April 2024


Happy Earth Day!

Please join me in celebrating the incredible abundance and natural wealth of our coastal region, our seafood, our gardens, our farms. We are ever grateful for all the energy and can-do attitude of the seasonal winter to spring switchover. The wharf has been a flurry of activity over the past month, with building and dock repair crews, students, visiting scientists and volunteers everywhere. We're making progress! Even though the weather was cold, windy and miserable, the atmosphere on Atlantic Avenue is one of excitement with a fresh buzz throughout our building as we conduct our scallop science annual spat count, improve and expand our physical space, and make room for exciting new programs and engaging exhibits for visitors of all ages. Please take a moment to see what we've all been up to and thank you for your sharing your stories and questions with me, and everyone here at MCCF. - Alexa Dayton

Science Spotlight: Baby Scallops

It's that time again! Each year in early spring, fishermen help us retrieve as many as 20-long lines that have been submerged offshore over winter, ready to catch baby scallop settlers that float by. Every spring, we shake these lines down to see how many scallops settled in the mesh bags that dangle on the lines, providing a year over year way to compare how scallop populations are doing over time, i.e. an index.

Photo to the left: Islesboro Central School students help MCCF's Carla Guenther count juvenile scallops.

Students from Islesboro, Hurricane Island Center for Science Leadership and Colby College contributed their efforts over the recent week-long events, and learned hands-on alongside world-class scientists how to identify, collect and count baby scallops, also known as spat. Co-PI's including Caitlin Cleaner and Phoebe Joekeliek braved the elements, supported student cohorts with hot cocoa and encouragement which sparked enthusiasm all around. Sally McCloskey, one of our dedicated MCCF Board member volunteers also helped with this spat collection process in Stonington and in Milbridge in the pouring rains and high winds, stalling bucket in her oil skins like a seasoned foul weather pro. She summed up her experience, "fishermen come to visit as we work, really interested in what we’re doing, asking questions, offering to help. As I talk, it comes home to me that we are a community and that in fact it takes a village or two. I am grateful to be part of it." Co-management of our resources is the cornerstone of our vitality and sharing moments like these keep us all connected.

Read the full Portland Press Herald article

Maine Policy Review: "Our Shared Ocean"

Congratulations and thank you to the broad range of contributing authors to the most recent issue of Maine Policy Review, "Our Shared Ocean". The range of pieces demonstrates the commitment and depth of our State's science and policy community and the volume of contributions provides a truly holistic look at our coastal approach to resilience. The evidence of co-management is infused by a deep-rooted philosophy based on Elinor Ostrom's principals. Here's an excerpt of Robin Alden's essay, Lessons for the Future from 50 Years of Maine Fisheries: "The goal of fisheries management is aspirational: to conduct an important industry within the bounds of a natural system forever." Click here for full story.

Discovery Wharf Museum is Expanding!

Exciting News! Discovery Wharf, our marine museum is expanding. Construction is underway, as we prepare to open an additional 1097 sq ft. in time for summer. We have created a new door opening to connect the two previously isolated spaces, and at last solved our own riddle of 'you can't get there from here'.

The new area will house expanded Discovery Wharf interactive touch exhibits for all ages, novelty merchandise and historical maritime story-telling exhibit areas. We hope you'll make plans to visit Discovery Wharf and see Captain Leroy and Boatswain Mike this season. Our reservation system will open on our website soon.

Eastern Maine Skippers Rocked the Fishermen's Forum

MCCF's Eastern Maine Skippers, from several high schools, attended the Maine Fishermen's Forum in March. They brought energy to the forum and it was great to see them soaking it all in and engaging with the older generations. The students presented their school projects to industry mentors, DMR managers & scientists, academics, NGOs, their parents - as well as their peers. A+ to the students for their innovation and common sense applied in problem-solving their "real-world" issue. A big shout out to everyone who has helped the Skippers Program throughout its 12-year run.

Coming Events

Community members are invited to view the recently released Deer Isle-Stonington Causeway Project update and 'on-demand meeting' for individual viewing offered by the Department of Transportation: click here to access website. This website outlines the background, options, and offers opportunity for comment to the general public.

Do you need some help navigating this on-demand website? Join us today at the Deer Isle Town Office for a Deer Isle Causeway Public Watch Meeting, Tuesday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. for an overview and discussion. Please be sure to submit your comments to DOT via this official public website. We will keep you posted on the summer meeting plans to review these comments and Maine DOT responses, in-person mid-July-ish.

TALK of the TOWNS at the Opera House on Wednesday, April 24 at 6:00 p.m. Join our Board Chair and aquaculturist Marsden Brewer, and MCCF's Collaborative Management Specialist Mike Thalhauser on as they add to the conversation on Small Scale Aquaculture & Futures for Our Marine Economies. Read the full press release here.

Our Wish List

Are you able to donate Maine maritime heritage items, selectively representative fishing gear from different eras, books or prints, maps, historical news or other gems worth preserving and sharing? Let's chat.

We're looking for volunteers to help staff our table each Friday (9:30am to 12 noon) at the weekly Stonington Farmer's Market. An introduction to our work and Discovery Wharf Museum will be provided. Please let us know if you can help any Friday from May 24th through October 4th. THANK YOU!

Soon the alewives will be running. Mike Thalhauser is looking for volunteers to help count them. If you have never seen this amazing sight, come make a memory.

If you would like to assist with any of these volunteer opportunities, please send us an email or give us a call 207.367.2708.


Be inspired. Fish forever.

Did you know that we changed our fiscal year in 2023? This means that our year-end now closes on June 30th. If you normally give at the end of the calendar year, please consider moving that timeframe up to assist us with meeting our year-end goals? If you have never given, please consider doing so. Every single dollar helps us complete our work! Thank you for your consideration. Together we will be able to fish forever.

Your generosity helps Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries with our efforts to secure a sustainable future for fisheries and fishing communities in Eastern Maine. Tax-friendly options include gifts of stock, IRA QCDs and DAFs.

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