The 35th annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum will open Thursday, March 4 at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. Highlights of the three-day event include discussions on lobstering, the herring and groundfish fisheries, collaborating with other types of businesses, and the impacts of other ocean-based activities on those whose income depends on maritime harvests.

The forum will begin Thursday, March 4 with a seafood reception. Tickets may be purchased at the forum desk before the reception or at the door during the event. The annual fish dinner will be held Friday, March 5 prior to the scholarship auction.

All the proceeds from the Friday night auction will be given to students from Maine families in the seafood business. Undergraduates attending a two- or four-year college who are in at least their second year of their program are eligible for a $2,000 scholarship. Donations to the scholarship fund are tax deductible.

The 56th annual meeting of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association will be held Friday, March 5 at 9 a.m. and will be followed throughout the forum by a number of sessions on issues relating to the lobster fishery.

Hamilton Marine and Brooks Trap Mill will sponsor the Maine Lobstermen’s Association membership drive at the fishermen’s forum. Anyone joining as a new member or bringing someone to sign up as a new association member will be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to Hamilton Marine. The first 25 new members to sign up will receive a $25 gift certificate to Brooks Trap Mill.

As in past years, health providers from the University of Southern Maine School of Nursing will host a health clinic. The university volunteers will conduct free blood pressure checks, glucose screening, cholesterol screening, and skin cancer screening and will provide health information to attendees. New this year will be H1N1 and regular seasonal flu shots. Health clinic hours will be Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

As always, there will be a variety of fishery related presentations and seminars, as well as an extensive trade show. The Decompression Chamber will return to offer an informal opportunity for visits among friends, impromptu jam sessions, Maine videos, historical presentations and other activities.

For more information about the 35th annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum, visit the Web site at mainefishermensforum.org or contact event coordinator Chilloa Young at 442-7700.

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