The front cover of “Catch,” a new seafood cookbook that will benefit the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association. Photo: Mark Rockwood. Photo Stylist: Stacey Stolman

Creamy sea urchin pasta, baby steamer clam chowder and pan seared salmon are just a few of the many Maine seafood recipes featured in “Catch,” a new cookbook published to benefit the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association.

The 198-page cookbook includes 48 food and 10 cocktail recipes, crowdsourced from chefs and foodies throughout the state.

Founded in 2006 by a small group of fishermen in Port Clyde, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association is a Brunswick-based nonprofit that looks to involve local Maine fishermen with legal and environmental aspects of the fishing industry through policy and advocacy.

The project was launched by Orr’s Island resident Monique Coombs, who works with the nonprofit, and her friend Rebecca Spear around the start of COVID-19, although pandemic-related delays ensued. The two later brought on Chris Kast, a Portland-based creative director, to help develop the book.

“The whole idea of this cookbook is to show the diversity of seafood that fishermen in Maine catch, and it’s not just lobster because there are a number of great lobster cookbooks out there, but this is really about the seafood that is in our water,” said Kast. “We also set out, and it was very intentional, we didn’t want this to be a cookbook of precious, over-complicated recipes.”

A Maine crab dip recipe by Adam Smaha of Harpswell featured in the “Catch” cookbook. Photos: Mark Rockwood. Photo Stylist: Stacey Stolman

Recognizable names featured in the cookbook, Kast said, include Chef David Turin of David’s Restaurant in Portland and David’s 388 in South Portland, Editor-in-Chief Christine Burns Rudalevige of “Edible Maine” in Portland and Executive Chef Melissa Bouchard of DiMillo’s on the Water in Portland.


Proceeds from the book will benefit two programs from Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, one being Fishermen Feeding Mainers, which was launched in 2020 and finances local fishermen whose catches are cut and packaged through Maine businesses and distributed to hungry Mainers statewide. In March, The Times Record reported that the program had raised over $500,000 and surpassed 200,000 donated seafood meals.

The second is Fishermen Wellness, a program Coombs runs that works to promote the need for more mental health resources for commercial fishermen, gather data on the subject and remove barriers of access.

“That one, although it was started prior to the pandemic, sort of became more successful if you will during the pandemic as people really recognized that mental health was a need in the world but also in the commercial fishing industry,” said Coombs.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention classifies commercial fishing as one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S.

Combs said that she and Spear are fishermen’s wives. The inspiration for the project, she said, came from a seafood cookbook that was produced in the early 1980s by the Fishermen’s Wives Association also to benefit the fishing industry.

This is Combs’ second cookbook, and in 2008 she also published one to benefit the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.

Fishing is one of the largest industries in the state. There are 18,000 licensed fishermen, seafood dealers, processors, aquaculture operators and charter fishing operators in Maine, according to a report in March from the Portland Press Herald. In 2020, the industry earned $516.7 million.

The cookbook will retail for $40. It can be pre-ordered at and will soon be available in local bookstores. The initial printing will produce 1,500 copies.

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