10 Things from the Forum That Will Benefit Maine

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Working waterfronts are essential to Maine's economy and those in the industry.

Food service contracts that include Maine seafood provide consistent revenue streams.

10 Things We Learned at the Forum

At this year's Maine Fishermen's Forum, our panel of seafood industry experts shared intriguing facts. Did you know...

1.  Currently 99% of the scallops people consume are from federal waters; by the time these scallops are landed, some can be a week old.

2.  Scallops develop distinct flavors and textures depending upon the merroir, or location from where they grew, similar to how oysters develop. The Maine coast hosts many merriors, and these differentiate Maine’s premium product from others.

3.  Maine Dayboat Scallops ships scallops within 24 hours of being harvested and is developing a lucrative market in New York.
FMI: Maine Dayboat Scallops Asks "What are you buying?"
4.  It is estimated that $1 billion worth of food is being served to 3 million people through institutions in New England.
5.  In Maine, certain campuses within the University System are in the process of negotiating a five-year, $12.5 million a year food service contract for public colleges and universities in the UMaine System.  Farm to Institution New England is partnering with farmers, students, and the University System to find ways to promote more local foods, including local and regional seafood as a part of that contract.

FMI: Farm to Institution New England 2015 Summit, April 7-9, 2015
6. Through the Agriculture in the Classroom program, students K-4 in Maine schools will read a new book about aquaculture this year called, Aquaculture for ME.
FMI: Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Materials Still Available
7.  Last year Norway's cod quota was 550 times Maine's.

8.  Only 13% of the mackerel quota; 17% of the whiting quota and 39% of the dogfish quota were consumed from Gulf of Maine landings last year.

9.  The Gulf of Maine Research Institute launched its Out of the Blue program with restaurant, institution and retail partners to give the consuming public an opportunity to try underutilized, Gulf of Maine-caught fish.
FMI: Gulf of Maine Research Institute's Out of the Blue Program
10.  Efforts are underway to bring a movement called Slow Fish to New England. Slow Fish started in Italy and focuses on eating with the ecosystem and teaching people how to use whole fish products.
FMI: Slow Fish - How to Host a Slow Fish Workshop

What's the Catch?

The Maine Fishermen's Forum provides the setting for fishermen, processors, chefs, policy makers, and regulators to discuss seafood and fishery-related topics. At our session, the Maine Food Strategy and Coastal Enterprises, Inc. shared marketing data and online tools about Maine seafood.

In 2013, results of the Maine Food Strategy Consumer Survey Report suggested that a high percentage of Maine households that buy fish, prefer buying Maine raised or caught products when given a choice.   “Despite consumer interest, price continues to be a significant consideration for households,” Tanya Swain of the Maine Food Strategy said. Of the households in the survey that purchased Maine fish, 70 percent listed “cost” as a reason for not purchasing more Maine fish products.


FMI: Maine Food Strategy 2014 Consumer Survey Report

Hugh Cowperthwaite with Coastal Enterprises demonstrated CEI’s Maine Seafood Study, an online set of tools for integrating Maine seafood into food distribution. Users can search by month to find out which seafood is in season in Maine waters, and sort by county to find resources including retailers who sell Maine seafood, companies transporting seafood and locations of cold storage or freezer space.

“CEI’s online tool catalogs seafood industry resources to help food aggregators connect with Maine’s seafood offerings and initiate conversations about sourcing Maine seafood products,” said CEI Hugh Cowperthwaite.


FMI: Coastal Enterprises Maine Seafood Study Online Guide

One attendee remarked that it would be ideal if agriculture and fisheries could compare notes when it came to resources and lessons learned -

"That's where the Maine Food Strategy comes in," remarked Maine Coast Fishermen Association Executive Director Ben Martens. Ben also serves on the Maine Food Strategy Steering Committee.

"MFS takes a comprehensive look at food issues in Maine including infrastructure, processing and distribution from both the seafood and agriculture perspectives.”

Martens added that given today’s reality of limited resources and budgets, it makes sense to identify partnerships and problem-solve issues together.

Thank You!

We'd like to thank Hugh Cowperthwaite with Coastal Enterprises, Inc., Riley Neugebauer of Farm to Institution New England, Jen Levin with Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Togue Brawn of Maine Dayboat Scallops, Ben Martens with Maine Coast Fishermen's Association and Spencer Montgomery with Slow Fish for co-presenting at the Maine Fishermen's Forum.


We are approaching an exciting time for our Maine growing and harvesting season. Folks will shake off the winter shackles to bring the bounty of Maine to our plates.

Here's to a successful spring season!

Barbi Ives & Tanya Swain
MFS Co-Directors

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