National Fisherman

The California-based Maybach Foundation has awarded its Culinary Arts Project Sustainable Food Leadership grant to Amanda LaBelle of Rockland, Maine. LaBelle will be the project's protege, while local food advocate Monique Coombs has agreed to be the mentor.

The project will explore opportunities for integrating seafood into Maine's local food systems and planning discussions, as well as look at existing farm viability programming and agriculture business models to see where similar support could benefit Maine's fishing industries. Parallels between fishing and farming are often proclaimed without a nuanced look at the two industries. Coombs and LaBelle will identify similarities and differences in farming and fishing; and highlight opportunities for learning from each sector, as well as opportunities for collaboration.

LaBelle has worked closely with fishermen and industry leaders in lobster, groundfish, and other Maine fisheries to promote the vitality of the state's coastal fishing communities, while also working part time on farms in midcoast Maine. Coombs has been working in local food, specifically seafood, for more than six years.

The Maybach Foundation's mission is to provide extraordinarily talented young adults who are facing adversity the opportunity to mentor with global leaders to make a profound and positive difference in their lives and in the lives of others. The mentorship began in September and will run through May 2014.

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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