What We Do

The Maine Fishermen’s Forum hosts fishermen, gear suppliers, scientists, government and other stakeholders to collaborate on all things fishing: markets, resource status, regulations, the latest in technology, the environment and more.  If it’s of interest to the fishing industry, chances are you’ll find it here.

VISION of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum
We envision a world where:

  • There is a healthy fishing industry engaged in stewardship and self-regulation, utilizing resources that are maintained at sustainable levels with continuous opportunity for independent fishermen to have responsible access to the commercial waterfront, the resources, and fishing grounds;
  • Management decisions are made at as local a level as appropriate and are based upon a broad systems approach;
  • The public and the industry are continuously informed in a constructive manner about the resources, the industry and their issues.

GOALS of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum

  • An educated public and industry
  • Interaction and sharing among industry, science, and managers
  • An industry, the segments of which actively listen to one another and understand one another and each other’s particular issues. (This would include managers and the environmental community.)
  • Enhanced networks and a sense of community.

HISTORY of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum

The first Forum took place in 1976, although the idea had actually hatched some years before in discussions between Bailey Island fisherman Bob Green and University of Maine Economist Jim Wilson.  It was funded by the University of Maine Sea Grant Program as part of a project which was being worked on by Jim Wilson and Robin Alden, (formerly managing editor of Commercial Fisheries News and former Commissioner, Maine Department of Marine Resources).  The event was a success and the Sea Grant Program continued to run it until 1982 when they turned it over to industry.  In 1984 the Maine Fishermen’s Forum was incorporated as a nonprofit organization dedicated to perpetuating the annual Forum as an educational event for Maine fishing communities.

The original organizations currently represented on the Board of Directors are Associated Fisheries of Maine, Commercial Fisheries News, Maine Aquaculture Association, Maine Department of Marine Resources, Maine Lobstermen’s Association, Maine Sea Grant Program.

The At Large organizations currently represented on the Board of Directors are Downeast Lobstermen’s Association, O’Hara Corporation, Hamilton Marine, Downeast Dayboat, Island Fishermen Wives Association, Sustainable Harvest Sector, F/V Wild Irish Rose, F/V Bug Catcha, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. and Portland Fish Exchange.

Maine Fishermen’s Wives Association and Maine Fishermen’s Cooperative Association are no longer on the Board, but both were founding members of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum.

The Forum

Each year the Forum provides three days of free seminars for fishermen covering a wide range of topics such as the health of the lobster resource, commercial fishing safety, upcoming regulatory actions, and much more.  It’s the social event of the year for Maine’s fishing community with lots of informal socialzing and networking opportunities and an organized event each night including the seafood reception, Friday night Fish dinner, and a not to be missed banquet and dance on Saturday night.  Day trippers are welcome but there are a host of lodging options both on and off the resort.  We are a family-focused event with a full suite of children’s events.

The Scholarship Fund

On Friday night, we hold an exciting live auction of a wide variety of items, all generously donated by friends of the Forum. All auction proceeds, including those from our Thursday night silent auction,  are returned to the community as scholarship funds for college-bound children of Maine fishing families.  To date, the auction has raised $421,570 for educational scholarships.  A ongoing bucket raffle also raises more funds for the kids and provides the winner the chance to go home with some great prizes.

 The Trade Show

Over 120 suppliers of commercial fishing equipment and services exhibit at the Forum each year.  Whatever your needs are right now – traps, engines, electronics, insurance or financial services – you’ll find it here and often at Forum-only discounted prices.  Check out this year’s trade show and exhibitors list.