Maine lobstermen fishing in Cobscook Bay last September near the international boundary with Canada. This weekend, industry members from both countries will discuss the challenges facing their respective fisheries. FILE PHOTO

Canadian-U.S. Lobstermen’s Town Meeting set for this weekend

PORTLAND — The University of Maine’s Lobster Institute will host the 15th edition of the Canadian-U.S. Lobstermen’s Town Meeting at the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel on Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Two Nations, Two Fisheries: Shared Challenges, Shared Opportunities.”

Lobstermen, dealers, processors, scientists and policymakers from the Northeast United States and Atlantic Canada will gather together for discussions about the status of the lobster resource and the business of lobstering.

The lobster fishery is currently the most valuable single species in North America. But in both Canada and the United States this iconic fishery is facing a gauntlet of unprecedented challenges as it enters the third decade of the 21st century. Whether it’s shifting lobster distributions in a warming ocean or a dwindling bait supply, stronger gear restrictions to protect endangered whales or unpredictable global markets, harvesters, dealers and resource managers need to be nimble to succeed.

With each of these challenges come new opportunities, according to Richard Wahle, director of the Lobster Institute and a research professor in the University of Maine’s School of Marine Sciences.

The town meeting format will feature experts from industry, government and academia framing the issues with perspectives from both sides of the border, followed by a moderated open discussion. The meeting will run all day Friday, followed by an evening social, and will conclude at noon Saturday.

The Lobstermen’s Town Meeting, first held in 2004, alternates between the United States and Canada each year. The Lobster Institute, a center in UMaine’s College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture, is dedicated to engaging the university’s faculty, students and facilities with stakeholders in the lobster fishery of the United States and Canada.

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