Coastal Outlook: November 2013

First published in Landings, November, 2013.

The month of November is a time to reflect on all for which we are thankful. Maine’s lobstermen and the businesses that depend on them have more than their share of blessings to count. As the year and the lobster season start to wind down, we are once again grateful that we can continue the traditions of many generations before us, protecting Maine’s amazing marine resources and working in a profession that we love.

In the November issue of Landings, we feature an update on Maine’s certification under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the steps being taken to fully capitalize on this prestigious eco-label. This month, we learn more about efforts of Maine companies to market lobster in Asian markets with the help of Food Export Northeast. Jason Joyce, an MLA board member from Swan’s Island, talks about his experience as part of a group of American food producers who toured France at the invitation of the French Ministry of Agriculture. The invitation was extended in order to provide an exchange of ideas between the Americans and their French counterparts concerning promotion and protection of regionally identified agricultural products.

As the cold season comes on and lobstermen begin to haul in their gear, it’s time to be grateful for tradition kept and a future planned for. Photo courtesy of the Penobscot Marine Museum, from the Atlantic Fisherman collection.

As the cold season comes on and lobstermen begin to haul in their gear, it’s time to be grateful for tradition kept and a future planned for. Photo courtesy of the Penobscot Marine Museum, from the Atlantic Fisherman collection.

Landings also continues to provide you with information on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and what this new health insurance law will mean for you. This month, MLA’s Navigator April Gilmore provides an update on her work helping Maine lobstermen and their families understand the ACA requirements including health insurance options, subsidies and penalties. April’s work with the industry shows the MLA’s commitment to ensuring that Maine lobstermen have the information they need to make an informed decision when it comes to health insurance enrollment. Kevin Lewis of Maine Community Health Options also describes how health insurance coops are bringing a new business model to the health insurance market.

We also include many updates this month on issues facing the lobster industry. The MLA pages are packed with information on policy issues and recent state and regional meetings. Togue Brawn makes a compelling argument for fishermen to advocate for measures to protect the Northern Gulf of Maine scallop industry through the New England Fisheries Management Council process. In addition, the University of Maine provides an update on its plans to develop a commercial offshore wind project off Monhegan Island in concert with several private firms.

The November Landings continues several ongoing features. This month’s “Trap to Plate” features an in-depth discussion on the how futures contracts have been used in the seafood industry. We meet Henry Pope, a young lobsterman learning the trade on Swan’s Island, and we feature Wayne Hamilton, founder and owner of Hamilton Marine, as our remarkable person of the month.

The coast of Maine cuts a wide swath through the Gulf of Maine; it’s unlikely any one publication can do justice to all that is going on in the many small towns and harbors along the coast. We hope that through Landings you can keep up with just some of the intriguing people and activities that take place, no matter the time of year, among the lobstermen and other fishermen of the state. And we welcome YOUR ideas. Drop us an email or letter with suggestions for stories that you would like us to cover!