Why Work with Togue Brawn and Maine Dayboat Scallops?
I’ve worked in and around Maine’s fishing and seafood industry for over 20 years, starting in 1988 at Harbor Fish Market on Portland’s waterfront. I’ve sold exhibit space at commercial fishing trade shows in Seattle, Boston and Argentina; served as a French translator at the European Seafood Exhibition and the Boston Seafood Show; and sold Bait Cups (invented by my lobsterman father) to lobstermen from New Brunswick to New Jersey. During graduate school, I worked at Fore Street Restaurant and J’s Oyster, which pretty much encompasses the spectrum when it comes to dining styles. I never left J’s Oyster, and have been slinging drinks and serving seafood there for 15 years .
After obtaining a Master of Science in Marine Policy in 2002, I worked on a variety of fisheries research projects, including collecting environmental data on Maine shrimp boats to determine what prompted their seasonal migrations (Gulf of Maine Research Institute) and compiling an inventory on the fisheries infrastructure quickly disappearing from New England’s Ports (Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership)..
In 2007 I began working at the Maine Department of Marine Resources as a Resource Management Coordinator. Although I dealt with a variety of issues, from federal appropriation requests to the development of the first state-owned Groundfish Permit Bank in the nation, my passion lay with Maine’s scallop fishery. The resource had been passively managed for a number of years, governed by regulations designed as much to prevent conflict with the much larger lobster fishery as to benefit the scallop resource itself. The scallop fishery had collapsed, and what little remained was not being allowed to grow. Both the scallop resource and the fishermen who depended on it faced a bleak future. I wanted to change this. The fact that effort needed to be reduced on this depleted resource might seem obvious, but the issue becomes more complicated when you examine what it really means: it means telling a scallop fisherman that’s barely scraping by that in order to make more in the future, he’s going to have to make do with far less for the next few years. Future benefits don’t seem all that important when you’re trying to pay your heating bills and your fishing season’s been cut in half. Those changes come hard. And it’s those real-life consequences that keep so many fisheries in a depleted state. But maintaining the status quo meant Maine’s scallop fishermen would struggle in perpetuity. With a few difficult but short term sacrifices, I believed they could prosper. So, working with Maine’s Scallop Advisory Council (well, working mostly in cooperation and sometimes against their recommendations), I campaigned for dramatic changes. If you want a complete list of all we accomplished, please consult the management tab. Suffice it to say, we made a lot of progress. I don’t think I’ll ever be as proud of anything as I am of what was accomplished during my time at DMR. I was just part of the process, but I’m very proud of the role I played.
Although my work to cut back on scallop fishing effort means I gave a lot of fishermen a reason not to like me, I never gave them a reason not to trust me. I believe in the fishery, I believe in the product, and I believe that these scallops will knock your socks off. So give me a call, try these scallops, and we’ll go from there.