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 has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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