Tag Archives: Maine Department of Marine Resources

Massachusetts man nabbed with $21,700 worth of illegal allegedly poached elvers

A Massachusetts man faces up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine after he was caught with an estimated $21,700 worth of allegedly poached elvers, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Joseph Starratt, 51, of Middleborough, Massachusetts, was arrested Friday and charged with possession of elvers, also known as baby or “glass” eels, without a license. The charge is a Class D misdemeanor crime, which is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of $2,000. Marine Patrol officers, following up on a lead submitted through the Operation Game Thief tip line, located Starratt in Scarborough with 16.5 pounds of elvers and without any license to harvest them. Starratt was arrested and taken to Cumberland County Jail. Each pound contains about 2,500 elvers, click here to read the story 20:55

Maine lawmakers endorse tougher penalties for lobstermen who cheat

A legislative committee voted unanimously Wednesday to toughen penalties on lobstermen who fish too many traps or use “sunken trawls” as part of an industry-supported effort to crack down on lawbreakers. “I do think this is going to get people’s attention and will hopefully make people realize that it doesn’t pay to cheat,” said Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. Lawmakers are considering a suite of requests from the Maine Department of Marine Resources for more enforcement tools and tougher sanctions against violators in an industry worth more than $500 million last year. A bill unanimously endorsed by the Marine Resources Committee, L.D. 575, would allow DMR’s commissioner to order longer license suspensions for lobstermen who violate the laws on the first offense and, in several cases, permanently revoke the licenses of repeat offenders. click here to read the story 19:49

Maine Lobstermen tired of conflicts, support bill to allow secretly installed tracking devices

Lobstermen fed up with cohorts who violate fishing regulations testified in favor of a bill to allow Marine Patrol officers to secretly install tracking devices on fishing vessels suspected of illegal activity without first obtaining a warrant. While a smaller faction opposed the bill, both sides agreed that Maine faces a growing “epidemic” posed by a small number of law-breakers fueling dangerous conflict and threatening the stewardship ethos within the state’s most valuable fishery. They also agreed that the Maine Department of Marine Resources needed more enforcement tools, but lobstermen differed on whether DMR’s commissioner should be allowed to authorize the installation of GPS tracking devices without getting a judge’s approval. click here to read the story 08:36

Wake Up, Fishermen! Proposed closure of coral grounds in Gulf of Maine has lobster industry on edge

Over the past 10 years, the issue of how to protect endangered whales from getting tangled in fishing gear has been a driving factor in how lobstermen configure their gear and how much money they have to spend to comply with regulations. Now federal officials have cited the need to protect deep-sea corals in a proposal to close some areas to fishing — a proposal that, according to lobstermen, could pose a serious threat to how they ply their trade. “The [potential] financial impact is huge,” Jim Dow, a Bass Harbor lobsterman and board member with Maine Lobstermen’s Association, said Wednesday. “You’re talking a lot of the coast that is going to be affected by it.” The discovery in 2014 of deep-sea corals in the gulf, near Mount Desert Rock and along the Outer Schoodic Ridges, has prompted the New England Fisheries Management Council to consider making those area off-limits to fishing vessels in order to protect the coral from damage. According to Maine Department of Marine Resources, fishermen from at least 15 harbors in Hancock and Washington counties could be affected by the proposed closure. click here to read the story  Wake Up, Fishermen! 11:15:30

2016 proves a record year for Maine’s fishing industry

Maine’s fishing industry topped $700 million in overall value in 2016, including a dockside value for the lobster fishery of $533 million. Both were records, according to preliminary data released Friday by the Maine Department of Marine Resources. DMR reported the $721 million total value represented a nearly $100 million increase over 2015. For the second straight year, the largest single increase in value was in Maine’s lobster fishery. The fishery saw the overall landed value jump by more than $30 million — from $501 million in 2015 to $533 million in 2016 — while the average per pound value remained over $4 for the second year in a row, at $4.07. When factoring in bonuses paid to harvesters as reported by 14 of Maine’s 19 lobster co-ops, the overall landed value of Maine’s lobster fishery reached $547.24 million, DMR reported. continue reading the story here 11:09

Maine lobstermen oppose increase in cost of commercial fishing licenses

A proposal to increase the cost of commercial fishing licenses to fund scientific research in a lean budget year is drawing fire from Maine lobstermen. Julie Eaton, a 30-year lobster boat captain from Deer Isle, told a legislative panel at the State House on Friday that a 30 percent increase in lobster license fees would be too much on top of all the other costs of doing business, ranging from $125 to replace lost traps to $185 for monthly oil changes to bait bills that have doubled in the last year alone. The Maine Department of Marine Resources is seeking to increase lobster license fees about 30 percent, which would generate roughly $600,000 in new revenues. That money would be used to expand state lobster research and protect other department units, like the Maine Marine Patrol, despite budget cuts ordered by Gov. Paul LePage to offset the anticipated effect of a new minimum wage law and state school spending initiative. Continue reading the article here 09:24

Proposed Maine Elver Eel Lottery Would Keep Industry Viable

A proposal to create a new lottery system to allow people into Maine’s big-money baby eel fishery is the best way to keep the industry sustainable, some fishermen say. Baby eels are a prized resource in Maine, where they are fished from rivers and streams and sold to Asian aquaculture companies in countries such as China and South Korea. The baby eels, or elvers, can sell for more than $2,000 per pound. The eels eventually get raised to adulthood and turned into food, such as sushi, with some spanning the globe to come back to American restaurants. Right now, entry into the fishery is closed. A Maine trade group for elver fishermen is supporting a proposed state law that would allot new elver fishing permits via a lottery. The group’s president, Darrell Young, said members of the fishery are aging and the lottery system will let new people in. “We’re all getting older and eventually we’re going to pass away,” Young said. “As people die off or give up or whatever, there will be a drawing.” Read the story here 14:36

Maine Department of Marine Resources wants to raise the price of commercial fishing licenses

If approved by the Legislature, the proposed fee increases would range from as little as $1 for a Maine resident to harvest green crabs to as much as $114 for a lobsterman with two sternmen. Under the new fee schedule, which would take effect January 2018, the cost of securing a Class III lobster license would top $1,000 for the first time, hitting $1,002. The fee hike would enable the Department of Marine Resources to hire an additional lobster biologist, outfit its science staff with field technology and pay for Marine Patrol officer raises and ballistics vests, among other things, without increasing the department’s $21.3 million bottom line, department spokesman Jeff Nichols said. Read the story here 08:36

Participants in cooperative winter sampling program for Gulf of Maine northern shrimp announced

The program, coordinated by the Maine Department of Marine Resources, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, and Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, is designed to provide biological data on the shrimp fishery which is closed for the fourth year in a row. These Maine fishermen were chosen from over 60 applicants based on a random drawing of those fully qualified in each region. Preference was given to trawlers willing to participate in a test of a compound grate for harvesting. The sampling program will include the participation of 10 trawlers (eight Maine trawlers, one Massachusetts trawler and one New Hampshire trawler) and five Maine trappers fishing for eight weeks from mid-January to mid-March.  Read the story here 08:15

Legislation being drafted to make it easier for Maine Marine Patrol officers to secretly install tracking devices on fishing boats.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources is drafting legislation that would expand the authority of Marine Patrol officers to covertly install electronic surveillance devices on the boats of fishermen suspected of violating state fishing regulations. The proposal is similar to one that faltered in the Legislature two years ago and is a response to ongoing concerns that some lobstermen are fishing more traps than allowed or engaging in other tactics to skirt Maine’s strict fisheries laws. The proposal also coincides with high-profile turf wars or personal disputes between lobstermen last year that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost or damaged equipment. The language of the bill has not been released, and DMR officials declined to provide specifics until the legislation has been finalized, consistent with a LePage administration policy. But in a general outline, DMR spokesman Jeff Nichols said the proposal would ease restrictions on Marine Patrol officers when they want to install electronic tracking or surveillance equipment on boats as part of investigations. Read the story here 10:07

Maine Scallop fishermen stay close to home

Scallop divers might have been feeling optimistic, due to a steady increase in landings in recent years, when the fishery started for the winter season on Dec. 1. But the number of scallop draggers showing up in Cobscook Bay on their opening day, Dec. 5, seemed to indicate a certain pessimism. Trisha Cheney, the resource management coordinator for scallops for the Maine Department of Marine Resources told The Quoddy Tides that only 69 boats showed up for opening day. That’s about half the size of the fleet that has been in the bay at the start of the season during many years. Almost all of the boats were local Cobscook Bay boats. In the past, many draggers from ports to the west have traveled to Cobscook Bay to fish. This year, the fleet was apparently more spread out. Cheney told the paper that 76 draggers were fishing in the Jonesport area this year. Read the rest of the story here 14:03

Down East area reopened to shellfish harvesting as level of biotoxin fades

domoic-acid-massThe Maine Department of Marine Resources has given the all-clear for Down East shellfish harvesters, more than a month after closing the region to harvesting because of an unusual bloom of toxic algae. On Monday, the DMR announced it was reopening harvesting areas between Penobscot Bay and Machiasport for shellfish, including softshell clams and mussels. Areas farther east, between Machiasport and Calais, were reopened to harvesting Oct. 25. The entire Down East coast from east Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border was closed at the end of September. The closure was triggered after shellfish samples from Jonesport, Corea and Roque Bluffs tested positive for elevated levels of domoic acid, a biotoxin that can cause amnesic shellfish poisoning and lead to illness, brain damage and possibly death.  Read the story here 09:59

A proposal intended to curb costly trap wars prompts 2-tag plan for lobster traps

1106061_371405-20120621_lobstertag_A proposal intended to curb costly trap wars would require Maine lobstermen to put two tags on traps they set outside their licensed fishing territory. Right now, every trap that is set along Maine’s 3,500-mile coast must have at least one tag, which identifies the fisherman who owns it. That 50-cent tag is the primary enforcement tool the Maine Marine Patrol uses to make sure a lobsterman is hauling only his or her own traps. Under state rules, Maine lobstermen can set up to 49 percent of their traps outside of their home fishing zone. In two zones along the coast, where fishermen are competing hardest for prime ocean bottom, lobstermen are already required to put second tags on traps dropped outside their home zone. Now, the Maine Department of Marine Resources wants to extend double-tagging to all seven lobster zones to make it easier to catch lobstermen who are fishing too many traps outside their zone. Read the story here 07:35

Lobster Advisory Council votes to close Maine’s last open zone

1050646_806188-20160908_zone-c-closLocal fishing authorities in Maine’s busiest lobster region say newcomers must wait for someone else to give up their license before they can set traps in local waters. The lobster council that oversees the area that includes Stonington and Vinalhaven, the top two lobster ports in Maine, voted 6-1 Thursday night to close the state’s last open lobster zone. The state’s other six regions already require apprentices who complete their training to wait, sometimes for as long as a decade, for others in their area to give up their licenses before they can fish. It is now up to Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, to decide whether to implement the council’s vote, as well as adopt the council’s proposed one-in, one-out exit ratio. Read the story here 12:12

Bait Relief! Maine Pogy fishery reopens with strict new rules

1016188_285199-Feature_01Maine made bait fishermen and lobstermen happy Monday when it reopened its pogy fishery after concluding there is still enough menhaden left in the Gulf of Maine to keep the population healthy. Those who hunt for nearshore schools of the flat, oily-fleshed silver fish – the second most popular lobster bait in Maine after herring – must follow strict new rules to prevent unusual damage or imminent depletion of the Atlantic menhaden. If they limit their fishing days to three and their catch to no more than 120,000 pounds a week, Maine fishermen can use up the remaining 2.3 million-pound quota allotted to Maine, Rhode Island and New York during a so-called “episodic” fishing event, when pogies are deemed unusually plentiful in New England waters. Read the rest here 08:08

Herring bait shortage could pinch Maine Lobstermen

atlantic herringMaine regulators are considering intervening to help fix a bait shortage that threatens to affect its signature lobster fishing industry. Lobstermen typically use herring for bait, and regulators and members of the fishing industry say there’s a shortage of them. The shortage is happening at the time of year when lobster catches usually start to pick up — and just as New England’s high tourist season is arriving. The Maine Department of Marine Resources met Tuesday afternoon to discuss what role it can play. Meredith Mendelson, the deputy commissioner of the department, told The Associated Press before the meeting that the department anticipates passing rules at a later date based on Tuesday’s discussion. The problem is that not enough herring are being caught on Georges Bank, a key fishing area off Massachusetts, members of the fishing industry said. That means there could be more herring fishing closer to the shore, and fishermen could reach their quota for that area before the summer is out. Read the story here 08:47

Mercury findings prompt state to widen lobster fishing ban in Penobscot River estuary

10-lobsters1Lobstermen never want to see an area closed, but they have supported the Penobscot River ban because they want to protect the long-term reputation of the product, said Patrice McCarron, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. Maine has expanded its ban on lobstering and crabbing in a small section of Penobscot Bay after finding elevated mercury levels in lobsters tested south of the existing no-fishing zone. The Maine Department of Marine Resources had declared seven square miles of the Penobscot River estuary off limits to lobstermen and crabbers in 2014 after a federal court-ordered study detected elevated mercury levels in lobsters found as far south as Fort Point on the west bank and Wilson Point on the east bank. On Tuesday, based on the results of state-funded tests done after the initial closure, the department announced it would add 5.5 square miles to the no-fishing zone, extending it south to Squaw Point on Cape Jellison and Perkins Point in Castine. Read the rest here 09:18

Maine Elver Harvesters Net Third Highest Overall Value in the History of the Fishery

elvers053015 016.JPGWith Maine’s 2016 elver season concluding yesterday at noon, the 982 harvesters who fished this season netted $13,388,040, which is the third highest value in the history of the fishery according to preliminary landings data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Maine DMR data indicates that the total was nearly $2 million more than was earned last season by the 920 active harvesters. While the average value this season was $1,435 per pound compared with $2,171 last season, it was the fourth highest on record. Preliminary landings data indicates that harvesters caught 9,330 pounds of the 9,688 total statewide quota compared with 5,259 pounds harvested last season. According to DMR data, 285 harvesters reached their individual quota in 2016 compared to 104 in 2015. Read the rest here 07:42

Maine finalizes deal to preserve Tenants Harbor Working Waterfront

DSC_2244.JPGThe Maine Department of Marine Resources obtained a working waterfront covenant March 11 on the wharf owned by the four Miller brothers — Hale, Ira, Dan and Peter — at 12 Commercial St. in Tenants Harbor. The covenant means that the pier must be used for commercial fishing. The wharf is used by more than 100 lobstermen, scallopers, urchin fishermen and seaweed harvesters. Over the years, landings have included shrimp and groundfish. In exchange for the working waterfront covenant, which ensures the wharf owners cannot develop or use the property for anything other than commercial working waterfront activities, the state will pay $250,000, an amount determined by a standardized working waterfront property appraisal, according to the news release. Read the article here 07:03

Maine Fishermen concerned about loss of disaster relief funding

AR-160319407.jpg&MaxW=315&MaxH=315The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced on March 1 that it will soon be issuing the third and final payment to Maine-homeported commercial groundfish permit holders under federal disaster relief funding which is being issued due to changes in fishing regulations and cutbacks in the industry. This is the third and final bin of money being allotted in Maine. Other New England states have also received federal relief funding in three separate dispersions, and although it is federal money, each state has individual discretion on how to allocate use of the funds. While some other states divided the money among permit holders and their crews, Maine chose a formula based criteria for fishermen in this category to qualify for relief funds. Read the rest here 16:07

Department of Marine Resources emergency action on Scallop area closures

mkMaine commercial fishing regulators are working on a string of closures to scalloping grounds around the state as the season nears its end. A spokesman for the state Department of Marine Resources says the agency is working on an emergency action that would close areas such as the Inner Machias Rotational Area, Wahoa/Jonesport Reach and Gouldsboro Bay and Dyers Bay. A handful of other areas would also close. Casco Bay would close to draggers, but not divers. The spokesman says the closures will likely be effective by Sunday. Link 07:58

Maine Department of Marine Resources will re-open three closed scallop fishing areas

mkThe Maine Department of Marine Resources will re-open three scallop fishing areas after having closed them to protect scallop populations in December. Inner Machias Rotational Area, Wahoa/Jonesport Reach, and Gouldsboro Bay and Dyers Bay will open next week when the Department of Marine Resources allows the emergency rulemaking to lapse. The Department of Marine Resources has instituted a new system for estimating scallop abundance. This new system showed that these three areas for scallop fishing had more available biomass than originally estimated in December. Read the rest here 12:49

Maine’s 2015 lobster catch value jumps by $37 million

The volume was down but the value was up for Maine’s 2015 total lobster haul, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources. The estimated cumulative gross income for the statewide lobster fishing fleet increased from $458 million in 2014 to $495 million last year – a jump of $37 million, according to a press release issued Thursday night by DMR. It is the sixth year in a row that the estimated dockside value of Maine’s annual lobster harvest has hit an all-time high. And for the first time since 2007 — before the onset of the Great Recession — the average per-pound price that Maine fishermen were paid for their catch was more than $4. That average increased from $3.70 in 2014 to $4.09 in 2015, according to the release. Read the rest here 15:09

Maine Lobstermen divided on license proposals

lobster-license-bill-1067x800The legislature’s Marine Resources Committee heard six hours of testimony Feb. 10 on a bill proposing changes to the commercial lobster licensing system. Those offering testimony were split between support for and opposition to the bill, which will be taken up next in a work session of the committee. The language was drafted by Department of Marine Resources (DMR) staff, but the bill officially was sponsored by Rep. Walter Kumiega (D-Deer Isle). Sen. Brian Langley (R-Hancock County) was one of several cosponsors. Read the rest here 13:26

Maine shrimp – get ’em while they’re hot!

Thanks to a study being conducted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and the states of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, four trawlers and two trappers have been selected to collect samples of northern shrimp from the Gulf of Maine. Each participating trawler is required to conduct five research trips in one region, and is being compensated $500 per trip. Each would be allowed to sell up to 1,800 pounds of shrimp per trip. Good article! Read the article here 17:30

Lobster waiting list debate continues

The waters off Hancock and Washington County have been very productive for lobster fishermen in the last few years. And when business is good, more people want in. Here in the Maine Department of Marine Resources’ (DMR) Lobster Management Zone B, though, a strict limited entry system has resulted in a very long waiting list for new commercial lobster licenses. The current limited entry ratio in Zone B is one new license issued for every five licenses retired. Most of the people on the waiting list already are fishing for a living, but they don’t work for themselves. Read the article here 13:40

Lobstermen, DMR talk state of lobster fishing

lobsterDM0811_468x521“We realize a fairly large amount of people want to transfer from other zones, and we are looking into that,” Keliher replied. Lobsterman Steve Taylor, of Kittery, said “I’m sorry if this is going to offend people, but what about the people who are on the waiting list that already have a cushy job somewhere and just want to make extra money lobstering? That worries us. We depend on this for out living. Everything else in the industry has been taken away.” Read the rest here 17:46

Maine DMR – “We’re gonna nip ten days off of your scallop fishing season”!

mkMaine fishing regulators are proposing to trim 10 days from scallopseason along the state’s southern coast. The state Department of Marine Resources announced the proposed terms of the 2015-16 scallop season on Thursday. The southern scalloping zone would be reduced from 70 to 60 days. The Midcoast and eastern Maine zone would have 70 days, the same as last year. The far eastern zone, which includes scallop-rich Cobscook Bay, would remain at 50 days. Under the proposal, the upcoming scallop fishing season would begin in early December and end in mid-April. The state is also proposing a series of targeted closures of waterways to scallop fishing. link 17:10

Maine Department of Marine Resources Advisory Council to vote on sea urchin swipe card system

A key Maine panel is scheduled to vote this week on a plan to track the state’s sea urchin fishery with swipe cards. The swipe card proposal is subject to the approval of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Advisory Council, which meets Thursday in Augusta. State regulators want to create a swipe card system to record transactions in which fishermen sell urchins to dealers. Officials say the cards would help efficiently gather data about the fishery and eventually help give fishermen more flexibility about when they fish. Read the rest here 13:10:12


New lead biologist for lobster monitoring program, to oversee management of scallop, urchin, shrimp and large whale research

Kathleen Reardon has coordinated the state Department of Marine Resources’ lobster monitoring programs for the past 10 years.  Reardon will direct and coordinate a comprehensive lobster monitoring program. The program will include sea sampling and trap surveys. She will also oversee management of the scallop, urchin, shrimp and large whale research and monitoring programs. Reardon holds a dual master’s degree in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. link 12:11

Maine Department of Marine Resources gets $256 Thousand for trawl survey from NOAA

cod-fish-852The survey gathers important data on the groundfish and lobster populations in near shore waters in the Gulf of Maine from the Massachusetts coast to the Canadian border. The Maine-New Hampshire Inshore Trawl Survey is a collaborative research project among DMR, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and commercial fishermen. Surveys are conducted twice a year, in the spring and fall, using a commercial fishing vessel. Read the rest here 13:28

Card plan for Maine’s valuable urchins draws mixed response

jj quota cardJoe Leask, a diver on the Maine coast who is also the chairman of the Maine Sea Urchin Zone Council advisory board, said he’s not sure the swipe card system is necessary. Urchin fishermen already keep log books and are subject to a highly regulated fishing season as it is, Leask said.”What is the goal of the swipe card? If it’s accountability, the system’s already in place,” Leask said. “I’m not sure it’s a tool that’s needed right now.” Read the rest here 12:48

Friendship lobsterman facing longer license suspension because of new charges

The Maine Department of Marine Resources said James Simmons, 40, of Friendship has been charged with engaging in licensed activities while under suspension and violating conditions of release from jail. Simmons also is awaiting trial on an arson charge in which he is accused of burning down a boat shop that housed a lobster boat in Waldoboro in June 2012. Read the rest here 22:58

Record prices help buoy Maine scallop fishery

In the mid-2000s, when Maine’s scallop fishery hit historic lows for volume and value, its future did not look promising. A lot has changed since then. Annual catch totals still may lag behind what they were in past decades but, according to Maine Department of Marine Resources, 2014 is one of the most lucrative years the state fishery has ever had. Scallop fishermen harvested 584,000 pounds of scallop meat in Maine’s coastal waters last year and,,,   Read the rest here 10:42

Fishermen suspensions trigger Maine elver quota changes

elver eelBecause some elver fishermen are expected to have their licenses suspended this year due to outstanding fines, fishermen with active licenses will not have 5 percent of their quotas set aside as a buffer to prevent overfishing. All licensed elver fishermen, whether or not they are members of Maine’s federally recognized Indian tribes, are facing a reduction in individual quotas for the 2015 elver season because of a decision made last fall by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Read the rest here 11:39

Maine Department of Marine Resources proposes lower elver quotas for tribes

elver eelAs Maine’s 2015 elver season draws near, state officials are looking to adopt a rule that would reduce catch allocations for the state’s four federally-recognized Indian tribes. Last year, the Passamaquoddy Tribe was limited to harvesting no more than 1,572 pounds, This year, the department is proposing to limit the Passamaquoddys to 1,356 pounds Read the rest here 18:40

Elver Eel exporters may need new license

elver eelThe Maine Department of Marine Resources is preparing legislation that would require individuals who ship the baby eels overseas to purchase a $5,000 exporter’s license. The state already licenses both elver fishermen and dealers, so DMR officials said the exporter license will ensure the state is monitoring every aspect of an industry that has drawn poachers and federal scrutiny in recent years. Read the rest here 10:45

Stronger restrictions imposed on elvers, frustrating fishermen – Regulators also will keep a new quota system

swipe cardThe decision affects the livelihoods of the hundreds of people working in the fishery, which has recently been the second-most valuable fishery in the state, behind only lobsters. This spring, the catch had an estimated value of $8.4 million. Read the rest here 09:30

New Regulation to Prevent Gear Conflict Between Lobster and Herring Fishermen

The Maine Department of Marine Resources has implemented an emergency regulation to prevent potential gear conflict between herring fishermen and lobstermen working in an area off the coast of Mount Desert Island. Read the rest here  18:21

Maine proposes rules to manage growing black sea bass fishery. Black Sea Bass, ya say!!!!

Maine fishery officials are proposing regulations to manage black sea bass, a species that is increasing in abundance in the state’s waters. Scientists say black sea bass are increasing in Maine’s waters because of temperature increase over the past 10 years. You don’t say! Read more here 15:14

Dredge opponents fear Penobscot River pollution

For the opponents of the Searsport dredge project, mercury contamination is the big worry. Those concerns deepened in February when the Maine Department of Marine Resources closed seven square miles to lobster and crab fishing after unsafe levels of  Read more here 08:25

Public Enemy #1: Rule changes put green crabs on Maine’s front burner

There’s a great big target on the backs of predator green crabs now, thanks to rule changes by the Maine Department of Marine Resources that went into effect this week. Read more here 10:09

Scallop council rejects state agency’s recommendation, urges longer season

BREWER, Maine — A divided state scallop advisory council ignored the recommendations of dmr com keliher with the Maine Department of Marine Resources and proposed the same number of fishing days for next season. Justin Boyce, a scallop dragger from Stonington, which is in Zone 2, who serves as vice chairman of the council, was critical of the department’s recommendations. Read more here 07:30

In Maine, a key day for elvers regulation

The panel deciding whether to set catch limits or even close the fishery will take comments from fishermen and state officials, and there could be tension. The hearings in Hallowell and Brewer will be held by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which has the authority to set catch limits and establish other rules governing East Coast fisheries from Maine to Florida. Read more here 07:55

Herring fishermen lose on higher haddock bycatch limit

Herring fishermen are struggling to avoid haddock because the stock on Georges Bank is increasing, said Tooley, who also is a council member but recused herself from Thursday’s vote. At the same time, federal regulators have lowered the cap for haddock bycatch from previous years, she said. “The biomass has gone up and the cap has gone down. That’s the problem,” she said. Read more here 11:12

MACHIAS, Maine – Despite two good scallop years, lean season predicted ahead

Scallop fisherman enjoyed a banner year in 2013, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources, but they are likely to have smaller catches next season because of conservation measures. Read more here 18:36

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to consider capping shrimp licenses

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission restricts the impact of fishing on northern shrimp in the Gulf of Maine by setting a cap on the total amount of shrimp that can be harvested by licensed fishermen from the three gulf states — Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Read more here 16:38

Maine says swipe cards made elver season a success

One of the state’s most lucrative and threatened marine fisheries – elvers – rebounded this year, prompting the Maine Department of Marine Resources to declare the just-completed eight-week season a success.Meanwhile, state officials said Tuesday they are considering expanding a new swipe card system – a mechanism used to track an individual elver fisherman’s catch – to other fisheries. Read more here  08:15

$1.6 million in disaster aid split among 50 Maine fishermen

“The fishermen have been regulated so tightly they can’t earn a livelihood anymore,” he said. Maine fishermen have stayed within their catch limits for years but have suffered the consequences of “inflexible federal regulations,” Gov. Paul LePage said in a prepared statement. “I am glad that this economic relief will give Maine fishermen the flexibility to make an investment in their future, because our fishermen want a hand up, not a handout,” LePage said. Read more here 21:10

Thousands of alewives return to Penobscot, tributaries after nearly 200 years without adequate access to upstream habitat

After nearly 200 years without adequate access to upstream habitat, the alewives finally are back. And not just a few of the river herring have returned. We’re talking thousands … and thousands … and thousands. Read more here  11:19

Money available for Maine scallop projects – sea urchin survey underway

seacoastonlinelogoPORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s annual spring dive survey of green sea urchins is underway. Read more here   — Maine Sea Grant is seeking proposals for research projects related to the nearshore scallop fishery in Maine.  Read more here  11:03

With young lobsters in decline, concern for Maine fishery rises

Warmer ocean temperatures, pollution, atmospheric conditions and changes in predation and availability of food could all be to blame, say scientists, state officials and industry leaders. Lobsters are very sensitive to even subtle changes in temperature, scientists say. Maine Department of Marine Resources officials say the decline does not appear to be the product of overfishing, as some environmental groups contend. portlandpress  Read more here 09:49

Maine scallop season strongest in 12 years – fishermen caught 424,547 pounds of scallop meat

scallop seasonMaine’s four-month scallop season that ended in March apparently will be the state’s strongest in years, despite a harsh winter and new regulations unpopular with some fishermen, preliminary data show. Read more here  21:03

Maine elver eeling begins Sunday under strict quotas, monitoring

For the first time, fishermen eelers will be required to stay within individual catch quotas in response to rising concerns about the sustainability of one of only two elver fisheries in the U.S. Maine also is implementing an electronic swipe card system that will allow regulators to monitor how many eels are being caught daily and shut down individual fishermen – or the entire season – if limits are exceeded.  Read more here kennebecjournal  08:39

FDA approves new shellfish testing at Maine lab

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Maine’s Bigelow Laboratory to use a new method of testing shellfish toxicity that lab officials say is the first of its kind in the nation.  Read more here  wlbz2.com 17:19

Maine lobster industry encouraged to plan ahead for likely fishery decline

BDNPatrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, stressed that message Tuesday to a few dozen lobstermen and other people who attended an industry meeting at the local Neighborhood House.  Read more here  07:29

Lawmakers sink Passamaquoddy bid to exempt tribal fishermen from individual elver catch quotas

BDNDue to concerns about the impact on the population of American eels from Maine’s elver fishery — the only such fishery on the East Coast that nets any significant amount of the newborn eels — Maine, for the first time ever, has imposed individual quotas on elver fishermen. Read more here  08:45

Maine’s new elver rules will delay season start until April

BDNJeff Nichols, spokesman for Maine Department of Marine Resources, said Tuesday that because of the time needed to work out the logistics of the new measures, the season is not expected to start until April 5. Read more here  16:36

Maine Voices: The Press Herald misrepresented state’s timely actions on lobster contamination

The Portland Press Herald’s recent articles calling into question the timing of the state’s action to close a small area in the Penobscot River to lobster and crab fishing were irresponsible and cast a shadow over the strong leadership and responsiveness demonstrated by the state,, Read more here  21:17


Panel endorses changes to tribal elver bill, deal ‘pretty much gone,’ says tribe

AUGUSTA, Maine — Changes that a legislative panel made Wednesday to a tentative agreement, state fisheries officials had made with the Passamaquoddy Tribe over elver fishing mean that the agreement is “pretty much gone,” according to a tribal official. Read [email protected]  09:15