Tag Archives: Department of Marine Resources

Menhaden: Commercial Fishery Will Close Sunday, August 28, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

Notice to Commercial Menhaden License holders: Maine Department of Marine Resources is notifying all commercial menhaden harvesters in advance that the commercial menhaden fishery will close, effective Sunday, August 28, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.  Please have all trip reports for the harvest week of Monday, August 22 through Friday, August 26, 2022 submitted prior to Sunday, August 28, 2022 at 11:59 p.m, in accordance with Chapter 41.20. >click to read< 19:10

A key Maine lobster bait is booming. Soon fishermen may be able to catch more.

The Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission, an interstate regulatory body that oversees several species along the eastern seaboard, is considering new provisions that could increase catch quotas in Maine. Menhaden, commonly known as pogies, have become a top lobster bait as herring populations have declined. The proposal, which was released this week, includes several different allocation options and variations that would open up more fishing in Maine. Minimum allocations could be done on a tiered scale based on harvests going back to 2009. The commission could also shift the time frame that allocations are based upon to more recent years, which would give Maine a boost because of its increased landings. >click to read< 09:50

Maine: Updates to Lobster Industry from Commissioner Keliher

As has been the case over the past several years, there is no shortage of issues facing the lobster industry. I am keenly aware what all the uncertainty around right whales does to both the people and businesses in this industry, and I am afraid that an end to that uncertainty does not seem to be in sight. However, major changes could be identified soon, depending on what a federal judge decides this fall. In addition to right whales, there have been continued discussions at ASMFC about whether there are further management changes needed to protect the resiliency of the lobster stock. Finally, the market challenges and resulting price impacts this summer have generated a lot of calls and questions to my office about what DMR can do to improve this situation. I wanted to provide updates on all these topics, to keep you as informed as possible as these situations evolve. >click to read< 13:57

Notice of Lease Application Termination – American Aquafarms

The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has terminated the applications of American Aquafarms after the company failed to fulfill its legal obligation to demonstrate an available source of fish to be cultivated at its proposed salmon farms in Frenchman Bay. The source of Atlantic salmon proposed by American Aquafarms, AquaBounty of Newfoundland, Canada, did not meet the criteria for a “Qualified Source/Hatchery” as defined in DMR regulations (Chapter 24). Additionally, American Aquafarms failed to provide documentation demonstrating that the proposed source of fish/eggs could meet genetic requirements in law (§6071(4)). No further action will be taken on these applications. >link< 16:24

FRENCHMAN BAY UNITED HAILS REJECTION OF AMERICAN AQUAFARMS APPLICATION – The coalition opposing the proposed industrial salmon farm says the fight will continue. “Commissioner Keliher made the right decision,” said Frenchman Bay United board president Henry Sharpe. “We hope that the company has finally gotten the message that they are not welcome here and that it’s time to pull the plug on this destructive and ill-conceived project once and for all.”  >click to read<

Maine lawmakers approve bill to limit number of pogie fishing licenses

Under a bill passed by the Maine Legislature on Wednesday, the state’s pogie fishery will be closed to all fishermen in 2023 except current license holders who meet certain criteria. To be eligible, fishermen must have held a license to fish for pogies in at least two of three years from 2019-21 and have landed 25,000 pounds in at least one of those years. Those who have the required license history but have not yet met the landings requirement have until the end of 2022 to harvest 25,000 pounds. >click to read< 15:43

Maine lobster industry fights lawsuit that aims to shut down fishery

While Maine’s lobster industry has been fighting an offensive legal battle against impending rules to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, it also is playing defense in a case brought by environmentalists that seeks to shut down the lobster fishery entirely. Lobster industry groups are intervening in a case brought in Washington, D.C.’s U.S. District Court by the Center for Biological Diversity and other plaintiffs that argues the new federal restrictions aren’t adequate, and that the fishery’s continued operation poses an existential threat to the whales. >click to read< 19:15

Federal windfall won’t put a stop to state lobster industry relief bills

Although Maine’s lobster industry is set to receive $17 million in federal funding as part of the 2022 omnibus spending package, it is unlikely to affect two bills going through the Legislature that seek more than $30 million in state funds for the industry. The spending bill will bring more than $200 million in funding for projects across the state. For the lobster industry, it includes $14 million to help lobstermen comply with new federal regulations intended to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, set to take effect May 1, along with $760,000 for the Department of Marine Resources to conduct outreach and education among lobstermen, and $2.3 million for right whale research, monitoring and conservation. >click to read< 17:28

Maine: Lobstering will get more expensive for fishermen

The cost of lobstering in Maine will get a little more expensive this year with the price of mandated identification tags for traps increasing by 50 percent. The Department of Marine Resources has raised the cost from 50 cents to 75 cents per tag for the 2022 season. While it’s the first time in more than a decade that the price has gone up, it’s the latest rising cost for lobstermen, who also face higher fuel and bait prices. “It’s just one more thing,” said David Horner, a Southwest Harbor lobsterman. >click to read< 09:32

Supply chain issues? Maine lobstermen can’t find gear to comply with new federal regulations

David Tarr, a Brooklin lobsterman, has called around to supply stores and they’re not sure when the gear is supposed to come in, possibly in a couple months. “We can’t get the things that will meet their criteria,” he said. The Maine Department of Marine Resources has received numerous reports that there isn’t a sufficient supply of approved ropes or weak links, a spokesperson said. The department plans to share the reports with federal regulators so they’re aware of the potential challenges with fishery-wide compliance. >click to read< 07:55

Maine: Whale rules, pending lawsuits focus of gloomy Lobster Advisory Council meeting

A complicated and potentially grim future is predicted for the commercial lobster industry, with environmental groups, gear changes, the closure of offshore waters to lobster fishing and judicial rulings painting a “doom and gloom” picture, in the words of Department of Marine Resources  Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “I think there’s going to be a lot of moving pieces,” Some of those pieces could spell the end of the commercial lobster fishery in Maine, DMR Deputy Commissioner Meredith Mendelson said, as she ran through the current lawsuits aimed at preserving the North Atlantic right whale. If any or all prevail, the lobster fishery will bear the brunt of the results. >click to read< 08:12

Many Questions Unanswered Following DEP Statement on Fish Die Off at Black Island

A Maine Department of Environmental Protection statement on the massive of die-off of nearly 116,000 salmon at pen sites off Black Island in mid-August raises more questions than it answers, according to groups concerned about industrial-scale aquaculture in Maine waters. The die-offs were discovered at the Cooke aquaculture pen sites on August 16 and weren’t reported to the DEP for almost two weeks. In a news release today, the DEP said that it had found no permit violations associated with death of the fish. Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Executive Director Crystal Canney said, “So the obvious question is – what killed the fish? You won’t find answers in the statement issued today, and we are still waiting to hear from the Department of Marine Resources, the primary regulating agency on net pen salmon. DMR was very quick to say that it was a dissolved oxygen issue, but the DEP has already ruled that out in its statement today.” >click to read< 16:48

Endeavor to join DMR’s patrol fleet

Endeavor made its first trip on Tuesday, July 13 on its way to becoming the newest addition to the fleet of the Department of Marine Resources in Boothbay Harbor. Near completion by Farrin’s Boat Shop in Walpole, the patrol boat was carried to its launch site at Gamage Shipyard in South Bristol. “We are waiting for a replacement computer for the engine,” said Bruce Farrin Jr. >click to read< 08:52

Lobstermen Protest Offshore Wind Farm in the Gulf of Maine

An ambitious wind power project in the Gulf of Maine could, years from now, make these family lobster dinners less frequent. Local lobstermen believe offshore wind will significantly disrupt the ecosystem and displace fishermen. Supporters say a project will provide clean energy for the region.,,  “When you think of Maine, lobster’s the first thing that comes to mind,” Dustin Delano, a fourth-generation lobsterman and the Vice President of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, told me a story about fishermen from the United Kingdom coming to Maine a few years ago to discuss the windmill arrays which had been recently installed where they fish. One Mainer asked, “What would you do if you were us right now?” An English fisherman leaned over the table and said, “Fight it with everything you have, because you have everything to lose and absolutely nothing to gain.” >click to read< 17:04

Industrial salmon farm proposal for Frenchman Bay draws local fire

“So many people around the bay have come together to try to fight this,” said Ted O’Meara,,,  American Aquafarms, a Norwegian company, has filed two draft lease applications,,,  Among the potential risks with the project, O’Meara said, was the prospect of pollution from “millions of gallons of effluent,” fish escapes, fish die-offs, fish disease that could impact other species, loss of commercial fishing grounds and “threats” to other small-scale aquaculture operations already taking place in the bay. >click to read< 11:10

Mississippi DMR hearing public comments on spillway relief funding

The 2019 openings of the Bonnet Carre Spillway are still being felt here on the Gulf Coast a year later. NOAA has allocated about $88 million in relief funding due to the spillway impacts, and a little more than $21 million is coming to Mississippi. “Everything from the fin fish, to the crab, to the oysters, to the shrimp. Any type fish in the Gulf, it covers that,” said Joe Spraggins, “We’re not going to have that without our commercial fishermen. We’ve got to have them,” said Spraggins. “It’s a matter of whether you stay in business or not, and if these companies leave, if they ever leave us, we’ll never get them back, If these oyster fishermen shrimpers, crab fishermen, we’ll never get them back.” Video, >click to read< 08:56

Lobster stock levels remain high in Gulf of Maine, but there is cause for concern

The “now” looks solid for local commercial lobster fishery, based on findings reported in the 2020 Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Lobster Benchmark Stock Assessment, which reported the stock at “record high abundance levels.” The good news continued,, The news for southern New England, including southern Maine, remained poor, with a depleted fishery and no signs of resurgence. The research was conducted by several organizations, including the Department of Marine Resources, Gulf of Maine Research Institute and the University of Maine’s Sea Grant program and Lobster Institute. The assessment, released in October, was based on surveys conducted from 2016 through 2018. However, once the research turns to lobster settlements the future does not look as bright. >click to read< 18:29

Zone C lobster council OK’s trawl limit plan for new whale protection rules

Zone C Lobster Management Council held a special meeting on the internet in late September to get an update on the situation from Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher and consider a zone-specific plan for gear modifications that will likely be required by NMFS. On Aug. 19, U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg gave NMFS nine months to craft new rules to protect endangered right whales from entanglement,,, DMR asked the state’s seven Lobster Zone Management Councils to come up with zone-specific proposals,,, Last week, the Zone C council met to consider the recommendations of its working group. >click to read< 16:07

Max Strahan driven by “duty” to have stricter measures adopted

To many federal and state fisheries managers, and to most people in the lobster industry, the name Max Strahan conjures images of a fanatic determined to put an end to lobster fishing in the name of saving endangered right whales from extinction. (he is), “I’m a scientist and a very ethical and moral person,” (he’s not) Strahan said, claiming that, of 330 million U.S. citizens, he was the only one to file individual suits under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).,, Strahan said he grew up on a farm “somewhere around the area” of New Hampshire and, as a young man, was interested in outdoor activities such as hiking and rock climbing. That led to his interest in wildlife preservation and eventually his efforts to save the endangered spotted owl in the forests of California and Oregon. Strahan filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the birds under the ESA and ultimately the petition was accepted, the owls listed and much of the Pacific timber industry put out of business. >click to read< 09:39

CARES Act: Lobstermen may get up to $50 million in pandemic relief funds

Whatever the relationship between China and the United States  particularly the lobster industry — may be, Maine lobstermen are certainly living in interesting times. Last week, a scant two months before the upcoming presidential election, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it  would soon release some $530 million appropriated by Congress last March under the CARES Act to assist the U.S. seafood industry and fishermen damaged by retaliatory tariffs. Those tariffs have been imposed primarily by China and the European Union on imports of U.S. live and processed seafood.  >click to read< 16:58

Maine: Lobster boat sinks after hitting a ledge in Naskeag Harbor, Captain taken to hospital

A 36-foot lobster boat, Turn the Page, sank off Naskeag Point on the sunny, breezy afternoon of August 26, according to a Department of Marine Resources statement. The vessel, captained by 45-year-old Carl Gray of Sedgwick, hit a ledge in Naskeag Harbor, according to the statement. The boat continued on until it eventually ran aground near the boat launch around 1:30 p.m., DMR said. That was two hours after low tide,,, One fisherman took Gray to the hospital, while other fishermen managed to tie the Turn the Page to the public pier at Naskeag Point. >photo gallery, click to read< 12:42

Federal judge gives NOAA time to craft new whale rules

A federal district court judge, in a decision issued late on Wednesday, Aug. 19, gave the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) nine more months to craft new rules to protect endangered right whales from entanglement in lobster fishing gear. Judge James E. Boasberg also denied a request by conservation organizations for an immediate ban on lobster fishing in a vast area of the ocean south of Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. >click to read< 09:45

“Prince of Whales” threatens lawsuit against Maine Lobstering Union members

Richard Max Strahan has threatened to sue the Maine Lobstering Union (MLU), the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) and their individual members for damages under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The statement was contained in papers Strahan filed Monday in the U.S. District Court in Bangor in a lawsuit he began last year under the self-styled name “Man Against Xtinction.” Naming the commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources and the assistant administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) as defendants, the suit asked the court to rule that the decision by NMFS to allow the Maine lobster fishery violates the law governing federal administrative procedures and, consequently, the federal Endangered Species Act. >click to read< 11:40

Maine: Elver price plummets; lobster industry seeks help

Earning a living as a fisherman is tough in the best of times. Right now, times are bad and Maine fishermen have to hope they don’t get any worse.
Last year, according to the Department of Marine Resources, Maine harvesters landed 9,620 pounds of elvers, juvenile eels, and dealers paid $20,119,194 for the catch, an average price of $2,091 per pound for the fishermen. Things are markedly different in this year of the coronavirus pandemic.,, Like elver harvesters, members of Maine’s lobster industry have experienced an extraordinary disruption of their fishery. Most lobsters are consumed in restaurants or other commercial settings,,, >click to read< 16:30

Ruling in whale case signals turmoil for lobster industry

It is too early to know exactly how the ruling in a lawsuit brought by a group of environmental organizations will affect the lobster industry. U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg asked those groups and NOAA to file briefs suggesting an appropriate “injunctive remedy” against further violations of the Endangered Species Act. Whatever that remedy may be, it is likely to come soon and have a significant impact on Maine lobstermen. During the past several months, Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher hosted a series of meetings along the coast with members of the lobster industry,, Throughout the process, Keliher warned that the pending federal lawsuit against NOAA was a “wild card” that could affect the regulatory process in undetermined ways. Last week, Keliher said that with the release of the court’s decision the wild card had been played. >click to read< 17:51

Maine will create a commercial menhaden fishing license in 2021, won’t close growing bait fishery as previously planned.

Stories of those who had hoped to jump into menhaden fishing, and pleas from lobstermen in search of affordable bait, persuaded state lawmakers to keep the menhaden fishery open while the state works out details of its proposed licensing system.,, A legislative committee voted in favor of the Department of Marine Resources’ menhaden licensing bill, but only after deleting a section of the bill that would have set a “control date” for the menhaden fishery. A control date is a cutoff date that can be used to decide who is eligible to fish. >click to read< 11:08

Elver Lottery to Allow New Entrants into Maine’s Lucrative Elver Fishery

Nine Maine residents will soon have a chance to join the state’s lucrative elver fishery. The Department of Marine Resources will hold a lottery, starting at noon Thursday, January 16, for the right to apply for an elver license. The lottery will be available through 4:30 pm February 21, providing lottery winners the chance to apply for a license prior to the upcoming season, which starts March 22 and runs through June 7. >click to read, details, links< 16:18

Maine Seeks to Aid Lobstermen as Federal Whale Protections Loom

On Friday, the state’s Department of Marine Resources released a plan it says protects the endangered whales and lobstermen, whom the feds say need to do more to prevent traps and lines from killing the whale. Maine’s suggestions include having lobstermen use ropes with weak points the whales could easily break and calls for a 25% reduction in the amount of vertical trap lines. >click to read< 08:29

Maine Plan Aims To Reduce Lobstering Impact On Right Whales – The Maine Department of Marine Resources tweaked its October proposal to balance the needs of lobstermen while protecting the whales,,, >click to read< 09:32

A sternman’s thoughts on aquaculture

Are there any other industries in Maine that are allowed to grow with no set limits? Right now, aquaculture leasing is designed this way. There is no cap on the number of leases that the state can issue. The number of aquaculture applications has increased ten-fold over the last ten years, and the Department of Marine Resources has approved 99% of these marine applications. The current regulations will lead to the unsustainable growth of a new industry which is untested along our coast. As a sternman in Martinsville, the people I fish alongside have strict limits. By Kelsey Fenwick >click to read< 10:35

Also read, Issues on the water: licenses, leasing, and aquaculture – William Oliver, South Thomaston, same page.

Scallop season is underway

The scallop fishing season got underway in eastern Maine earlier this month and is already making news. In the waters between eastern Penobscot Bay and Cobscook Bay, the season for the handful of licensed scallop divers began Nov. 18 but the draggers couldn’t go to work until Dec. 2. In Cobscook Bay, the season for draggers also began Dec. 2 but divers had to wait until Dec. 5 to brave the chilly, turbulent waters way Downeast. >click to read< 20:14

Maine Lobstermen Skeptical Of Proposal To Tie ‘Whale-Safe’ Seafood Label To Use Of New Fishing Gear. They should be.

A movement is emerging among conservation groups to create a “whale-safe” seal of approval for lobster caught with new types of gear designed to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales. But it could be a tough sell in Maine, where some say the iconic fishery is already sustainable.,, “That’s really important, that fishermen willing to test this gear, and certainly those fishermen fishing with ropeless gear should be rewarded,” says Erica Fuller, a lawyer at the Conservation Law Foundation, one of several organizations suing the federal government for stronger protections of the roughly 400 North Atlantic right whales remaining on the planet. >click to read< 10:36