Friday, March 15, 2013

State News Update

Maine Lobster Fishery Awarded Prestigious International Certification

Governor Paul R. LePage announced Sunday that the iconic Maine lobster fishery has received the prestigious international Marine Stewardship Council’s Sustainable Seafood Certification.
MSC certification recognizes ecologically sound practices, from the harvest through delivery to consumer. Certification provides a competitive advantage in marketing to the growing number of retailers and consumers around the world who place a premium on seafood harvested in an environmentally responsible, sustainable manner.

To achieve MSC certification, fisheries are assessed based on a rigorous set of standards that include the health of the fish stock, marine ecosystem protection, and the effectiveness of fishery management. Within these core areas are 31 performance indicators used by accredited independent, third-party certification bodies to evaluate a fishery applying for certification.

“This global certification program will open new markets worldwide and just as important it will provide the means to trace our certified lobsters, no matter where in the world they end up, back to waters of Maine,” said Governor LePage.

2013 Big E Applications Due March 22

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is inviting Maine businesses and organizations to apply for exhibit space in the State of Maine Building at the 2013 “Big E”. The Big E will be held from September 13 thru September 29.

The Eastern States Exposition (Big E) takes place every September in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Last year’s attendance set a new record, with 1,365,896 fairgoers passing through the Big E gates over seventeen days. The State of Maine building showcases Maine foods and products, as well as features information on Maine’s many recreational and vacation opportunities.

DACF is providing Maine businesses and organizations with the opportunity to rent commercial space in the State of Maine Building. More than 850,000 of the fairgoers visit the state buildings located on the Avenue of States, affording a tremendous opportunity to promote Maine and Maine products.

The Department’s goal at the Big E is to “exhibit, publicize, and advertise Maine’s products and resources in agriculture, industry, fisheries, wildlife and recreation.” By presenting fairgoers with a balance of educational and commercial exhibits, participants exemplify Maine and its unique way of life. Only items which are produced, grown, crafted, manufactured or significantly altered in Maine may be sold in the Maine building.

The deadline for completed applications to be received is Friday, March 22. All applications will be reviewed by a selection committee which recommends to the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry exhibitors best suited to meet the goals of the building. The exhibitors chosen to participate in this years’ event will be notified on Monday, April 1.

For more information about the Big E, please visit Please call (207)287-3494 or e-mail to receive a copy of the complete Application Packet.

Governor's Conference on Education

Governor Paul R. LePage announced the opening of general registration for his upcoming education conference, which will feature presentations on promising practices and innovative reforms from around the country.

The March 22 conference, the Governor’s Conference on Education: Putting Students First, will feature keynote speaker Tony Bennett, the commissioner of education in Florida, along with leaders from other education organizations across the country. Bennett will talk about the innovative work Florida has undertaken to support school improvement, including a school performance grading system. Maine is exploring similar initiatives, though it has not committed to them.

“One of my highest priorities is to improve and expand our children’s educational opportunities,” Governor LePage said. “While many good things are going on in Maine’s schools, we can always learn from the success of other states, too.”

Governor LePage and the Maine Department of Education initially invited key stakeholders, including superintendent, principal, and teacher associations and their members, as well as legislators and policy makers. They have now opened up registration for the conference to the general public. A small number of seats remain available.

The conference will be held Friday, March 22 at Cony High School in Augusta from 8 am to 3 pm. To learn more about the conference and its panelists, and to register to attend, go to the Governor’s Conference on Education website at:    

Maine History Corner

March 15th is the day on which Maine’s statehood is celebrated. This year marks the 193rd birthday of our beautiful state, which was admitted to the union in 1820. Maine’s statehood followed decades of attempts to separate from Massachusetts, and the vote to separate finally succeeded in 1819, followed by the convening of a constitutional convention in Portland. On the national level, however, the Missouri Compromise is what ultimately allowed Maine to be admitted as its own state. William King, our first governor, was instrumental in the statehood movement.  You can read more about the separation from Massachusetts and view documents from the 1816 separation attempt HERE.

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