Tag Archives: Department of Marine Resources

Maine cancels right whale meetings with lobster industry

The state Department of Marine Resources is canceling a series of meetings with the lobster industry next week to talk about right whale protections, saying it has nothing new to present to lobstermen until federal officials clearly identify a risk reduction target. The National Marine Fisheries Service, which is tasked with protecting right whales from entanglement in lobster fishing gear, is introducing new scientific methodologies and analyses that could cause large-scale changes to the lobster industry, Commissioner Patrick Keliher said. >click to read<11:11

Lobstermen petition state to tighten aquaculture rules, want a moratorium on large aquaculture leases

A wave of aquaculture operations has swept along the coast in the last few years, sparking concerns from some about waterfront access, aesthetics and interference with other commercial fisheries. “I’m here to let the Department of Marine Resources know that their system of granting aquaculture leases is broken or even worse, non-existent, as far as it pertains to the commercial lobstermen in this state,” said John Powers, a lobstermen who has fished around Brunswick for 40 years, at a press conference in the State House Wednesday. >click to read<12:24

Cod fishery plummets to least valuable year since 1960s

Maine’s cod fishery, once one of the most lucrative in the Northeast, has declined to the point that it had its least valuable year in more than a half-century in 2018. The state’s industry harvesting the fish-and-chips staple goes back centuries, and it once brought millions of pounds of the fish to land year after year. But data from the state Department of Marine Resources indicate the state’s cod were worth just over $200,000 at the docks last year — less than the median price of a single-family home in Maine. >click to read<09:56

Stonington remains top port in 2018

After a 16 percent drop in 2017, commercial lobster landings and value rebounded in Maine in 2018, bringing in 119,640,379 pounds of lobster for $484,543,633 in ex-vessel value. An increase in boat price, from $3.92 per-pound in 2017 to $4.05 in 2018, helped drive the over $46 million increase in lobster landing value in Maine, which totaled $637,174,944, according to preliminary figures released by the Department of Marine Resources on March 1. >click to read<11:52

Cut in herring quota bodes ill for lobster

Imagine running a trucking business and having your supply of diesel fuel cut by70 percent. For all practical purposes, that’s what happened to the Maine lobster industry last week. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries arm announced that it was cutting the 2019 herring quota by about 70 percent. That’s bad news for lobstermen. While diesel oil is the fuel that powers most lobster boats, herring is the fuel that powers the Maine lobster industry. Herring is the most popular bait used in the Maine lobster fishery and with the cut in the herring quota from about 110 million pounds last year to about 33 million pounds this year, bait is going to be scarce, and expensive. >click to read<22:16

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

Pembroke river closure upsets scallopers

The closure of all of the Pennamaquan River to scallop dragging because of the mooring field off the Pembroke boat landing on Hersey Neck has upset some scallop fishermen who would like to drag in that area. Perry fisherman Howard Calder notes that draggers used to go there first at the start of the season because there were so many scallops there. While they’re no longer as abundant in the river, the area does provide a sheltered place for dragging on windy days. “It’s too bad to have it completely shut down,” he says. The area was closed to scallop dragging at the request of the Town of Pembroke, according to Jeff Nichols, the communications director for the Department of Marine Resources (DMR).  >click to read<16:25

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: Scallop season opens to positive early reports

The Downeast scallop season got underway this weekend and early reports are that the fleet was active, the fishing good and the price satisfactory. Divers got the first crack at scallops in Blue Hill Bay as their season opened on Saturday. Draggers had to wait until Monday to get out on the water. According to Marine Patrol Sgt. Colin MacDonald, plenty of them did despite less than ideal conditions. Saturday was a good day for diving. Though the temperature was chilly, scallop buyer Joshua Buxton said divers selling to him at the South Blue Hill pier all reported that there was no wind on the bay and that the water wasn’t rough. Monday was a different story,,, >click to read<10:20

Commercial fishermen oppose proposed oyster farm in Brunswick

A group of Brunswick commercial fishermen opposed an application by Mere Point Oyster Co. for a 40-acre lease in Maquoit Bay. “If I can’t go there because there’s something in the way, then I’m not going to stand for it,” lobster fisherman Andrew Ulrikson said during a Nov. 19 hearing held by the Department of Marine Resources, The Times Record reported. But Marine Resources aquaculture program director Jon Lewis said that the project can be approved with conditions to follow certain practices. >click to read<17:43

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

Large pogy catch good news for Maine lobstermen who feared bait shortage

All of the landings have yet to be counted, but officials say it is likely that an unusually large pogy fleet will have caught almost 7 million pounds of the fish, which is more than double last year’s landings. This comes as especially good news for Maine lobstermen, who use pogies to bait their traps when the herring supply runs low, as it is expected to this year. “Every pogy used was herring not used,” said Kristan Porter, a Cutler lobsterman and president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, which has been working with its members to prepare them for the herring shortage. >click to read<07:09

Halibut landings up, so Maine halibut landings to go down

Just as in the physical world, it’s a quirk of the regulatory world of fisheries management that when something goes up, something must go down, and it isn’t always the same thing. Last week, the Department of Marine Resources held a series of public hearings in Ellsworth, Machias and Augusta on a proposed regulation that would shorten the Maine halibut fishing season by 20 days, cut the number of allowable hooks for halibut fishing on each boat and ban possession of halibut by fishermen who have state-issued halibut tags who have been fishing outside the three-mile state waters limit. >click to read<10:55

The only Mainer ever to have fishing licenses permanently revoked facing eel charges

On Tuesday, a warrant was issued for Lucas Lemoine’s arrest after he failed to appear in court in Hancock County on two fishing-related misdemeanor charges, according to court documents. Lemoine, 36, of Southwest Harbor, has 30 criminal convictions or civil adjudications for fishing violations that date back to 1998, according to Department of Marine Resources spokesman Jeff Nichols. In 2015, his fishing licenses were revoked permanently by DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher for what Keliher at the time called “a pattern of willful disregard” for Maine’s marine resources laws. At one point in March 2015, weeks before his scallop and lobster licenses were revoked,,, >click to read<10:41

Court dismissal ends lobster dealer’s potboiler

A saga involving allegations of skullduggery by a Mount Desert Island lobster dealer on the waters of Blue Hill Bay reached its final chapter last week in Ellsworth. A Superior Court judge dismissed a single charge against Donald Crabtree of failing to keep required records or not reporting all of his lobster purchases. The story began in the summer of 2015 with an investigation by Maine Marine Patrol officers who had heard complaints that Crabtree was buying lobsters on a barge moored outside Seal Cove in Blue Hill Bay but wasn’t filing the required landings reports with the Department of Marine Resources. >click to read< 11:39

Scientists say Maine’s lobster boom won’t last. Here are the fisheries coming next

In southern New England, many fishermen have turned their attention to species such as Jonah crab and black sea bass, the numbers of which have increased as ocean temperatures warm and as lobster in the region have become more scarce. Maine’s lobster landings remain near historic highs, but some say the changes that have occurred south of Cape Cod are inevitable in the Gulf of Maine. “I know it’s a hard concept to get around, but it’s going to happen,” Norbert Stamps, a Rhode Island fisherman, told a roomful of other fishermen at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport in March. “It seems as the lobster declined [in southern New England], the crab increased. And sea bass are everywhere.” >click to read<10:43

Maine baby eel harvest on pace to hit record value under catch limits

Halfway through the 2018 fishing season for baby eels, the value of landings in Maine is on track to reach its highest annual total since a statewide catch limit was imposed four years ago. With the average price remaining above $2,300 per pound since opening day on March 22, the value of the statewide catch so far was $12 million as of Thursday evening. That’s just $130,000 shy of the catch value for all of 2017. It represents 4,600 pounds caught statewide since the season started, meaning fishermen have not yet reached the halfway point of Maine’s overall annual catch limit of 9,688 pounds. >click to read<10:24

Maine: Scallop fishermen near end of season

The Maine scallop fishing season opened during the first week of December and now, with two weeks or less remaining, reports on how good a season it has been are decidedly mixed. On the good side of the ledger, there seemed to be plenty of scallops, often in places where none have been seen for years, Melissa Smith, who coordinates scallop management for the Department of Marine Resources, said last week. >click to read<11:16

Maine lobster catch dips to lowest level in 6 years in ’17

The state that dominates the U.S. lobster haul saw the catch fall to its lowest level since 2011 last year, yet the industry is still strong and the crustaceans remain easily available to consumers, regulators said Friday. Maine fishermen caught a little more than 110.8 million pounds (50.3 million kilograms) of lobster last year, following a stretch of five consecutive years in which the state topped 120 million pounds (54 million kilograms) annually, the state Department of Marine Resources announced. Fishermen in Maine, who typically catch about 80 percent of America’s lobster, also made slightly less money. >click to read< 09:57

Benchmark study of lobsters begins

In 2015, data collected in a benchmark assessment of New England lobster stocks showed record-high abundance for the combined stocks of the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank and record lows for the lobster stock of southern New England. Now, about three years later, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is beginning preparations for the next American lobster benchmark assessment that is expected to be completed around March 2020. “We’re in the very early stages right now,” said Jeff Kipp, senior stock assessment scientist at the Arlington, Virginia-based ASMFC that regulates the Northeast lobster fishery. “The process will be mostly data-driven.” >click to read< 21:10

Lobstermen speak out against proposal to have Maine’s entire fleet report data

Maine doesn’t require all of its lobstermen to share their fishing data, and they say reporting even 10 percent of the country’s largest lobster fishery is enough to give state and federal regulators statistically valid data. That’s the argument advanced by lobstermen, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association and the state Department of Marine Resources against a proposal for 100 percent reporting, at a hearing held Wednesday by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. >click here to read< 11:09

Lobstermen alarmed at prospect of sharing their secrets with regulators

For generations, Maine lobstermen have fiercely guarded their fishing secrets, telling almost no one how and where they fish or how much they haul up in their traps. But under a new proposal, these independent operators would have to share all the nitty-gritty details with regulators, like where they fish, how long they let their traps soak, the kind of gear they use and how deep they set it, and how much lobster they land. click here to read the story 08:35

Maine: Bills to address commercial license glitches

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marine Resources will meet next Wednesday for hearings on three bills aimed at fine-tuning the state’s commercial fishing license system. One bill, LD1652, would allow the Department of Marine Resources to set up a limited entry system for shrimp fishermen in any year when the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission sets the state’s northern shrimp landings allocation at less than 2,000 metric tons. Currently there is a moratorium on shrimp fishing in the Gulf of Maine.,,, The two other bills are more technical. click here to read the story 11:24

DMR extends search for shrimp boat for 2018 Northern Shrimp Cooperative Winter Sampling program

The Department of Marine Resources extended the deadline and sweetened the deal in the hope of attracting applications to participate in its 2018 Northern Shrimp Cooperative Winter Sampling program. DMR was offering up to $2,500 in pay for a shrimp trawler to collect shrimp samples off the Midcoast, starting about Jan. 29. The purpose of the program is solely to collect scientific samples for DMR. No shrimp may be kept or sold. Last week, DMR announced that it was upping the ante to $3,450 in an effort to attract some interest and extended the deadline to Wednesday, Jan. 3. click here to read the story 11:55

Maine: Keliher calls special meeting to discuss trawl limit proposal

When members of a lobster management council here voted last month to change the maximum allowed number of traps on a trawl in part of the territory they represent, they thought they were off and running and a public hearing for a new Department of Marine Resources proposed rule reflecting the change would be scheduled soon. They learned different at a special Zone B Council meeting Dec. 20 at Mount Desert Island High School called by DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher to discuss the issue. click here to read the story 10:58 

Maine lobster council to keep funding marketing effort despite critics

Despite grumbling from lobster dealers, the state Lobster Advisory Council voted unanimously Thursday to continue funding the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative. The collaborative is about to begin the final year of its five-year mission to promote the state’s signature product. It wants the Legislature to renew its authorization, and its $2.2 million a year budget funded by surcharges on state-issued lobster licenses. But it needs the support of the people that its work is serving – the individual lobster zone councils and the Lobster Advisory Council that oversees it all. click here to read the story 13:29

Maine coastal town’s leaders vote to oppose offshore wind project

The St. George Select Board voted Monday to oppose an offshore wind project taking shape about 12 miles away, standing with local fishermen who say the project and its transmission cable would harm their livelihoods. The unanimous vote follows a recommendation made by an advisory committee created last month by the five-person Select Board to weigh the impact the Maine Aqua Ventus offshore wind project would have on the local community. “I think it’s a good idea we sever ourselves from [Maine Aqua Ventus] and that we support the fishermen in any way we can,” Select Board member Randy Elwell said Monday. click here to read the story 21:39

Maine: Scallop license lottery moves forward

More scalloping or more scallopers? That’s the question the Department of Marine Resources is facing with a proposed rule that would establish a lottery system for new scallop fishing licenses. Under a plan announced last week, DMR would issue annually two new scallop dragging licenses for every three surrendered. The department would also issue one new diving license for each one not renewed. click here to read the story 16:31

Maine Elver lottery gets under way Wednesday

For the first time in more than four years, a few new Maine residents will get a chance to participate in the elver fishery. On Wednesday, the Department of Marine Resources will open a lottery for at least seven new licenses to be issued for the 2018 elver fishery. The season begins on March 22. Each new license holder will be allotted a minimum of 4 pounds of the state’s aggregate elver quota. Based on the average price for the 2017 season that ended in June, that would be worth some $6,000. click here to read the story, details, and good luck! 17:18

Planned license lottery draws fire at scallop hearing

One look at the audience at a Department of Marine Resources hearing on new scallop fishing rules last week made it clear that the fishery is getting older. By a good margin, most of the three dozen or so scallop harvesters at Ellsworth City Hall last Wednesday evening had faces lined by years on the water and beards long gone gray.,,  In 2009, the Legislature passed a moratorium on new scallop licenses. It also ordered DMR to come up with a lottery system to allow new entrants into a fishery that Brooklin scallop dragger David Tarr describes as a “club. click here to read the story 12:12