Tag Archives: maine

Obituary: Captain Travis L. Thorbjornson, beloved husband, father, grandfather and son

Travis Lee Thorbjornson, beloved husband, father, grandfather and son, perished at sea tragically Friday, March 26, 2021 in Port Clyde. Born in Rockland, August 12, 1966, he was the son of Edward and Jacqueline (Kaler) Thorbjornson. Once you met Travis, it did not take long to realize that he was just as beautiful on the inside as he was on the outside. Travis met the love of his life, Renée Olsavick. They were married,,, Together, they would go on to raise three beautiful children in their Thomaston home. As a young man, Travis began his fishing career working with his brothers on the family owned fishing fleet. >click to read<  Travis Thorbjornson Family Support Fund – The funds collected will be given to Renee for funeral and living expenses to support her and Travis’s family as they mourn the loss of such an amazing man. >click to read< and please give if you can. 07:49

Lobstermen united against Monhegan offshore wind project

In one of Maine’s biggest lobster harbors, close to 100 fishermen and their supporters packed the town dock to stand, side by side, in opposition to offshore wind power development in the Gulf of Maine. For the fishermen, the events of the week have hardened their resolve to fight the wind turbine project, which they say will be just the beginning of more platforms being installed in years ahead. They insist the development will damage the Gulf of Maine, “It’s not about anti-wind, it’s not about anti-green,” said Friendship wharf owner Jim Wotton. “It’s about preserving the Gulf of Maine.” Video,  >click to read< 12:21

Despite unprecedented 2020 market losses, Maine fishermen brought in history’s 9th most valuable catch

Valued at $516.8 million, the ex-vessel value, or price paid at the dock, of Maine’s commercially harvested marine species was the ninth-highest on record. Maine’s lobster fishery once again accounted for most of the state’s overall landed value, with the lobster catch totaling $405.98 million. While the landed value was down from $491.2 million in 2019 and the 2016 peak of $540.7 million, it was the seventh straight year that the lobster fishery exceeded $400 million. Maine scallop fishermen brought ashore an additional 224,874 pounds compared to 2019, ranking the fishery as the third-most valuable, despite a 19-cent per pound decrease in value.  >click to read< 09:12

‘How do we stop it?’ – Lobstermen voice concerns over wind farm development in meeting with regulators

The state Gov. Janet Mills is telling Monhegan Island-area lobstermen to remove fishing gear from the path of a survey vessel, or the Marine Patrol will.,, In text and email messages sent to lobstermen Wednesday morning, DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher says he has been directed to ask the state Marine Patrol to move gear away from the route if the vessel is unable to continue its work. He also says DMR is working with the vessel to make sure it keeps its operations within a defined pathway. Keliher and other officials in Gov. Janet Mills’ administration did not immediately return requests for comment. >click to read< 10:02

The Intense, Lobster-Fueled Fight Over America’s First Floating Wind Farm

On Sunday, local Maine outlets reported that a slew of fishing boats gathered in a show of protest against a planned wind project in midcoast Maine. While the weekend flotilla of fishermen was peaceful, tensions continued to rise on Monday. That’s when the wind project’s owners accused three fishing boats of intentionally surrounding a research vessel that was out for an ocean floor survey, “creating an unsafe situation” that forced them to suspend operations,,, >click to read< 09:55

Maine lobstermen protest Monhegan-area wind project

More than 80 lobster boats lined up between Monhegan Island and Boothbay Harbor on Sunday to protest a seabed survey for a planned offshore wind turbine near Monhegan. “The boat hasn’t been staying in the survey route, and there’s been some issues with gear loss,” Dustin Delano, a lobsterman from Friendship who helped organize the protest, said this weekend. Delano estimated that more than 80 boats joined him around 9 a.m. Sunday south of Monhegan Island, where a 12-megawatt test turbine billed as the first commercial-scale project in the nation would demonstrate the  viability of offshore wind as a renewable power source. The fishermen formed a single-file line that Delano said stretched roughly 2 miles, and then traced the route back to land. >click to read< 07:05

Dozens of lobster boats gather off Monhegan to protest floating wind turbine – Gov. Janet Mills is proposing to build more of the floating wind turbines farther offshore in the Gulf of Maine. video, >click to read<

Right whales: Public comments range from ‘save the whales’ to ‘save the fishermen’

Samuel Sautaux posted his comment from Lentigny, Switzerland, located north of the Alps. His comment is among about 171,208 received from individuals who live near and far from the right whales’ cruising grounds and posted an opinion on the latest federal effort to protect the species on the public comment page overseen by NOAA. These comments are now being processed,,, Some of the comments are quite succinct, as was Sautaux’s. Others are more elaborate – including one from an author who signs as a 69-year-old, sixth generation lobsterman from Maine who says the proposal amounts to a “death sentence” on the industry. >click to read< 07:16

Maine Fishermen oppose offshore wind as alternative energy option – Support LD 101

“There’s so many different reasons to oppose it,” said Jack Merrill, a resident of Mount Desert and a member of the Cranberry Isles Fishermen’s Co-op,,, In an effort to meet Maine’s requirement of 80 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and the goal of 100 percent by 2050, there is a project being proposed to research offshore wind energy by installing up to 12 floating wind turbines in a 16-square-mile area, 20-40 miles off the coast. “By removing thousands of acres of bottom from fishing access, these turbines threaten the economic health of Maine’s second largest industry,,, >click to read< 13:48

Morro Bay: Fishing Industry Opposes New Floating Wind Farm Project Area – Tom Hafer, president of the 90-member Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization, criticized the proposal, saying it amounted to a “bait and switch.” >click to read<

Maine DMR to talk with lobstermen about floating offshore wind baloney

The Maine Dept. of Marine Resources will be holding meetings to engage with Zone Councils D, E and F who have fishermen who fish in the area being reviewed for the potential of a floating offshore wind Research Array in federal waters. The DMR will explain its role in the process, provide an overview of the project and then focus discussion on the information available about fishing activity in the area, identify gaps in that data, and summarize feedback  received through conversations with industry members.“We hope to solicit feedback from the lobster industry about our understanding of fishing activity and use in the area of interest,”  >click to read< 10:50

Maine fishermen plead for the public’s support

Gov. Janet Mills’ LD 994 law required the Public Utilities Commission to approve an experimental offshore wind farm with Maine Aqua Ventus/Diamond Offshore Wind. The research array would be up to 40 miles in size in prime fishing areas. Some see this as a step in the right direction for the environment; others, including many fishermen, fear it will do just the opposite. Some fishermen voiced concerns during a recent series of webinars. According to Dustin Delano, another meeting was scheduled, yet cancelled last minute by Diamond Offshore CEO Chris Wissemann, who said he would not be speaking if “certain fishermen” were involved. photos, >click to read< 14:52

Obituary: Roger E. Libby – Port Clyde, Maine

Roger Edgar Libby, 88, died peacefully, following a period of declining health, Friday, March 5, 2021. Born in Thomaston, he was the son of Edgar and Dorothy Cramer Libby. Following high school Roger entered the U.S. Navy serving in the Mediterranean Sea on an Air Craft Carrier during the Korean War. Returning to the States, he married Betty Kobs on June 13, 1954. Roger spent much of his career as a truck driver. Starting as a “milk man,” he worked his way up,,,. Always called to the ocean, Rogers dream was to be a fishing captain. For many years he and Betty ran a successful commercial fishing fleet. He fished off and on through his life, and in recent years loved going out on the water with his sons. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. >click to read< 14:23

Undersea cable survey marks milestone in Maine’s offshore wind quest

Three marine vessels that study the makeup and geology of seabeds are scheduled to arrive in Maine over the next week or so to survey the proposed route of an underwater cable that will link a floating, offshore wind turbine near Monhegan Island,,, The project received a major boost last August when Diamond Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp., and RWE Renewables, the world’s second-largest offshore wind company,,,  While the location of offshore wind turbines has gotten a lot of attention, the siting of the cables that connect turbines received less scrutiny, according to Annie Hawkins, of RODA, >click to read< 15:25

Maine: Local legislators sponsor bills in support of commercial fisheries

The 130th Maine Legislature has released a list of bills proposed in the House and Senate, and local representatives are focused on the commercial fishing industry, The lobster fishery, in particular, is facing competition from offshore wind energy development and conservation measures, both which affect lobstermen and their livelihood. Representative William “Billy Bob” Faulkingham, An Act to Prohibit Offshore Wind Energy Development.  Rep. Genevieve McDonald is sponsoring three fishing-related bills. Rep. Robert Alley Sr., has proposed An Act to Support Maine’s Sustainable Lobster Fishery and  An Act to Support the Sustainability of Maine’s Lobster Markets.  >click to read< 19: 33

Maine Gov. Janet Mills expresses ‘grave concern’ over plans to protect North Atlantic right whales

“The survival of Maine’s iconic lobster fishery, and in fact, our heritage, through the future of Maine’s independent lobstermen and women, depend on your willingness to act,” Mills wrote in a letter filed with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration on Feb. 19. Mills called on NOAA to develop “practical solutions” that protect right whales but allow fishing to continue.,,, Two public hearings to consider amendments to NOAA’s Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan. Those virtual hearings will be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. for southern Maine and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for northern Maine. Both will last about two hours and require pre registration https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4167147282087010060. Anyone unable to participate in the virtual hearings can submit comments to NOAA by March 1. >click to read< 09:54

U.S. lobster exports to China rebounded in 2020

While the coronavirus pandemic tanked U.S. lobster exports overall in 2020, international trade data suggests the industry’s once-thriving U.S. to China trade pipeline may be making a comeback.  International sales of U.S. lobster fell by 22 percent last year, from $548.4 million in 2019 to $426.9 million in 2020. The market saw declines in sales to each of the country’s top 10 international buyers, with the notable exception of China, which bought more than $127 million of U.S. lobster, or a roughly 49 percent increase over 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. >click to read< 10:34

Lobstermen fear new rules as Biden revokes Trump executive orders on regulation

New executive orders are flying off President Joe Biden’s desk. Many of those orders seek to reinstate regulations lifted by former President Donald Trump or enact new ones. Mainers who make a living on the water are particularly concerned about new regulations, and Maine’s Congressional delegation is concerned, as well. They’ve sent multiple letters to federal agencies, attempting to inform the rulemaking process on fishery management plans. >click to read< 08:16

Maine Commercial Fisherman Paul G. Johnson of Waldoboro has passed away

Paul G. Johnson, 60, died unexpectedly on February 8, 2021 at his home in Waldoboro. He was born September 8, 1960 in Rockland to Jesse Johnson and Winona Miller Johnson.  After high school he worked for the Poiriers of Massachusetts in the salt factory at Upton Fuel Company for a short time. Soon after, Paul returned to work on the water as a fisherman back home. He dug clams, built traps and lobstered with his father and brothers, even hauled his own gear by hand out of a wooden flat bottom skiff built by his father, Jesse, and Fernald Carter. Paul was an elver fisherman, went pogie seining, was an urchin tender for many cold winters,,, He had a big heart, and he would give you the shirt off his back, a place to stay, and his last dollar if you needed it. >click to read< 13:43

Maine fishing regulators are closing the state’s richest scallop fishing grounds

The state is closing Cobscook, Whiting and Dennys bays for the rest of the fishing season starting Sunday to help conserve the scallop population, the Maine Department of Marine Resources said Friday. Cobscook Bay is home to some of the most productive scallop fishing in the state.  Maine is also closing a handful of other scallop fishing areas around the state, including instituting a partial closure of western Casco Bay, >click to read< 13:27

Coronavirus: Why the Lunar New Year matters for Maine lobster shippers

The Lunar New Year is typically one of the busiest parts of the calendar for America’s lobster shippers, who send millions of dollars worth of the crustaceans to China every year. This year the holiday is Friday, and industry members said the Year of the Ox won’t necessarily be the Year of the Lobster. That’s because shipping has been complicated this winter by the threat of the virus. Mike Marceau, vice president of The Lobster Company in Arundel, Maine, said he isn’t expecting much in the way of exports. >click to read< 08:44

Maine lobsterman catches 1 in 30 million yellow lobster named Banana, and donates it to UNE

A Maine lobsterman caught a rare one in 30 million yellow lobster and donated it to the University of New England. Tenants Harbor lobsterman Marley Babb caught the lobster and reached out to the university after first contacting the Maine Department of Marine Resources. The Department of Marine Resources’ Jessica Waller is working on a lobster research project with UNE’s Markus Frederich. She contacted him and asked whether UNE might be interested in housing the lobster. >click to read< 20:13

The Maine Fishing community weighs in on offshore wind development

Maine’s fishing community is deeply concerned that wind development will end our fishing heritage, which has sustained coastal communities for centuries and is integral part of Maine’s identity. Without dedicated research proving otherwise, we are skeptical that offshore wind can deliver on its promise of affordable clean energy as promised by global energy companies. “The state of Maine should be wary of trading its fishing heritage by entering a race to fulfill empty promises from international energy companies,” warned Executive Director Patrice McCarron of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. Wise words from the Executive Director. >click to read< 11:30

Lobstermen react to proposed NOAA rule

A Jan. 20 public meeting on the latest proposal to reduce the risk of whale entanglements in fishing lines focused on northern and eastern Maine lobster fishing. At this latest meeting, local lobstermen echoed similar concerns they aired when discussions started two years ago: NOAA is relying on incomplete and outdated data, and fishermen are not seeing right whales in Maine waters. NOAA scientists agree that more data would be useful. >click to read< 08:19

Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Foundation is working to limit Maine’s aquaculture lease process.

With aquaculture growing, one organization is concerned about continued conflict on the coastline. Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Foundation was established two years ago. Executive Director of the non-profit, Cyrstal Canney said her group is fighting to reduce the size and amount of aquaculture leases. Canney did add her organization is not against aquaculture but wants to protect traditional fishing grounds. >click to read< 08:48

Opinion: The Reason for No Season – Jim O’Connell

These are 2 females. The black shelled female on the left did not shed this year for the first time skipping the yearly shed. It now has eggs. It was a pound and a half and does not have to shed every year anymore.,,, Canada is not protecting the reproductive potential with it’s seasonal rules. They force the lobstermen to throw the baby out with the bath water. Lobstermen who are trying to make a living for the whole year in two months are targeted on the most important lobster for reproduction.,,, The First Nations have publicly come out and said they want to improve the regulations on the present method for sustainability. Jim O’Connell, >click to read< 15:36

Lobsters to be given away to Mainers in Need Christmas Eve

Nothing says Maine generosity quite like giving away lobsters to those in need. And on Christmas Eve, no less. Local lobsterman, Noah Ames, and his family have been giving away lobster to those in need in the past and now, in the dumpster fire that is 2020, they’re not stopping as the need for food assistance is greater than ever. >click to read< with a message and details from Noah Ames! Merry Christmas!

Factory farmed salmon: inland farms offer alternative to diminishing wild stocks, with bigger carbon emissions

One of these land-based salmon farms is planned for Bucksport, Another is intended for Belfast,,, Meanwhile, Nordic Aquafarms, a Scandinavian company with two farms in Denmark, one in Norway and plans for another in northern California, has chosen Belfast for its site. A more ambitious project than that planned for Bucksport, the company hopes to create the second largest such farm in the world. Welcomed by officials for its potential contribution to the town’s economy, there has been opposition from some local people,,, Land based farming using an RAS, recirculating aquaculture system, raises the fish with no exposure to the ocean other than fast flowing, temperature controlled water which is pumped in and out of the fish tanks round the clock. >click to read< 14:15

Mayday call likely a hoax, search off Maine coast suspended

The Coast Guard said it has called off its search for three fishermen in the water off the Maine coast because the mayday call was likely a hoax. The mayday call said a 42-foot fishing boat was taking on water off the coast of Spruce Head in Knox County and the three crew members were putting on survival suits before going into the water. No name of the vessel was given in the mayday call. (no EPIRB alert) >click to read< 14:31

Maine’s booming seal population concerns local fishermen, biologists. Cod predation isn’t mentioned

Biologists say there are three points to consider: While the increase in harbor seals is creating a healthier ecosystem for the Gulf of Maine, it’s also creating problems for local lobstermen who say they’re a threat to their livelihoods, and it’s drawing new and potentially dangerous fish into our waters at a rate the state has never seen before. “I’ve had guys call me and say, ‘Are you having a problem with bait bags being ripped out because of the seals?’ and I say, ‘Yeah. I’ve had five or six.’ he says, ‘Rusty, I just had twenty traps in a row right, in a row. The seals went bang bang, bang, bang, bang right down through and ripped all the bags out,'” Court said. >click to read< Bait bags? What about cod fish bellies?!!

Despite an uncertain start to the fishery’s season, Maine lobster rolls on as the industry pivoted to new markets

Stonington lobster fisherman John Williams usually hauls his boat out in February for annual maintenance and paint in preparation for the start of the spring fishing season. “Then COVID started,”  The health emergency was worsening and the economy shutting down. That included one of the lobster industry’s biggest markets — restaurants. The large cruise ship and casino markets also slammed shut. International freight and shipping to China, emerging as a large consumer of lobster, had nearly stopped. “I got thinking about it and said, ‘This doesn’t look very good. We won’t have any market,’” Williams says. >click to read<  10:31

Maine awarded a $2.2M grant to develop a roadmap establishing an offshore wind power industry

The grant, to the Governor’s Energy Office in Augusta, is being made by the Economic Development Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce. The money will be matched with $267,624 in state funds and $112,457 in local funds. “Unleashing American innovation is critical to our global competitiveness,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in a news release. “This project will allow Maine to capitalize on its technical leadership in the wind power sector to diversify and grow the state’s economy and make it more resilient.”  >click to read< 13:48