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In the News: August 2014

Beloved Downeast restaurant burns Helen’s Restaurant in Machias was severely damaged by fire in July. The popular eatery is one of only a few restaurants in Machias. It has been a mainstay business since 1950. In 2005, Life magazine named Helen’s blueberry pie as the best in America. The restaurant was originally located in a building on Main Street in Machias. It moved to its present location in 1983. The restaurant’s owners, David and Julie Barker of Machias, said they would rebuild the restaurant and hoped to reopen next spring.

Shrimp season looks grim for next winter Federal regulators may limit the number of fishermen allowed to catch northern shrimp in the Gulf of Maine once the depleted fishery reopens. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission closed the shrimp season for 2014 for the first time in more than 30 years because shrimp populations dipped to their lowest recorded levels. The commission will decide this fall if there will be a 2015 season based on surveys of the shrimp resource. The commission’s northern shrimp section is now also considering restrictions that could limit the number of licenses to fish for shrimp or the number of vessels allowed in the fishery. The restrictions are in development and will likely be the subject of public hearings this year, regulators said. The fishery’s estimated biomass plunged from more than 7,000 metric tons in 2011 to about 500 metric tons in 2013. Fishermen from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts fish for the shrimp. Maine dominates the fishery and caught nearly 5 million pounds of the shrimp in 2012. The catch plummeted to about 560,000 pounds in 2013, the last year the fishery was open.

Topsham food company going strong Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company took home the top prize for the 11th time at the Fancy Food Show in New York City in July. The company received the “Sofi,” which stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation, for its new gluten-free lobster mac and cheese. To make this wheat-free dish, Hancock Gourmet used quinoa pasta with chunks of Maine lobster laced with a mascarpone-cheddar sauce made with rice flour. The topping is a crunchy mix of breadcrumbs made from corn and rice mixed with Pecorino-Romano cheese. The frozen entrée, comprised of two 9-ounce servings, sells for $45.95. Hancock Gourmet Lobster makes dozens of culinary products using lobster meat, from lobster gazpacho to lobster pot pie. It has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, and is now served in Delta Air Lines’ first-class cabins.

New Research Initiatives and Opportunities Maine fishermen are invited to participate in a confidential interview as part of the University of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative Emerging Opportunities research project with anthropologist Christine Beitl and fisheries scientist Yong Chen. The project brings together researchers and stakeholders to collectively identify problems and solutions in Gulf of Maine fisheries. Beitl is interested in working with fishermen to explore the ways in which their knowledge can be used to fill gaps in scientific information not captured by landings data and trawl surveys to gain a more complete picture of social and ecological change in the marine environment. The researchers hope one outcome of this research would be the development of an action plan that integrates the knowledge of fishermen with scientists to promote local stewardship and diversified fisheries in the Gulf of Maine. For more information or to contribute your knowledge to this project, contact Christine Beitl, UMaine Department of Anthropology, 5770 S. Stevens Hall,Orono, ME 04469-5770, 581-1893,

Boothbay Harbor Fest puts the fun in fishin’ Boothbay Harbor will celebrate its second annual Harbor Fest from August 29 to September 7. This 10 day festival is a community collaboration that was created to offer visitors and locals the opportunity to experience a collection of unique and vibrant events that celebrate who were are. There will be a Chili Chowder Challenge, art show, road races, golf tournament and a treasure hunt. One of the highlights of the ten-day celebration is the restaurant week, during which local restaurants showcase local foods, specifically lobster. The other is the Fishin’ For Fashion fashion show, on September 6 at the Rocktide Inn. The show features custom made clothing created with fishing materials. The show is a benefit to provide scholarship funds for two local students interested in a career in fashion or marine studies.


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