Tag Archives: Patrick Keliher

2021: A Year of Historic Value for Maine Commercial Fishermen

On the strength of an historic year for lobster and a rebounding elver fishery, the value of Maine’s commercially harvested marine resources in 2021 reached an all time high at $890,668,873. According to recently released data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the overall value earned by harvesters in 2021 jumped by more than $365 million and exceeded the previous overall record of $733,691,455, set in 2016, by $150 million. >click to read< 09:30

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

COVID-19 saves right whales by sinking cruise ships

Canada created the Shediac ship restricted zone in April 2020 just a couple weeks before Holland America’s Zaandam was scheduled to sail through that zone on a shipping lane used only seasonally by cruise ships as a shortcut to Quebec City. However, a COVID-19 no-sail order in March 2020 superseded that restriction. Consequently, there was not one Canadian ship right whale strike death in two years and only one Canadian crab entanglement death,,, Zero whales were killed by lobster gear. There has not been one death from lobster gear in the U.S. and only a couple in Canada in over 20 years but the Center for Biological Diversity, with no supporting data, claims the whales are going extinct based on lobster entanglements. >click to read< By Jim O’Connell 07:31

Fed Right whale plan could mean lobster industry changes – a reinvention of the fishery as we know it

Federal officials recently released plans,,, But it’s the risk reduction target, an aggressive 98 percent, that Maine Department of Marine Resources officials said means only one thing, “a complete reinvention of the fishery as we know it.” The conservation framework, an addition to the 582-page biological opinion, creates a four-phased approach to all but eliminate the death and serious injury of the whales in federally managed fishing grounds. The first phase calls for a 60 percent reduction in right whale deaths and serious injuries this year. Patrice McCarron, Maine Lobstermen’s Association, fears the industry can’t sustain that level of change.  “If you look at the changes we’ve made over the last 25 years, there’s not a lot left to give,”, >click to read< 10:27

It’s time to open the economy back up! Maine Lobstermen Seek Ways To Prevent Financial Crash

Anti-glut tactics might include limiting days at sea, narrowing size limits or barring the catch of single-clawed lobsters to reduce the overall haul. In an online meeting Monday, Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher told Downeast lobstermen that he’s found no consensus on the best course of action. Lobsterman Jim Hanscom, of Bar Harbor, says he is wary of intervention by Gov. Janet Mills. “This governor scares me on a lot of levels, and the idea of her having the ability on shutting this fishery down or stopping dealers from buying, I think it’s just dangerous.” Keliher is scheduled to brief Mills on the issue Tuesday,,, >click to read< 10:40

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

CARES Act : Maine’s cut of $300 million in federal seafood industry funding is nation’s fifth-highest.

Maine is in line to get $20 million to help its battered seafood industry weather the COVID-19 storm. The award, announced Thursday by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, comes out of the $300 million in federal funding included in the CARES Act to help the U.S. fishing industry survive the economic losses associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Maine’s award was the fifth-highest out of 31 states. Commissioner Patrick Keliher said Thursday that he was only just learning about the award and would not be making any comments about distribution plans, , or priorities, until he received specific guidance from the NOAA. >click to read< 13:44

Coronavirus affecting Maine fisheries

As of early Wednesday morning, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention had yet to report a single confirmed or presumed case of COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus, in eastern Maine, but the lobster industry is already feeling the impacts of the global pandemic. “The market is really poor,” Stonington lobsterman Hilton Turner said Tuesday afternoon.,, The uncertainties arising from the coronavirus will likely affect other fisheries. The state’s elver fishing season opens on Sunday, and virtually the entire harvest is shipped to buyers in China. >click to read< 10:19

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

Lobstermen’s Association rejects DMR whale proposal

Efforts to find consensus over how to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales from entanglement in fishing gear without decimating the Maine lobster industry took a blow last week. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) announced that it would not support a plan developed by the Department of Marine Resources “because it seeks reductions that exceed the documented risk posed by the Maine lobster fishery” and “creates unresolved safety and operational challenges for some sectors of the lobster industry,”,,, >click to read< 10:43

Lobstermen Question State Whale Plan at Waldoboro Meeting

Lobstermen expressed a mix of frustration and acceptance upon hearing the state’s new plan to protect North American right whales during a meeting in Waldoboro on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher presented the state’s proposed gear rules and fielded questions in the Medomak Middle School gymnasium. Photo’s >click to read< 09:55

Lobster industry split over whale protection plan called Maine’s ‘line in the sand’

Some fishermen at the South Portland meeting cheered the plan. One gave Keliher a standing ovation, saying the new proposal was much better for the lobster fleet than the task force plan rolled out in August that called for 50 percent fewer buoy lines. But fishermen in Ellsworth and Waldoboro, the site of the first two meetings this week, urged Keliher to resist federal pressure to make concessions that would hurt lobster fishermen when they pose no real threat to the whale.,, “Grow a backbone,” one lobstermen told Keliher. “Don’t give them anything now.” >click to read<  07:47

Lobstermen hear proposed measures to mitigate danger to right whales

Patrick Keliher, the commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, explained the plan the DMR will submit to the federal government, hoping the proposal is strong enough to meet guidelines.,, Correction, George Michael Bernier, who fishes out of Gouldsboro, said the proposed changes — while more palatable than the previous plan — still increase the danger and the cost for fishermen. Bernier said plenty of fishermen have thought of selling out but said they are just in too deep. Many would face bankruptcy if they did so,,, Video, >click to read< 06:20

‘It Sucks … But I’m Going To Try It’ — Officials Present Proposed New Gear Rules To Maine Lobstermen>click to read<

Maine proposes targeted exemptions to help lobster industry weather whale crisis>click to read<

DMR’s answer to whale rules focus offshore

Last week, DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher announced that after “rigorous scientific analysis,” the department had come up with a new draft plan to address “both the risk to right whales and concerns of fishermen” that is “in keeping with the real risk the Maine fishery presents.” Last March, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced that the risk of injuries to right whales in the Gulf of Maine had to be reduced by at least 60 percent. Last March, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced that the risk of injuries to right whales in the Gulf of Maine had to be reduced by at least 60 percent.,,, The rule also would extend electronic vessel monitoring now required on boats that hold permits to fish for species other than lobster in federal waters to all federally permitted lobster boats. >click to read< 11:27

Keliher gives fishermen homework on whale rules

“Feel free to yell at me,” Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), told a packed gym at the Trenton Elementary School Tuesday. “But it’s the federal government that’s driving the bus here.” Keliher was in Trenton for the first in a series of meetings with lobstermen up and down the coast to discuss specific ways for the lobster fishery to meet targets established in April by the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team (TRT), which works under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. >click to read<11:51

How an invasive species or pig hide could solve Maine’s lobster bait crisis

Gulf of Maine lobstermen are casting around far and wide for new kinds of bait now that federal regulators have cut herring quotas by 70 percent. Possible solutions range from the mass importation of a nuisance fish from the Midwest, to manufactured baits, to pig hides. Fisheries managers estimate a 50-million pound “herring gap” in Maine over the next year. To help close it, they are turning to colleagues in Illinois. >click to read<09:33

From Carp to Pig-Hide: Bait Shortage Means Change for Lobsters’ Diet – (a lot more information in this article) >click to read<

Maine Lobstermen Face 50 percent Trap-Rope Reduction To Protect Right Whales

Representatives from 14 Atlantic coast states participated in the four-day consensus-building project, including fishermen scientists, state regulators and conservation groups. The stakes were highest for Maine’s lobster industry, which landed $484 million worth of the crustaceans last year – the most valuable single-species fishery in the nation. The Cape Cod Times reports that Massachusetts and New Hampshire agreed to a 30% cut in the number of vertical lines, and to use ropes that break at a reduced weight. “The regulations proposed here today are a big ask,” says Patrick Keliher, the commissioner of Maine’s Department of Marine Resources. >click to read<13:06

NOAA – Team Reaches Nearly Unanimous Consensus on Right Whale Survival Measures ->click to read<15:50

UNACCEPTABLE – Strict right whale protection goal raises concerns among lobstermen

Patrick Keliher, head of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, announced the proposed target at a conference of U.S. and Canadian lobstermen in Portland Friday while defending a decision to cancel three meetings with Maine fishermen to talk about looming right whale protections.,,, The National Marine Fisheries Service estimates that fishing rope entanglement kills or seriously injures five to nine right whales a year,… A few minutes later, Keliher got an email from the fisheries service that spelled out its risk reduction target. Frustrated, he stood up and delivered apparent bad news – he told an already exasperated audience that the service now wanted a 60 percent to 80 percent reduction in the size of the lobster fishery. The room erupted with anger. >click to read<22:49

MDI native to lead Maine Marine Patrol

Lieutenant Jay Carroll of Southwest Harbor, a 23-year veteran of the Maine Marine Patrol, has been promoted to Colonel, chief of the state’s marine law enforcement branch. He will begin work in his new role April 1, replacing Jon Cornish who officially retires April 5 after 34 years of service. “I am honored to take this next step in my career and look forward to working with the talented, hard-working Marine Patrol professionals whose efforts are critical in sustaining our state’s valuable marine resources,” Carroll said in a statement. >click to read<09:51

Despite a banner year, looming bait crisis leaves plenty of Maine lobstermen anxious

Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, is worried about the severity of herring restrictions imposed by the federal government after the species failed to reproduce in sustainable numbers last year. “It’s about as bad as we can imagine, but we don’t yet know what it’s going to translate to for the fishermen,” McCarron said. McCarron said that Maine fishermen face a shortage of some 50 million pounds of bait in the coming season. “We’re seeing an 84 percent reduction in that particular source of bait, so we’ll have less than 5,000 metric tons, which will probably be caught in a week, in one week,” she said.>click to read<12:04

Whales and license laws top lobster industry agenda

The blowy weather that made lobster fishing a hard chance recently might well have been a blessing in disguise. The wind and cold certainly have given shorebound Maine lobstermen a good chance to learn about the tempests engulfing their industry in the Legislature and the world of fisheries regulation. Already beset by limits on how they fish — trap numbers, trawl length, the kind and strength of rope used for groundlines and buoy end lines are all regulated in the name of conservation or protecting endangered northern right whales — lobstermen are waiting to see what new rules regulators may impose on the fishery. >click to read<11:45

Atlantic Lobster Board Moves Toward Reducing Rope In Effort To Save Right Whales

A consortium of Atlantic states fisheries managers is calling for broad changes to the gear lobstermen use, in an effort to reduce risks posed to the endangered North Atlantic right whale and to ward off potential federal action that could be even more challenging for the industry. At a meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council in Virginia, its lobster board voted unanimously to set in motion the process that could lead to major changes in the East Coast’s lobster industry. >click to read<12:43

Marine Resources Committee open for business, sets Keliher confirmation hearing

The Marine Resources Committee has new co-chairs, Sen. Dave Miramant (D-Knox County) and Rep. Joyce McCreight (D-Harpswell), and will hold its first hearings this week. First out of the gate at the Marine Resources Committee is LD 4 — “An Act To Encourage Applied Shellfish Research” — sponsored by Rep. Robert Alley (D-Beals) and scheduled for a hearing at 1 p.m. on Thursday Jan. 24. >click to read<14:46

Fishing industry lobbies for Maine commissioner to retain his post

The leaders of Maine’s fishing industry want Patrick Keliher to stay on as head of the state’s Department of Marine Resources under incoming governor Janet Mills. “Our industries are confronted by major issues on the water, in international waters, and within several regulatory arenas that have major consequences for our ability to do business and remain profitable,” industry leaders wrote in a rare joint letter to Mills. “The future success of Maine’s seafood industry depends on the continued strong leadership, stability, institutional knowledge and political capital that only Commissioner Keliher possesses.” >click to read<10:36

Maine fisheries groups support DMR Commissioner Keliher

In what must be a first in modern history, virtually every commercial fishing organization in Maine joined together to urge Governor-elect Janet Mills to keep Patrick Keliher on the job as commissioner of Marine Resources after she takes office in January. First reported in the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s Landings, shortly after the election, the MLA, Downeast Lobstermen’s Association, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, Maine Aquaculture Association, Alewife Harvesters of Maine, Maine Elver Fishermen Association and the Independent Maine Marine Worm Harvesters Association signed a letter to Mills voicing the organizations’ unanimous support for the current DMR commissioner. >click to read<18:08

ASMFC block Northern shrimp harvesting for 3 more years

Citing continuing concerns that further fishing could drive the species to extinction, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted Friday to cancel not only the 2019 Maine shrimp season, but the 2020 and 2021 seasons as well. Commissioners from New Hampshire and Massachusetts supported the closure, while Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, voted no, according to Tina Berger of the commission. DMR spokesman Jeff Nichols said in an email that Keliher would have supported a one-year moratorium. >click to read<17:59

Whale protection, trawl limits entangle Zone C lobstermen

October is a peak month, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, for feistiness in Maine’s population of hornets and wasps. Lobstermen too, judging by last week’s meeting of the Zone C Lobster Management Council at Deer Isle-Stonington High School.,, While the trawl rule was at the forefront of last week’s debate, lurking just below the surface was a technical memorandum issued late last month by the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center. >click to read<11:49

Elver fishermen push for higher quota, say resource isn’t endangered

Despite the abrupt end to the elver season last month due to poaching, elver fishermen continue to support an increase in Maine’s annual catch limit. The Bangor Daily News reported that more than 60 elver fishermen appeared at a hearing held Wednesday by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission — the interstate body that oversees the eel and elver fishery, among others — to consider whether to raise the quota from 9,688 pounds to 11,749 pounds. >click to read<13:47

Illegal fishing drives early shutdown of elver fishery

The Department of Marine Resources announced Wednesday afternoon that it will shut down the elver fishery two weeks early “because of illegal sales which jeopardize the department’s ability to manage the fishery.” The department will use its emergency rulemaking authority to close the season. The elver fishing season will close at 6 a.m. on Thursday, May 24. The season was scheduled to end at noon on Thursday, June 7. Under the regulation, licensed harvesters may not fish for or take elvers after 6 a.m. on May 24, but may possess and sell elvers until noon on that day. Licensed dealers may purchase elvers until noon on May 24, and may possess legally purchased elvers until 6 a.m. on May 29. >click to read<08:34