Tag Archives: maine

Delay Implementation of Gear Marking & Modification in Right Whale Rule

In a letter today to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Governor Janet Mills urged swift action by NOAA Fisheries to reduce the unnecessary economic harm to Maine fishermen that the recently announced Federal whale protection rule will cause. “I don’t believe this rule, as written, should take effect at all, and, at the very least, I urge you to direct NOAA Fisheries to delay the rule’s implementation of gear marking and gear modifications (including both trawling up and insertion of weak points) to July 1, 2022,” wrote Governor Mills. “It is entirely unfair that Maine lobstermen continue to be the primary target of burdensome regulations, despite the many effective mitigation measures they have taken and despite the data showing that ship strikes and Canadian fishing gear continue to pose significant risk to right whales,” >click to read< 14:38

Maine: Next Generation Of Lobstermen Brace For Unprecedented Change

On a boat near Kennebunkport in late July, lobsterman Chris Welch demonstrated new ropeless gear made by a Massachusetts company. It costs about $4,000 per trap, several times more than a traditional lobster trap, which is usually $80-180. “So far it is retrievable,” Welch says. “But the challenge of the Maine fishery is there’s 5,000 lobstermen and we all fish amongst each other and attempt not to fish on top of each other. With these units unless you’re staring at your electronics all day or your iPad, there’s no way of knowing where the next guy is.”  The 33-year-old is against going ropeless and thinks the gear is a long way from being practical or affordable for most lobstermen. “I foresee it becoming a big boat fishery,” >click to read<  10:55

DMR briefs legislature on impact of NOAA’s new lobstering rules, options for appeal

On September 14, the Maine Legislature’s Committee on Marine Resources met and discussed the impact new rules recently released by the NOAA will have on Maine’s lobster industry, as well as the state’s legal options for appealing the rules.,, The new rules not only close nearly 1,000 square miles to lobstering between October and January, a time of year when lobster prices are at their highest, but changes the kind of gear lobstermen can use. Also discussed were threats to the right whale posed by Canada. As Keliher pointed out, the NMFS’ biological opinion noted that even if Maine is 100% successful in taking steps to protect right whales, whales will continue to go extinct if they continue to be hurt in Canada. Keliher also stated that he has had conversations with the head of> NOAA, Richard W. Spinrad, Ph.D < who hasn’t yet had a meeting with the Canadian government, but has agreed to raise the issue of including state representatives in Canadian affairs. Keliher also said NOAA’s head considers these conversations to be a government-to-government issue. He stated he disagrees and continues to press the issue. >click to read< 15:51

William D. Stinson, Sr., of Owls Head, Maine has passed away

William D. “Bill” Stinson, Sr., 78, died peacefully at home with his beloved wife and daughter by his side. Born in Stonington, August 8, 1943, he was the son of Norman and Gladys Smith Stinson. Bill lived his whole life in Owls Head, Following graduation, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving aboard the USS Providence. Returning home, Bill married the love of his life, Mary Myrick in 1972. Throughout his life, Bill worked tirelessly to provide for his family so that his wife could stay at home and raise their two beautiful children. He had a love of the ocean, and worked for many years, fishing for FJ O’Hara’s aboard the vessel captained by his father Norman Stinson. When not out on the water, he worked for a lobster buying business, a bait business and as a night watchman. >click to read< 20:51

Lobsterman Paul T. Farrin of South Bristol has passed away

Paul T. Farrin, 85, of South Bristol, died peacefully at home on his birthday, Sept. 5, 2021, surrounded by his loving family. Born on Sept. 5, 1936, in Damariscotta, he was the son of Afton and Annie May Farrin. At the age of 15, he began his long career as a lobsterman off the coast of South Bristol, retiring in 1986. During that time, he caught a lot of his own bait and built his own wooden traps each winter. He spent 13 years seining/trapping mackerel and herring with his brothers. He went shrimping with his brother David many winters, fished for crabs in the Damariscotta River, and rarely missed a season dragging for scallops. He was also one of the founding members of the South Bristol Fisherman’s Co-op, serving as the first president in 1972. Paul had a wonderful and active life. He loved the outdoors and spent more time outside, than inside. >click to read<  22:31

Rep. Sherm Hutchins – Maine’s lobster industry is under siege

Maine’s lobstermen and women are under attack by the Biden Administration after a recent set of rule changes restricting seasonal lobster fishing in 950 square miles of federal waters off Maine’s coast. This is an inflexible and poorly considered attempt to protect the North Atlantic right whale population. The series of rule changes are the most heavy-handed in a long line of attempts to undermine the lobster industry here in Maine. If our fisheries are not protected, and if these rules are not reversed, Maine’s fishermen and women will not recover. >click to read< 09:47

More siege from the non-productive slugs of the enviroscam movement – Zack Klyver, science director with the group Blue Planet Strategies, has a different view on the issue. I’m sympathetic to them and know that they work extremely hard,,, >click to read< 11:25

About that “seat at the table”,,, New England Aqua Ventus Monhegan project a concern for fishermen

Boothbay region fishermen and community members are expressing concern over the New England Aqua Ventus project, a floating offshore wind turbine to be built two miles south of Monhegan. NEAV is a partnership between Maine Prime Technologies – a business arm of the University of Maine – and wind industry giants Diamond Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi, and RWE Renewables.,,, “Now I sit on this panel and I’m being asked ‘How can we do this better’ even though I’m being told it’s still going to happen … Boothbay lobsterman Eben Wilson, “People have been telling me it’s such a great opportunity to have a seat at the table, and I’m like, a seat at the table? For what? To tell them how to cut my throat better? Or how to cut it slower?” >click to read< 09:02

American Aquafarms salmon farm anxious to explain its vision. pssst, Eirik. No one wants it.

Officials representing a controversial salmon farm proposed for Frenchman Bay hope to meet with the public in the coming weeks to explain their vision amid vocal and visible opposition. Ten days ago, a flotilla of boats showed their opposition to the project in the water surrounding Acadia National Park. Company vice president Eirik Jors said American Aquafarms wants to open a U.S. location to help meet the growing demand for salmon. “The U.S. imports about 90% of its seafood,”,,, Save it, Eirik. National Park Service blasted the proposal in July., Other groups, including Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage and Frenchman Bay United, are worried about the loss of fishing grounds for lobstermen and others. James West, a fourth-generation fisherman from Sorrento, said the lease site is too big and he’s worried about impacts on lobsters and fish. >click to read< 15:39

Unexpected Changes – Backlash from lobster industry and elected officials on restrictions, closures

Barry Baudanza hadn’t had the chance to fully absorb all the changes headed his way after federal officials announced new rules governing the lobster industry the day before, but he knew one thing right off the bat: “This was the worst-case scenario.” But lobstermen, the fishing industry and elected officials are pushing back. They say the new rules will be expensive, dangerous, burdensome and impractical, and won’t reduce the risk to whales.  And despite lobstermen’s concerns and protestations that they aren’t even seeing right whales in Maine waters, conservationists argue that the plan does not go far enough to protect the critically endangered animals. >click to read< 10:07

16 proposed laws that could be on the Massachusetts ballot in 2022 – # 10, Proposed by a conservationist known as the “Prince of Whales,” the ballot question would “ban the use of commercial fishing gear likely to entangle whales and sea turtles.” State officials would have to determine exactly which gear falls into that category, but anything that “employs vertical buoy ropes or gill nets would be prohibited.” >click to read< 

From the Office of Governor Janet T. Mills – A Letter to the Lobster Industry

In Letter to Lobster Industry, Governor Mills Calls Right Whale Rule “Extremely Disappointing” & Pledges to Work with Maine’s Congressional Delegation to Fight It. – September 1, 2021. In the wake of yesterday’s National Marine Fisheries Service’s Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Rule, Governor Janet Mills last night sent a letter to Maine’s lobster industry expressing solidarity with them and calling the rule “extremely disappointing”. In the letter to Maine’s lobster harvesters, dealers, and processors, Governor Mills pledges to work with Maine’s Congressional Delegation to determine the best way to address the industry’s and administration’s concerns: >click to read< 14:24

Protest Photo’s: More than 125 boats in “Save the Bay” flotilla today

More than 125 boats participated in a “Save the Bay” flotilla today to protest plans by American Aquafarms to place a massive industrial salmon farm in Frenchman Bay, just off Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. The boat parade included many working lobster boats and a variety of pleasure craft. Organizers called the size of the boat parade unprecedented and said it demonstrates the depth of opposition to the salmon farm from people all around the bay. >click to see the photos< 17:50

Dozens of boats race through Casco Bay for annual Lobster Boat Races

Sunday was the final day of lobster boat races for the season. From Boothbay, to Portland fishermen traveled the coast to compete. Jon Johansen helps run the races. He says each boat pays $20 to compete which goes towards helping high school graduates attend college through the fishermen’s scholarship fund. “The party started on Friday and in certain places it hasn’t stopped yet,” >Video, photos, click to read< 10:03

Maine Marine Patrol revs up its fleet

The Marine Patrol recently launched P/ V Endeavor, a 42-foot-long lobster-style patrol boat made by Farrin’s Boat Shop in Walpole. The boat’s hull is from Calvin Beal Boats, part of SW Boatworks in Lamoine, according to a news release. The Endeavor is home-ported in West Boothbay and replaces P/V Monitor, a 22-year-old, 35-foot-long Young Brothers boat that was damaged by an electrical fire in 2019. The new vessel will provide a safer, more stable platform for Marine Patrol officers while hauling and inspecting lobster gear in both near-shore and offshore locations,,, >click to read< 07:41

If the Frenchman Bay salmon farm isn’t right for Norway, it’s not right for Maine

About that American Aquafarms proposal: NIMBY- not in my backyard. In this case it applies to the developer, not the opponents. Whenever I describe to people the location of this industrial development in Frenchman Bay, their first reaction is always the same: What were they thinking? How could they possibly do this? The short answer is, the developers came here to do what they couldn’t do back home in Norway. They couldn’t build this project in their own backyard, so they are trying to put it in our front yard,, We’re better than this, and it’s time we stand up for all that is special about the Maine coast and say no. Not here. Not now. Not ever. >click to read< By Jerry Potter 10:55

Rockport, Maine: A day at the wharf

“Go ahead, but stay out of their way,” the man running the wharf tells me, as I head down July 20 to get some photos of the lobster being unloaded from incoming boats. “They’ll knock you over!” There is enough humor in his voice to let me know he is friendly,,, The wharf is not spacious for the amount of work is being done there. Lobster is being loaded from boats into crates that are lifted by a little crane to be loaded onto the trucks. While two sternmen on one boat are quickly unloading, another vessel pulls in nearby to fuel up. Lot of photos of hard working people. >click to read< 11:28

Move Over! Industrial aquaculture/aquafarming has Maine lobstermen and fishermen hot under the collar

High-profile privately funded ventures have lately been converging on this corner of the North Atlantic. Norwegian owned American Aquafarms wants to salmon in Frenchman Bay, and other large Canadian and Dutch finfish aquaculture companies are moving into the region. This bustle, though, has raised the hackles of lobstermen and women represented by grassroots Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Foundation organization. They say large-scale aquaculture corporations are intent on “privatizing” the public ocean, in the process displacing locals who’ve fished these waters for years and endangering their livelihoods. They feel considerably less optimistic about the burst of interest in aquafarming in their local waters,,,>click to read< 09:07

Challenges abound, but lobstermen say they’re in it for the long haul

Around 2 a.m. each morning, a parade of trucks from around the region begins the journey down to the Stonington docks, marking the start of another day of lobstering in Maine. In short, a large part of coastal Hancock County and beyond depend on lobster. One of the locals that has made her living off lobster is Julie Eaton, a member of Stonington’s 300-plus lobster boat fleet. She’s been at it for 39 years now and to her it’s not just a job, it’s a way of life. Every fisherman has their own story, but almost all of them say they got into the business because they love working on the ocean. For the hundreds of lobstermen in the region, things are going pretty well at the moment, even with the pandemic. While things are going well, if you talk to almost any Downeast lobstermen about the future of their industry, the conversation will come to two things: right whales and wind turbines. >click to read< 13:28

Lobster Economics in Knox County – Lobster catch carries on maritime tradition, fuels economy

The lobster industry is a vital one for the region, earning harvesters $111 million in 2020 with a catch of slightly more than 25 million pounds. Statewide, nearly 97 million pounds of lobsters were landed in 2020 in Maine with harvesters paid $406 million. Lobsters account for 79 cents of every $1 of seafood landed in Maine. The overwhelming bulk of the lobsters are caught from July through November. The $111 million paid to Knox County harvesters in 2020 is down from the $143 million earned in 2019. >click to read< 08:05

Lobstermen are opposed to this. Stopping American Aquafarms is your fight, too

The project will include 30 in-water fish pens, 150 feet in diameter; dozens of generators to power pumps and lights day and night; barges for feed and waste, and vessels ranging in size from 50 to 150 feet to process the fish and haul fish waste, fish food and thousands of gallons of diesel fuel. The threat to the bay’s waters and ecosystem from water pollution, fish escapes and disease is alarmingly real. Lobstermen who have fished these waters for generations also are opposed to this project. All 26 lobstermen who fish out of Bar Harbor presented a statement of opposition to the Town Council recently, and fishermen from around the bay are following suit. By Dennis Damon, >click to read< 11:19

How lobster fishing began in southern Maine

“Until the twentieth century lobsters could be pulled out from under the rocks,” the preservation society said. “The smaller ones of two pounds or less were often thrown away. Men in a variety of boats, dories, peapods and recently the easily recognized lobster boats powered by motors, set traps along the ledges. Increasing numbers of pots have been attached on a line to a buoy on which each man’s colors can be identified. Most lobstermen spent the winter months making traps, painting buoys and knitting bait bags. Lobstering was usually done in the summer when lobsters moved into warmer waters.” photos, >click  to read< 21:37

Commercial Atlantic Sea Herring Fishery in Management Area 1A to Close

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has projected that the Management Area 1A Atlantic herring fishery will have harvested 92% of its Season I (June 1 – September 30) quota allocation by August 3, 2021. Accordingly, effective at 0001 hours on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, the directed Atlantic sea herring fishery in Management Area 1A will close through September 30, 2021. Unless explicitly authorized, the possession, retention, landing, and sale of Atlantic sea herring taken from Area 1A is prohibited during this closed period. >click to read< 1645

Iconic sardine carrier restoration larger than first predicted

When Campbell “Buzz” Scott embarked on restoring Pauline, a 1948 sardine carrier, he knew it was going to be a bit of a project. Scott and the nonprofit OceansWide have dreams of reviving the 83-foot vessel and repurposing it for educational programs, as well as it being a launching pad for the organization’s remotely operated underwater vehicle. But Scott’s initial assessment was off. Pauline doesn’t need a revival; it needs a resurrection.  “This is going to be a total rebuild with the exception of the keel and a few of the other timbers, which are still original from 1948,”,, “At the time, we thought we could get away with a few planks and a new engine and putting a new topside on,” Scott said. While painting the boat, they found a rotted plank, which led to finding another and another. >click to read< 08:12

Equinor to trial safe fishing with floating offshore wind farm at Hywind Scotland. No Dragging, though.

Hywind Scotland’s operator Equinor and Scottish government agency Marine Scotland will work together to better understand how fishers can safely operate around and within floating offshore wind farms. In a survey scheduled for 2022, Marine Scotland will test three kinds of fishing gear: creels, fish traps and jigging lines at Hywind Scotland.,, California dreaming – Elsewhere in floating offshore wind, BOEM has decided to determine industry interest in developing offshore wind at two sites in a 1,033km2 area off central California,,, >click to read< 22:05

Maine Lobsterman Ronald C. Weeks Jr., 45, of Friendship, has passed away

Ronald C. Weeks Jr., 45, of Friendship, died unexpectedly aboard his lobster boat while doing something he loved, tuna fishing. Ronnie passed away on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Ronnie was born on Feb. 2, 1976, in Augusta. He attended local schools and graduated from Medomak Valley High School in 1994. He served in the U.S. Army from 1994 to 1998, stationed out of Fort Story, Va. Ronnie served as a watercraft engineer and received many awards and medals, including the Expert Marksmanship Badge. He then went on to work as a lobsterman until his final days. Ronnie enjoyed many outdoor activities, including fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, and spending time with his family. >click to read< 09:02

Wild Wild West sets new record at Stonington lobster boat races

Lobstermen put away the traps and opened the throttles this weekend at the Stonington lobster boat races. About 75 boats participated in the races this year, with a strong local presence and a contingent for Vinalhaven and North Haven, said Jon Johansen, the president of the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association. Cameron Crawford’s Wild Wild West, always a top contender at the races, clocked 61.6 mph, setting a new diesel record by about 1 mph, en route to first place in the diesel free for all, Johansen said. >click to read< 08:59

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

Maine: Residents rise up against industrial scale aquaculture

American Aquafarms intends to “establish a hatchery, fish farm facilities, and a state-of-the-art processing plant in coastal Maine,” according to its website. “There are so many things wrong with this project,” said Sarah Redmond, a local oyster farmer. “Nobody around here thinks this is a good idea.” The fight over the farms is emblematic of the national debate over how to expand aquaculture in the United States. “I see a storm on the horizon for lobstermen and the future of this industry,” wrote Maine State Rep. Robert Alley in a recent op-ed,,, >click to read< 09:24

Frenchman Bay United has sent a letter to Interior Secretary Haaland around the proposed project in Frenchman Bay – Opponents of industrial salmon farm near Acadia National Park urge Interior Secretary Haaland to oppose project following her recent visit to Maine, >click to read<,To the The Honorable Deb Haaland, Secretary Department of the Interior >click to read<

Of family and fishing, ‘The Nunans of Cape Porpoise’

A new book, “The Nunans of Cape Porpoise,” tells a story in words and photographs of the Nunan family, immigrants from Ireland, who settled in the village in 1861 and began fishing. Eight generations later, there are many members of the Nunan family who continue the hard work of pulling their living from the sea. Some family members fish and some are also otherwise engaged in the lobstering industry; “The Nunans of Cape Porpoise” is a book about a family, and more. It is a book about a way of life,,, photos, >click to read< 16:32

Choppy waters limit crowd, times at Bass Harbor lobster boat races

More than three dozen lobstermen battled it out in Bass Harbor this past weekend as part of the annual lobster boat races, but perhaps their toughest competitor was race day’s choppy waters. Conditions were a little rougher than ideal, but nothing the boats couldn’t handle, said Jon Johansen, the president of the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association. Thirty-seven boats from across the region showed up, about half of what the race has boasted in the past. Some only had to travel from their mooring in Bernard to the starting line but others came from locales such as Prospect Harbor, Stonington, Beals, Searsport, Milbridge, Corea and Islesford,,, >photos, click to read< 10:49

Video: Lobster Boat Races, Rockland style. Photos: 2021 Charles Begin Boothbay Harbor Lobster Boat Races

Videographer Terry Boivin was aboard a lobster boat owned by Willie Coombs, of Prospect Harbor, for the June 20 lobster boat races around Rockland Harbor. It’s a great ride along, and when Willie winds her up, and that turbo kicks in, you can feel the power! Thanks to Terry Boivin, and Willie Coombs for a great way to start today! >click to watch<

2021 Boothbay Harbor Lobster Boat Races – The 2021 Charles Begin Boothbay Harbor Lobster Boat Races were held Saturday, June 19 after skies cleared. Here, professional photographer Michael Leonard captures the action from West Boothbay Harbor. Race results will appear in a separate article. >click to view the photos< 08:01

2021 Boothbay Harbor Lobster Boat Races results >Click to read the results!<