Author’s Keynote to Take Stock of ‘Living Sea’ at DMC

Fishermen, historians, marine scientists, authors, students, economists and fisheries managers will gather Saturday, April 26, for “Maine and The Mortal Sea: Taking Stock of the Past, Present and Future of Our Living Sea,” at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center (DMC) in Walpole.

University of New Hampshire historian W. Jeffrey Bolster’s award-winning book “The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail” is the basis for the interdisciplinary symposium. Bolster delved into scientific accounts, fishermen’s tales and newspaper articles to detail how, from the 16th century through the Civil War era, humans harvested and decimated multiple species in the Atlantic.

“At every step of the way the precautionary approach could have made a difference,” writes Bolster. “Modest short-term sacrifice of profit and prosperity would have perpetuated renewable resources for the future …”

Jonathan Yardley, a reviewer for The Washington Post, said “The Mortal Sea” should be viewed as a cautionary story. “By the close of the 18th century…it was becoming plain — at least to those who chose to look clinically at the evidence — that the sea was as mortal as those who fished it,” he wrote.

Following Bolster’s keynote, a forum titled “Where should we sail in the wake of ‘The Mortal Sea?’: Three Views” will be held. Stephen Hornsby, director of UMaine’s Canadian-American Center, will moderate. Panelists are Ted Ames, fisherman, MacArthur Fellow and co-founder of Penobscot East Resource Center; Richard Judd, UMaine McBride Professor of History; and Jim Wilson, UMaine professor of marine sciences and economics.

Dana Morse, marine extension associate with the Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine, will moderate the afternoon forum titled “Coastal Maine and the Living Sea.” Panelists are Spencer Apollonio, former Maine Department of Marine Resources commissioner and the first executive director of the New England Fishery Management Council; Carla Guenther, Penobscot East Resource Center fisheries, science & leadership adviser; Linda Mercer, director of the Bureau of Marine Science at the Maine DMR; and Natalie Springuel, marine extension agent and coordinator of Downeast Fisheries Trail with Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine.

The symposium begins at 9:30 a.m. Maine Coast Book Shop & Cafe will sell copies of “The Mortal Sea,” which Bolster will be available to sign. The event concludes at 3:30 p.m. with a reception and walking tour of the DMC campus, on the shore of the Damariscotta River estuary.

Registration opens March 28; space is limited. To register, contact Linda Healy at 207.581.5220,

UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences and History Department, the Senator George J. Mitchell Center & Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative and Maine Sea Grant are hosts.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777