Story posted March 10, 2011
“I dragged a net for 30 years, and that wasn’t exactly the best way to perpetuate the species,” admits Willis Spear, a lobster and shrimp fisherman from Yarmouth contributing to the Sustainable Fisheries dinner and discussion Wednesday evening in Daggett Lounge, Thorne Hall.
As part of semester-long Meet What You Eat programming, the dinner brought to the table local fishermen, students, faculty and staff to discuss ways to support local, sustainable fisheries.
“Small nets killed a lot of juvenile fish,” says Spear. “And we might have upset the bottom, the essential habitat for spawning.”
Now that he knows better, he does better, and wants to help others do the same.
“I have some faith in this state and the resource, so I’d like to leave something for the next generation.”
A member of that generation, senior David Wells of Falmouth, Maine, has logged time on a lobster boat and shared his perspective with Spears and the others at his table.
“I have an interest, being from Maine, in preserving the state’s working waterfront,” says Wells. "I think everyone in Maine has a vested interest in having sustainable fisheries.”
Adding to the dialog were Coastal Studies Scholar and MacArthur Award-winning fisherman and scientiest Ted Ames and Adjunct Lecturer in Environmental Studies Anne Hayden, who together teach Troubled Waters: Fishing in the Gulf of Maine.
Russell Libby ‘78, executive director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, was on hand, as were a representative from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and the leadership team from Dining Service.
Fisherman Willis Spear and the others who traded stories and information over a seafood dinner say they’ll work to make sure there’s more to share in the future.
"I’m a big advocate of Maine, its people and its resource, and of course, the more sustainable it is, the better."