EMSP Students and Teachers
Navigate Learning from Home
Like other schools and educational programs across the country, the Eastern Maine Skippers Program (EMSP) is making adjustments for the final quarter of the school year while providing support to teachers for any program content they may need. Many of the program’s participating schools are holding virtual weekly check-ins with students. With the help of Google Classroom, teachers and students have easy access to learning materials and tutorials relating to “ On the Water” skills and spring boat maintenance. However, due to individual school directives, most teachers are only communicating through email and video conferencing with students, limiting directed activities.

While live Regional Final Presentations have been cancelled this spring, participating students will have the opportunity to provide a virtual update of their year-end projects. Our goal is to have a collection of those presentations that can be shared online with fellow skippers, sponsors, interested industry members and the public, while adhering to each school's policy on public access and individual privacy. As we learn more, we will share details on our website and social media channels.  

Looking ahead, teachers are enthusiastic about virtual meetings scheduled next month to discuss the design and potential modifications to next year's project theme, " Design your own Fishery". EMSP staff and teachers will have opportunities to work closely with staff from the Maine Department of Marine Resources, who is a key supporter of this plan. 
2019 Annual Report Available
MCCF's 2019 Annual Report is available on our website. This year's report features supporter stories, never before seen photos, and how your support has made an impact on the work we are doing together to keep fishing forever in Maine's coastal communities.

"This report to our supporters and our partners provides a snapshot of the work we’ve been doing and a look ahead to what we hope to achieve. The style of fisheries research we conduct, the approach to shared responsibility in natural resource management, and the way we engage citizens of all ages is done collaboratively."

- Paul Anderson, Executive Director
Be inspired. Fish forever .
Every day, Maine fishermen are working in unpredictable elements to bring fresh seafood to the tables of many. Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries continues efforts to secure a sustainable future for fisheries and fishing communities in Eastern Maine and beyond. We are taking collective actions that include the knowledge of fishermen, the findings of scientists and partnerships with regulatory authorities, at all levels, to make sure we can keep fishing alive for today and for tomorrow’s fishery stewards.

We know that these are unprecedented times. If you are able to give, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.

Together we can fish forever .