ROCKPORT, Maine — Last year, it was Captain Keith Colburn from the popular Discovery Channel television show “Deadliest Catch.”
This year, David Carraro and his first mate, Sandro Maniaci, from the National Geographic Channel program “ Wicked Tuna” are expected to help attract attendees to the 2015 Maine Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport. The three-day event at The Samoset Resort in Rockport is scheduled to start about 8 a.m. Thursday morning and last through Saturday evening.
Colburn’s Q-and-A session at the 2014 forum was one of the highlights of last year’s event, but Carraro and Maniaci are not expected to hold a similar session this year, according to forum organizers. Instead, the Gloucester, Massachusetts-based tuna fishermen will simply attend the forum all day on Saturday and will be available for casual conversation with other attendees.
The annual conference draws hundreds of fishermen and their families, regulators and industry representatives to three days worth of information sessions on a variety of fishing and seafood-related topics. There also is an auction that raises money for scholarships for children of fishermen, and a trade show where vendors set up booths to promote their products and services.
Admission to the seminars and trade show is free of charge.
Annie Tselikis, executive director of the Maine Lobster Dealer’s Association and a member of the forum’s board of directors, said Wednesday that organizers expect one of this year’s highlights to be the Maine Seafood Celebration scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
She said the forum usually has a session about seafood and how to prepare it, but this year, organizers are bumping it up a few notches with appearances by four celebrated chefs, including James Beard Award winner David Pasternack of New York City. Chefs Brian Hill of Camden, Barton Seaver of Freeport and Lynn Archer of Rockland also will be on hand to educate and entertain attendees, Tselikis said.
“I think that’s going to be a big draw,” she said. “This is the first year we’ve really blown it out [into a major session].”
The seminar runs from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday. Admission to the seminar is free, while tickets to the reception that follows from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. cost $25 each.
Topics that will be discussed at other formal sessions planned for this year’s forum include:
— The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative’s new plan for promoting lobster.
— A public hearing on whether there should be a cap on the number of vessels in the Gulf of Maine shrimp fishery.
— The changing climate in the gulf and how fishermen can adapt to those changes.
— What types of bait have been approved by the state for use in the lobster and crab fisheries.
There will be seminars on aquaculture, seaweed, fisheries science and other commercially harvested species such as cod, scallops and herring. There also will be sessions about seafood preparation, marketing and consumer awareness, among other subjects.
Annual meetings for Maine Coast Community Sector groundfish group, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, Maine Elver Fishermen’s Association and Alewife Harvesters of Maine will be held at the forum.
For more information, visit www.mainefishermensforum.org.