Catherine Schmitt's blog

Squid Fingers

While out on the Damariscotta River this morning in search of wild oysters at low tide (more on that story later), we came across this giant, gelatinous mass on the shore of Goose Ledge. None of us, not even the one who is on the water every day, had ever seen anything like it. The fingery protrusions were all connected, the whole mass jiggled when prodded. Was it alive? Did it sting? 

On Jellyfish

News media and Sea Grant’s coastal correspondents (a.k.a. the Marine Extension Team) have been reporting jellyfish sightings along the coast, from Casco Bay to Penobscot Bay to Frenchman Bay.

I saw them, too—a parade of moon jellies moving up the Damariscotta River.
The tide was going out and the jellies were coming in, one after another pulsating toward head of tide.

Counting smolts in May: a story of Atlantic salmon survival.

Piscataquis River near Abbott, MaineMay 16, 2014, Endangered Species Day.

Maine and The Mortal Sea

Multiple departments from the University of Maine came together on Saturday to discuss Jeffrey Bolster’s book, The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail. Hosted by the History Department, Sustainability Solutions Initiative at the Senator George J.

Our Sacred Seasons

The Salarius blog has been running for nearly three years. In that time, I’ve covered the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico; the Boston Seafood Show; restaurants and festivals that serve Maine seafood; Sea Grant-funded research on seafood; lobster, oysters, shrimp, scallops, alewives, smelt, sardines, crab, eel, salmon, and sea vegetables; and the ever-elusive notion of “sustainable seafood.”

Maine Seafood Guide Updates

As saltwater fishing season gets underway, anglers may want to check on any changes to the rules about size and catch limits, and gear restrictions.

The National Marine Fisheries Service made no changes to Gulf of Maine species in their latest update on the status of federally-managed fisheries

Smelt: It's What's for Breakfast

Today's post comes from marine extension associate Chris Bartlett. Chris is based in Eastport, and for the past few years he helped monitor populations of rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), which is considered a species of special concern. As a result, Chris has learned a lot about these little fish. --CS

The Arrival of the Alewives

What does "sustainable" mean to you?

Just as I anticipated, sustainability messaging was ubiquitous on the trade show floor at the 2013 Boston Seafood Show. Repeated exposure to the word felt less like an illusion and more like dilution.

Top Ten Reasons Why Seafood Fraud Hurts Us All

10. We can't trust our food. An estimated 10% of seafood is not the species it is sold or marketed as, and certain species are more likely to be false than others.

9. People are paying for more than they get - maybe 40% of the time.

8. Faking it is easy. Most of the seafood most of us buy and eat is in skinless, boneless, sometimes coated or breaded or otherwise concealed pieces, rather than whole. Processed fish is harder to evaluate "organoleptically." 

Seafood Choices and the Sustainability Illusion

As I prepare to head south to the Boston Seafood Show, where I'll be reporting for The Working Waterfront, I’ve been catching up on the latest national media stories on “sustainable seafood.” I don’t want to take an incredible bite only to find out that the fish I just sampled is not caught or raised “sustainably.”

Real "Maine scallops"

Feeling the scallop season get a way from me, I’ve been in pursuit of fresh Placopectin magellenicus harvested from Maine waters by dayboat draggers and divers. But fresh, local seafood can be hard to find where I live in Bangor, within reach of the tide but 30+ miles from saltwater. Since I had a meeting Tuesday in South Portland, I knew I’d have the opportunity. But where to go? 

Scallops, Shrimp, Good News, Bad News

Scallop season began on Sunday December 2 and runs through March 20. With new management measures in place, including closed areas, limited access to other areas, and reduced fishing days, the harvest may be lower this year and prices may be higher. Neither factor should be a deterrent to seeking out Maine scallops this season; it just means they are extra special.

Part Two of the American Lobster in a Changing Ecosystem

The symposium attracted an impressive media response, starting with the Associated Press (first here and then a story from the conference about guessing the age of a lobster).

The American Lobster in a Changing Ecosystem

Today was the first full day of the American Lobster in a Changing Ecosystem: A US-Canada Science Symposium. More than 100 of the region’s top lobster scientists have gathered in Portland, Maine, to share their research.

Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher in his welcome remarks reminded the scientists that they also are here to help managers and fishermen to define “the new normal.”

The new normal = lots of lobsters.

"Copper River Salmon"

For sparkle, just add oysters.

After a hectic summer of coast-hopping, I finally found myself in Portland, where I’ve been wanting to check out the new Eventide Oyster Co. So I caught up with some good friends at the small, bright space on Middle Street next to Hugo’s Restaurant, of the same owners.

Thoughts on Quality, and the Great Maine Lobster Story of 2012

The Maine Lobster Festival is underway in Rockland, and there will be plenty of lobsters to go around—at an affordable price, too, given the recent surge in supply.


Depending on who you are, the abundance of Maine lobster has been

The Downeast Fisheries Trail

Yesterday I joined my colleague Natalie Springuel and our partners in eastern Maine to officially launch the Downeast Fisheries Trail. The 45 sites on the trail, in Hancock and Washington counties, highlight the region's maritime heritage.

Alewife season

Zeb Woodbury and friend fish alewives out of Seven Mile Stream

There are fish in these rivers.

In the Kennebec, the Penobscot, the rivers in between and either side, the alewives are running.

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