The Penobscot Marine Museum will host the Maine Marine Fare Conference at Searsport’s Union Hall, 1 Union Street, Saturday, September 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with experts from across Maine gathered to address a broad variety of fisheries-related topics. The central theme is that Maine is diversifying its fisheries: aquaculture is introducing more marketable species; multi-national companies are applying for land-based aquaculture permits; traditional baitfish stocks are running short and new sources need to be found; the removal of dams means more fish are returning to the Penobscot Nation’s sovereign waters; and women are breaking into the fish catch and processing arenas.

The cost to attend the all-day conference is $60 for members, teachers, and nonprofit employees, $75 for nonmembers and $30 for students. Lunch will be provided. The registration deadline is September 16.

Sessions include:

• Keynote — The Current State of the Gulf of Maine Fisheries, presented by Professor Robert Steneck, School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine.

• Land-based Aquaculture — Midcoast Maine has at least three large-scale recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) companies at various stages of the permitting process. A panel of researchers, commercial fishermen and company representatives will discuss this new frontier for Maine.

Panelists: Steve Eddy, Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (moderator); Barry Costa-Pierce, University of New England, executive director UNE NORTH, Portland; Paul Molyneaux, commercial fisherman and author; Jennifer Fortier, Whole Oceans, outreach and development associate.

• Sea-based Aquaculture — Lobstermen looking to diversify their catch are joining other aquaculturists in the traditional seaweed, shellfish and salmon seafarms and in the expansion to new farm-raised species. The panel of researchers and commercial producers will discuss the state of the sea-based farm.

Panelists: Trey Angera, Springtide Seaweed, others to be announced.

• Bait Fisheries — Lobster bait is in short supply and prices are skyrocketing. The panel of bait suppliers, fishermen, fisheries scientists and policy analysts discuss the state of the baitfish stocks and regulations in the Gulf of Maine.

Panelists: Jennie Bichrest, Purse Line Bait; Melissa Smith, Maine Department of Marine Resources, others to be announced.

• Processing Fish — While men caught the fish, women processed fish at home and in the factory. Regulations and changes in taste have altered fish processing in Maine over the past century and a half. A panel of smokehouse owners and historians will discuss how women fueled the industry and the current state of processing in Maine.

Panelists: Leslie Harlow, Sullivan Harbor Farm; Jill Whitchurch Dixon, historian.

• Dam Removal and Return of the Fish — As dams along the Penobscot River are removed, sea-run fish are returning to their historic spawning grounds, which are part of Penobscot Nation sovereign territory. Access and use have become a source of contention between the Penobscot Nation and the state of Maine. The panel of Penobscot Nation scientists and administrators discuss the state of the Penobscot fisheries.

Panelists: John Banks, Penobscot Nation Director of Natural Resources; Dan McCaw, Penobscot Nation fisheries biologist.

To register or for more information, visit