Tag Archives: Maine Department of Marine Resources

“No Industrial Scale Fish Factory in Frenchman Bay” – American Aquafarms reps, critics take sides

Longtime South Gouldsboro lobsterman Frank Hammond has fished for decades in “The Hop,” an area northwest of Long Porcupine Island, where one of American Aquafarms’ sites would be located. He estimates about 15 to 20 lobstermen fish there from South Gouldsboro, Hancock, Sorrento and Lamoine. “I am dead against it. There is nothing to gain from this,” Hammond said at Saturday’s event. “The fishermen will never go for it if they’re going raise the fish in The Hop.” Another South Gouldsboro lobsterman, Jerry Potter, echoed Hammond. >click to read< 08:34

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

Proposed salmon farm highlights competing visions – Groups Oppose Industrial Aquaculture in Frenchman Bay

American Aquafarms wants to put 30 salmon pens in Frenchman Bay at the foot of Acadia National Park While the company said the proposed aquafarm will be good for Maine, people who currently make their living on the water aren’t convinced, and oppose the project. “These are the wrong people with the wrong project and the wrong technology in absolutely the wrong place,”  >video, click to read<Groups Oppose Applications for Industrial Aquaculture Leases at the foot of Acadia National Park in Frenchman Bay – The pens in Frenchman Bay would grow 66 million pounds of farmed raised salmon and compete with lobstermen who have also expressed their concerns. Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Foundation  Executive Director Crystal Canney said, “There are many things wrong with this project, especially as it relates to the deleterious effects it may have on the environment. On a statewide level, these conflicts continue to grow. PMFHF has heard from more than 30 lobstermen who fish in Frenchman Bay. They are concerned about the loss of bottom but also concerned that the rules and regulations at the Department of Marine Resources are risking the livelihood of a $1.6 billion industry.” >click to read< 14:53

Elver eels rocket back up in value!

Maine is home to the U.S.’s only significant fishery for the baby eels, which are called elvers, and it’s taking place right now. Prices tanked last year due to disruption to the worldwide economy caused by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. This year, the fishery is experiencing a return to normalcy. The tiny, wriggling fish are worth $1,634 per pound to fishermen, the Maine Department of Marine Resources reported on Monday. They’ve been worth between $1,300 and $2,400 per pound every year since 2015, except last year, when they were worth $525. >click to read< 11:22

Fishermen, DMR: New North Atlantic Right Whale regulations could cripple lobster industry

The proposal, released in late December 2020, includes measures like regional gear marking, breakaway rope, extra traps per trawl line and restrictions on certain fishing areas. But it is the emphasis placed on ropeless fishing traps that has officials at the Maine Department of Marine Resources most concerned. In its Biological Opinion regarding right whales and the fishing industry, NMFS identifies ropeless fishing as a solution, among others, to reduce whale entanglements that cause death or serious injury. DMR argues that ropeless gear is largely under-researched and unaffordable. DMR used EdgeTech traps to estimate cost increases associated with converting to ropeless fishing,,, An EdgeTech fishing unit costs $3,750,  >click to read< 19:36

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

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

Proposed Frenchman Bay salmon farm plan prompts call for review of state licensing rules

Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage is calling for the Maine Department of Marine Resources to not only reject an as-of-yet unfiled proposal for a roughly 110-acre penned salmon fishery, but also revise the rules governing how such projects get approved. The group argues that without proper regulatory constraints, the state’s fast-growing aquaculture industry could disrupt traditional fishing activity and overtake the coast with large,  industrial fish farm operations. In October, American Aquafarms entered into an agreement to purchase the Maine Fair Trade Lobster facility in Gouldsboro, where it plans to develop its hatchery and processing facilities, officials said in a news release. Backed by Norwegian investor Mikael Roenes, the American Aquafarms proposal includes 30 150-foot salmon pens,,, >click to read< 17:37

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

Maine Governor proposes offshore wind farm moratorium

Gov. Janet Mills on Monday proposed a 10 year moratorium (just say no!) on new offshore wind projects in state-managed waters and other actions aimed at calming concerns among the fishing industry about her plan to create the nation’s first floating offshore wind research farm in the Gulf of Maine. In a letter Friday to licensed commercial fishermen, the Democratic governor said she would propose the moratorium to the Legislature. >click to read< 12:38

DMR Needs Your Correct Address Information to Distribute CARES Act Relief Funds

In May, the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) notified you that Maine has been allocated $20 million in CARES Act relief funding to support the recovery of Maine’s commercial fishing, seafood, aquaculture, and charter fishing industries from the financial impacts of COVID-19.  Following additional guidance from NOAA provided in June, DMR has been working on developing the “spend plan” for these funds, which must be approved by NOAA. DMR anticipates that we will be reaching out to all potentially eligible parties in August 2020. In preparation for that, we want to ensure that we have the most up-to-date contact information for all of our license holders. links, more information,  >click to read< 16:59

Judge James Boasberg’s court ruling puts future of Maine lobster industry at risk

United States District Judge James Boasberg’s order found that the National Marine and Fishery Services violated the Endangered Species Act by licensing the lobster fishery. In the second phase of the case, the judge will decide what action is necessary to rectify the situation. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association, an intervenor, and other industry stakeholders around the Gulf of Maine, will submit information for the judge to consider in his ruling.,, Activist Richard Strahan filed a motion in federal court in Bangor to stop fishing in Maine May 15, citing violations of the Endangered Species Act, Maine Public reported. The Maine Department of Marine Resources has no intention of curtailing lobster permits, said spokesperson Jeff Nichols. >click to read< 09:45

Maine lobstermen spray-paint trap lines for whale entanglement study

Stores up and down the coast special-ordered quantities of purple paint this winter in anticipation of a state-inspired data collection effort, spearheaded by the Maine Department of Marine Resources. With approximately 4,500 commercial lobstermen in the state setting up to 800 traps each, that is a lot of purple spray paint. For those who got a jump on the lobster season, the job was underway in late February, indoors, amidst fumes of acetone and toluene. For others, it has been an outdoor project, long and messy. But the lobstermen mostly agree that at least the state and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration will gather definitive evidence indicating whose lines — U.S., Canadian, from Maine or other states — are entangling the endangered North Atlantic Right Whales in the Gulf of Maine and Atlantic Ocean. photos, >lick to read< 17:57

Coronavirus: Elver Season Starts, But Prices Plunge

At 8 a.m., Monday, March 30, about 30 elver fishermen were at the Pemaquid Falls town landing to claim their fishing spots for a shortened season. The elver, or glass eel, season in Maine got off to a late start because of a coronavirus-related delay from March 22 to March 30. Bristol Town Administrator Chris Hall said in a phone interview March 30 that he estimates there were at least 60 fishermen at Pemaquid Falls on opening day last year. The price of elvers has dropped significantly this year, from more than $2,000 per pound in 2019 to $500 per pound, the lowest starting price since 2010. This is down from a price of $2,700-$2,800 at the start of the 2018 season, the highest ever seen in Maine’s elver fishery. photo galley, >click to read< 18:51

Maine’s lobster catch down in 2019 season, but the value stayed high

Maine lobstermen saw the overall catch drop in 2019, but prices remained high and many fishermen earned roughly the same amount they did the year before.,,The report shows the lobster catch was 100,725,000 pounds. That’s down more than 20 million pounds from the previous year, but because prices remained high, the value of the catch to fishermen totaled more than $485 million — nearly the same as the year before. Last year’s long, cold spring weather was blamed for the unusually slow start to the season, affecting water temperatures which, in turn, affect lobster. Video, more >click to read< 13:46

Knox County lobstermen earned $139 million in 2019 -The value of Maine’s commercially harvested seafood in 2019 was the second highest of all time at nearly $674 million, and an increase of more than $26 million from 2018. Knox County continued to be near the top in the state for lobster landings,, more>click to read< 15:14

DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher: NMFS didn’t give the state’s plan credit for all of its whale protections

The state Department of Marine Resources believes that its right whale plan, with its range of lobster fishing restrictions meant to avoid gear entanglements, clocks in right around the 60 percent risk reduction target sought by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Federal regulators – who determined that the state plan reduced risk by just 52 percent – failed to give Maine credit for all its proposed protection measures, as well as those enacted since the last federal right whale review in 2014, Marine Resources Commissioner Pat Keliher said Wednesday. >click to read< 07:15

Maine Lobstermen Dismayed By Fed’s Push For More Gear Changes To Protect Endangered Whale>click to read<

Ventless trap survey seeks industry participants

The Maine Department of Marine Resources, in cooperation with the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation, is seeking industry participants for the Regional Ventless Trap Program through a competitive bid process. The cooperative research project between industry and scientists from Maine to New York seeks data on relative lobster abundance and size distribution. All traps, line and buoys will be supplied to participating fishermen, >click to read< 10:14

Maine DMR wants to close the pogy fishery to newcomers for 2 years while it crafts a new FMP/Enforcement plan.

“Closing fisheries is kind of a radical step and a dangerous step because it eliminates diversity,” said Commissioner Pat Keliher. “We’re not saying close it in perpetuity. Close it to see if there is a different approach here that would allow us to get both enforcement and reporting back under control.” Keliher said the 2019 menhaden season was challenging because of “a perfect storm of circumstances.” A sharp reduction in the herring quota spurred huge growth in the menhaden fleet, with 50 new boats rushing to satisfy the $485 million lobster industry’s need for substitute bait. >click to read< 07:23

Maine: September 2020 Trap Gear Marking Requirements

Maine Department of Marine Resources September 2020 Trap Gear Marking Requirements. Trap gear fished in water inside the exemption line: THREE PURPLE MARKS- 36” purple mark within top two fathoms, 12” purple mark midway, 12” purple mark at bottom of the buoy line. (No green marks allowed inside the exemption line). Trap gear fished in waters in the Sliver Area (between exemption line and 3nm line): FOUR PURPLE MARKS and ONE GREEN MARK- 36” purple mark and 6” green mark within top two fathoms,,, >click to read< 14:18

Maine Department of Marine Resources Submits Right Whale Proposal to NMFS

In response to requirements under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has submitted a proposal for regulatory changes to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in advance of federal rule making. >click to read< 13:21

“This is our line in the sand,”: Facing new threats, lobstermen take hard line against right whale protections

“My administration will not allow any bureaucrat to undermine our lobster industry or our economy with foolish, unsupported, and ill-advised regulations,” Governor Janet Mills told a crowd of cheering lobstermen at a protest this summer at a protest this summer in Stonington. The backlash started shortly after a government-appointed team of scientists, fishermen, and others urged the agency to require lobstermen to reduce their buoy lines, among other measures.,, But with increasingly vocal protests across Maine’s rugged coast from rank-and-file lobstermen, the state’s leaders — including their entire congressional delegation,,,  >click to read< 12:17

Scallop Drag and Dive License Lotteries Winners Announced

The Maine Department of Marine Resources has announced the individuals whose names were drawn in the 2019 scallop drag and scallop dive license lotteries. For the 2019 licensing year, six drag licenses were made available. Nine drag licenses were retired in 2018, and a ratio of 3:2 is used to calculate the number of new drag entrants. Four dive licenses were made available. Four dive licenses were retired in 2018, and a ratio of 1:1 is used to calculate the number of new dive entrants. >click to read the details< 16:13

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

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<

“Our landings are way off ” Maine landed less than 50 million pounds by end of September

As of the end of September, Maine fishermen had landed less than 50 million pounds of lobster, according to Commissioner Pat Keliher of Maine Department of Marine Resources.  Keliher told the American Lobster Management Board on Monday that some of the year-to-date decline could be because lobsters molted late this year. The bulk of Maine’s lobster fleet catches new shell lobster, or lobsters whose new shells are just starting to firm up after shedding their old ones.  “Our landings are way off. Now that doesn’t mean the sky is falling. That means we certainly had a very big delay in the shed.” >click to read< 15:39

Aquaculture, lobstering tussle headed to Maine statehouse

Democratic state Sen. David Miramant, of Camden, is proposing a bill that would make approval criteria for new aquaculture leases stricter. Miramant’s bill would require new lease applicants to demonstrate that no practical alternative exists that would have less of an impact on existing uses. The proposal would also reduce the maximum lease acreage a person can hold from 1,000 acres to 50 acres. The proposal comes as some lobstermen are sounding the alarm that the increase in fish and shellfish farming in Maine’s waters could limit their ability to lay traps. >click to read< 13:04

New Maine proposal to protect whales, spare lobster fishing

Maine fishery regulators are unveiling a new right whale protection plan they feel will satisfy federal requirements while also preserving the state’s lobster fishery. Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher says his department’s new proposal would remove 25 percent of the lines beyond an exemption line for inshore fishermen. >click to read<17:16

Maine’s plan to protect right whales will likely affect a minority of lobstermen – “Our goal was to develop a plan that was protective of right whales but is also protective of the economic prosperity of Maine fishermen, and more importantly, for their safety,” said Commissioner Pat Keliher. “We can do that by addressing the risk where it actually occurs.” >click to read<

Cold Spring, Late Molt Lead to Slow Start for Lobster Fishery

South Bristol Fishermen’s Co-op President Tim Alley said the co-op’s numbers are down so far in 2019, although he doesn’t know how much.
Kathleen Reardon, lead lobster scientist for the Maine Department of Marine Resources, said in an email that, from “anecdotal info filtering through the industry, the South Bristol Co-op experience is similar to other areas.” However, DMR landings numbers are not available yet. The DMR usually releases the information in February or March of the following year, when it has compiled all the data. >click to read< 08:04

Three Charged with Violating Laws Intended to Protect Rebuilding Atlantic Herring Stock

The investigation, which took place during August and September, found that the fishing vessel Western Sea, operated by Glenn Robbins, exceeded the 160,000-pound weekly limit on two occasions. “At a time when regulators have drastically reduced harvest limits to address declining Atlantic herring recruitment, this is an especially egregious violation.”, said Marine Patrol Colonel Jay Carroll.,,, Ethan Chase, 42 of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who also operated Robbins’ vessel, was cited,,, Dealer Dustin Reed, owner of wholesale seafood dealer New Moon Fisheries, has also been charged,,, >click to read< 14:58

Two Mainers, N.H. man cited in landing of too many herring>click to read<

Maine: Second round of meetings scheduled on right whale issue

Earlier this week, DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher announced that he would hold a second round of meetings with each of the state’s seven Lobster Zone Management Councils to consider area-by-area suggestions of how to deal with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s proposed rule that would require a 50 percent reduction of vertical endlines on lobster traps in much of the Gulf of Maine. >click to read<  11:27