Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Commercial Fishing, Portland, Maine

What a great tour today!  We met Ann Backus (Harvard ERC) and Kevin Rousseau (Maine Department of Marine Resources) at the Gulf of Maine Resources Institute.  We split into two groups.  The first group went on the Maine Marine Patrol for a tour of the Portland Harbor.  We met a lobster boat and saw them pulling traps.  We were able to ask questions of the lobstermen.  We were able to see many hazards associated with lobstering, including ergonomic issues, slips, tangling in ropes, and others.  The other group was participating in a tour of the commercial fishing pier.  We visited Marine Liferaft, a company that inspects and services life rafts that are used on commercial fishing vessels.  We went to Brown Trading Co., a retail market that sells fish to the public in their retail store, as well as sells fish through their wholesale/restaurant side of the business.  Then we went to the Fish Exchange, where the fish is brought from the fishing vessels.  The Exchange’s primary function is offloading and auctioning of seafood.  Commercial fishing vessels are offloaded in the early morning.  The Exchange separates the catch by species of fish and market grade. The Exchange conducts auctions to determine the most accurate, up-to-date prices for wholesale fresh seafood.  And finally, we went to Vessel Services.  They produce and sell ice, as well as fuel and supplies for Maine's commercial fishing industry. 

We went back to the Gulf of Maine Resources Institute and had presentations on commercial fishing safety.  We then were able to sit in the DMR Commercial Fishing Safety Council meeting. They had interesting discussions on how to make the commercial fishing industry safer.  Tow issues were the towing height on A-frame on scallop boats, and fishing vessel examination requirements.

Thank you Kevin and Ann, as well as all the others who participated to make this an incredible learning experience for our group!


A video of the lobstermen pulling a trap:
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