Tag Archives: Maine Department of Marine Resources

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

Maine gets another 4.7 million pounds of pogy, or menhaden, but will likely need more bait fish

The state ordered its menhaden fleet to stop fishing on June 30 after officials concluded it had exceeded the state’s annual quota of 2.4 million pounds by 1.5 million pounds, the majority of which was landed in the last four days of June, according to state records. But menhaden, a schooling forage fish also called pogy, were still abundant in Maine waters from Kittery to Penobscot Bay, so Maine sought access to another 4.7 million pounds of quota that is set aside for New England states to share when they catch their limit but the fish remains in large numbers. >click to read< 10:10

From DMR, MENHADEN: Daily Reporting Required for the Episodic Fishery – The menhaden fishery will resume under the episodic event set aside (EESA) program. The quota for the EESA is 1% of the 216,000 mt coastwide TAC, which equates to approximately 4.7 million pounds. DMR has implemented emergency regulation to open the Episodic fishery on Monday, July 15, 2019. >click to read<

Mills comes out against ‘foolish’ federal regulations to protect right whales

Gov. Janet Mills is directing the Maine Department of Marine Resources to come up with an alternative to a federal plan to protect the endangered right whale from the state lobster industry, saying she won’t allow “foolish” regulations to make life harder for the state’s fishermen.,,, Some fishermen complained that it took Mills too long to come to their defense, and some worried her feisty tone might prompt federal regulators to take even more drastic action to protect the right whale, but many welcomed the support from the Blaine House.  “It’s nice to know the governor was listening to us,” said Cutler lobsterman Kristan Porter, the head of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.  >click to read< 18:30

Canadian company wins approval for new lobster bait fish

The blackbelly rosefish is an abundant species that ranges from Canada to South America. Cooke Aquaculture, a New Brunswick, Canada-based company, requested Maine’s approval to sell rosefish as bait, and the company announced plans to harvest the fish off Uruguay. “We believe this is a solution to address concerns from the lobster fishery on the challenges they are currently facing on account of bait shortages,” said Glenn Cooke, chief executive officer of Cooke Inc., which includes Cooke Aquaculture.>click to read< 22:22

How the blackbelly rosefish from South America could help Maine lobstermen who are short on bait

The state for the first time has approved using fish raised off the coast of Uruguay as lobster bait to help offset a bait shortage that could increase lobster prices. Cook e Aquaculture USA of Machiasport announced the Maine Department of Marine Resources’ decision on Wednesday, saying it could help lobstermen weather a drop in the population of their primary bait source, herring, off the Maine coast. The New England Fishery Management Council in June cut the amount of herring fishermen can catch off the New England coast in 2020 and 2021. >click to read< 21:44

Lobstermen fed up, facing drastic rules to protect whales, say president should help

More than 100 fishermen attended a meeting with Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher June 20 at Camden Hills Regional High School. Lobstermen said they have already changed to weaker, breakable lines and sinking line in an effort to pacify government regulator’s who say the whales can become entangled in the ropes and die. “The end game is to have us not fish,” one lobsterman said at the meeting. >click to read<10:00

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

Lobstermen at state hearing wary of regulations to protect whales

“Behind the scenes, they all say exactly the same thing,” Horner, the chairman of the local lobster zone council, said at a state hearing on new right whale protection regulations. “Fishermen could accept (a trap cut), I think, but not if we are going to have more people coming in to fill the gap, especially those from outside.” The Maine Department of Marine Resources kicked off a monthly series of public information sessions on the new whale rules Tuesday. More than 100 lobstermen from the local zone, which runs from Franklin to Frenchboro, turned out.>click to read<11:47

Coast to coast, companies team up to fund UMaine lobster research

A $75,000 gift from two seafood companies will fund a fourth field season for a University of Maine deepwater lobster settlement monitoring program. The deepwater research is an extension of the American Lobster Settlement Index, which was initiated in 1989 by Rick Wahle, a research professor in the School of Marine Sciences and director of the Lobster Institute. The index includes collaborators and monitoring sites from Rhode Island to Newfoundland.,,, The 2019 field season will be funded by a $50,000 gift from Ready Seafood Company, and a $25,000 gift from Santa Monica Seafood Co., a seafood distributor in California. (Thank You!) >click to read<11:42

Luciano: Could Asian carp help a desperate Maine lobster market?

Officials in Illinois and Maine hope to soon announce a breakthrough that in both states could help solve aquatic challenges and boost economics. The news could especially bring a boon to central Illinois. In Illinois, invasive Asian carp choke the Illinois River. In Maine, the lobster industry faces a crisis for a sudden lack of lobster bait. If all goes well, commercial fishers in Illinois soon could be harvesting and shipping tons of Asian carp to Maine. >click to read<

2019-2020 Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Awards Announced

Northeast Fisheries Science Center and the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) have selected 13 projects for awards through the Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program. The awards are expected to generate more than $14 million; $2.8 million to fund research, and $11.4 million to compensate industry partners who harvest set-aside quota.,,, Among the research projects that will be supported this year are automated image annotation for optical scallop surveys, testing different scallop dredges for efficiency and performance, and development of a high-resolution model to assess the potential impact of offshore wind resource facilities on the regional fishery industry.>click to read<16:42

Maine elver season gets slower start, but values still above average

Maine’s elver fishery got its start on 22 March, and at two weeks in, the average price-per-pound is sitting well above historical averages. Maine’s elver fishery made headlines last year as the prices being paid for the baby eels hit historic highs, with some reporting getting prices of over USD 2,500 (EUR 2,225) per pound. Maine Department of Marine Resources landing statistics show that the fishery brought in USD 21.7 million (EUR 19.3 million) in 2018, with an average seasonal price of USD 2,366 (EUR 2,105) per pound, making it the second-most valuable fishery in the state behind lobster. >click to read<10:42