Tag Archives: Commissioner Pat Keliher

An Update from Commissioner Keliher

Dear Industry Member, I’m reaching to share what’s been happening recently at DMR. It’s been a busy summer. CARES Act – Negotiations with NOAA on our CARES Act spend plan have finally been completed.,,  Soon, we will be reaching out to you by mail and email with information on the application process. USDA Trade Relief, Federal Whale Rules, Aquaculture, Marine Patrol, and more.  Like I said, it’s been a busy summer. But, despite the ongoing challenges of Covid-19 we have established remote operations and the work continues. We will keep sending these updates until we can gather in-person. Until then, stay safe. Pat. >click to read< 12:21

Maine: 1 in 3 Lobstermen got small Paycheck Protection Program loans

About $14.9 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans of less than $150,000 have been handed out to 1,358 Maine lobstermen, according to an analysis of newly released U.S. Small Business Administration data. That puts lobstermen ahead of full-service restaurants, real estate offices, beauty salons and home builders, which rounded out the top five Maine industries receiving small PPP loans. Maine’s $1.4 billion-a-year lobster industry – including those who buy, sell and process lobster as well as catch it – have received 1,495 forgivable PPP loans worth at least $24.2 million, so far. Fishermen got the lion’s share of the industry’s total PPP money, but only because they outnumber dealers, retailers and processors. Some dealers got loans of up to $1 million. >click to read< 07:15

Maine’s lobster catch down in 2019 season, but the value stayed high

Maine lobstermen saw the overall catch drop in 2019, but prices remained high and many fishermen earned roughly the same amount they did the year before.,,The report shows the lobster catch was 100,725,000 pounds. That’s down more than 20 million pounds from the previous year, but because prices remained high, the value of the catch to fishermen totaled more than $485 million — nearly the same as the year before. Last year’s long, cold spring weather was blamed for the unusually slow start to the season, affecting water temperatures which, in turn, affect lobster. Video, more >click to read< 13:46

Knox County lobstermen earned $139 million in 2019 -The value of Maine’s commercially harvested seafood in 2019 was the second highest of all time at nearly $674 million, and an increase of more than $26 million from 2018. Knox County continued to be near the top in the state for lobster landings,, more>click to read< 15:14

Maine DMR wants to close the pogy fishery to newcomers for 2 years while it crafts a new FMP/Enforcement plan.

“Closing fisheries is kind of a radical step and a dangerous step because it eliminates diversity,” said Commissioner Pat Keliher. “We’re not saying close it in perpetuity. Close it to see if there is a different approach here that would allow us to get both enforcement and reporting back under control.” Keliher said the 2019 menhaden season was challenging because of “a perfect storm of circumstances.” A sharp reduction in the herring quota spurred huge growth in the menhaden fleet, with 50 new boats rushing to satisfy the $485 million lobster industry’s need for substitute bait. >click to read< 07:23

Meetings this week – Lobster industry braces for right whale changes amid turbulent times

“Right now, we’re all fishing hard, so it’s taking our mind off it some, but it feels like we’ve been waiting and worrying about what whales might do to us for so long now,” said Jake Thompson, a Vinalhaven lobsterman. “We can manage the rest of it, but whales? Everybody’s worried about whales.” Lobstermen will have a chance to weigh in on Maine’s plan to protect the endangered right whale from buoy line entanglements at Maine Department of Marine Resources meetings in Ellsworth, Waldoboro and South Portland this week.  >click to read<  06:51

“Our landings are way off ” Maine landed less than 50 million pounds by end of September

As of the end of September, Maine fishermen had landed less than 50 million pounds of lobster, according to Commissioner Pat Keliher of Maine Department of Marine Resources.  Keliher told the American Lobster Management Board on Monday that some of the year-to-date decline could be because lobsters molted late this year. The bulk of Maine’s lobster fleet catches new shell lobster, or lobsters whose new shells are just starting to firm up after shedding their old ones.  “Our landings are way off. Now that doesn’t mean the sky is falling. That means we certainly had a very big delay in the shed.” >click to read< 15:39

Lobstermen fed up, facing drastic rules to protect whales, say president should help

More than 100 fishermen attended a meeting with Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher June 20 at Camden Hills Regional High School. Lobstermen said they have already changed to weaker, breakable lines and sinking line in an effort to pacify government regulator’s who say the whales can become entangled in the ropes and die. “The end game is to have us not fish,” one lobsterman said at the meeting. >click to read<10:00

Halving the number of vertical lines – Finding consensus on whale protections a tough call in Maine

Federal regulators have given Maine’s lobster industry its marching orders: Find a way to cut the number of surface-to-seabed fishing lines by 50 percent to help prevent the injury or death of even one of the endangered right whales that pass through the Gulf of Maine. The National Marine Fisheries Service is allowing each lobstering state to develop its own plan to protect the whale, whose numbers have fallen to a little more than 400 in recent years. But it will be hard to find one way to make it work in Maine, where the $485 million-a-year fishery is known for its diversity. >click to read<07:29

Regulators moving to ban exotic bait that could threaten lobster fishery

The American Lobster Management Board took a first step toward adopting regional bait safety rules, voting Monday to develop a resolution to prohibit the use of exotic baits that could introduce disease, parasites or invasive species to East Coast waters.,, The board – which is part of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission – agreed to develop a bait safety resolution based on Maine’s rules that all lobstering states would enact by 2020 – a quick but voluntary fix. >click to read<09:36

Dow honored, DMR Excellence Award named for Andy Mays

Two men known well to the Mount Desert Island commercial fishing community were honored at the annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum last weekend at the Samoset Resort here. Specialist Sean Dow of the Maine Marine Patrol accepted the Officer of the Year award Saturday. The DMR Excellence Award, now named for its first recipient, the late Andy Mays of Southwest Harbor, went to Machiasport fisherman Mike Murphy. >click to read< 12:15

Maine Lobstermen Say They Aren’t Harming Threatened Coral Beds

The fragile deep-sea corals that populate the canyon walls and basins in the Gulf of Maine provide habitat for many species of fish as well as baby lobster, crabs and squid. But the New England Fisheries Management Council has concluded that the northeast coral beds are threatened when they are disturbed by commercial fishing operations and is weighing new restrictions that could affect Maine.  The council held a public hearing in Ellsworth Thursday night, where lobstermen spoke in support of a plan that protects coral colonies while still allowing them to haul their traps.  Most of the lobstermen who spoke agree that the coral beds in the Gulf of Maine play an important role in the overall health of the marine ecosystem. And most, such as Cranberry Isles fisherman Jack Merrill, think that Maine lobstermen and the coral beds have been getting along well for decades. Click here to read the story 18:21