The Maine Oyster Trail - Spring Update, 2014
Kayakers visiting Nonesuch Oysters, on the Scarborough River
Photo: Abigail Carroll, Nonesuch Oysters
Maine Sea Grant partners with the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast to host design workshops or “charrettes” that help coastal communities envision how to provide homes for people who work in town – people who earn an average income, like entry level teachers, fire fighters, police, as well as hospital and retail workers. These are people who are often priced out of homes in coastal communities due to the high real estate costs there.
A look back at the first day of winter as we approach the first day of spring.
Recently, about 20 tourism industry leaders from Downeast Maine and Southwest New Brunswick piled into a bus and went on a tour of the region. For nearly four days, we traveled from Saint John New Brunswick to Bucksport Maine, on a world wind tour of the target area of the Two Nation Vacation.
Catchy moniker, isn’t it?
Salarius means "of salt" in Latin. Because salt once constituted a form of currency, Salarius also refers to salt money, an allowance, pay. The ocean pays back, sustains us; it provides food, oxygen, and a livelihood for the people of Maine pas, present, and (hopefully) future. For the authors of this blog, Salarius encompasses all things related to the ocean, the Maine Coast, and the people who live, work, and play here.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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."
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.”
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?
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.