Tag Archives: Maine Department of Marine Resources

Governor Mills Announces Cost Relief for Maine’s Commercial Fishermen and Aquaculturists

The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) will use $8.3 million in Federal funding to reimburse resident commercial fishermen, dealers, processors, and aquaculturists for the cost of their 2022 licenses, as well as additional fees associated with licenses such as trap tag fees for lobster license holders. The Department will also waive lease fees for active commercial leases for the 2022 lease year through a separate process. The first round of payments, which amount to $4.2 million, will be mailed by the end of this month for license holders who purchased their license between November 15, 2021 and March 31, 2022. Reimbursements for licenses purchased during each of the remaining quarters of 2022 will be mailed separately. >click to read< 16:45

Breakable lines, remote control traps: Maine lobstermen grapple with an onslaught of new rules

Last week federal officials announced they aim to deploy high-tech fishing gear on as many as 100 lobster and crab boats in New England. It’s the latest move to bring Maine’s lobster fleet into a new era, as an onslaught of potentially transformative federal regulations intended to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales take effect. At a Damariscotta River wharf piled high with gleaming yellow lobster traps, boat captain Eben Wilson and his sternman, Daniel Barter, deftly pull strands of colored rope apart, then knot plastic links in between. “I think the next five years from the lobster industry perspective is going to be difficult,” says Patrick Keliher, Commissioner of Maine’s Department of Marine Resources. >click to read< 15:13

American Aquafarms appeals DMR lease application decision

American Aquafarms has appealed a recent decision by the Maine Department of Marine Resources to terminate two lease applications for a proposed salmon farm in Frenchman Bay. American Aquafarms (AAF) is asking the court to vacate the DMR’s decision and send the applications back to the department for continued consideration. The DMR, in a statement, said it stands behind its decision to terminate the lease applications. The reason for termination, according to the DMR, lies in the proposed egg stock that American Aquafarms had listed in its application. >click to read< 09:41

Maine Lobstermen should see flexibility in enforcement of new NOAA gear rules

The deadline for lobstermen to comply with new regulations meant to protect North Atlantic Right Whales has come and gone. State officials estimate that 50% to 60% of federal lobster fishery permit holders are not yet fully compliant with new rules requiring either new “weak rope”  or plastic weak links be spliced into existing end lines. Supply chain issues are a big reason why. While they declined to move the May 1st deadline… NOAA recently announced they would allow a quote graduated enforcement effort that will focus on compliance assistance rather than civil penalties. Video, >click to read< 09:48

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

Lincoln County a Growing Force in Maine’s Elver Fishery

The elver fishery is the second most valuable fishery in Maine despite its brief season, lasting only 11 weeks from March 22 to June 7. Recent years have seen annual income generated by the fishery exceed $20 million. And from a per pound perspective, it easily tops lobsters as the most lucrative fishery in the state, and possibly in the country. The demand for elvers is driven by the overseas market where baby eels are grown to size in specially designed aquaculture facilities for use in Asian cuisine. Once mature, the eels are also processed and shipped back to the U.S. where they are a popular dish on sushi menus. While still in its infancy, U.S. based eel aquaculture is poised to be another factor in the fishery. photos, >click to read< 15:24

“I guess they’re too weak.” Weak lobstering gear recalled as new whale regs approach

The weak link made by Plante’s Buoy Sticks was pulled off shelves by the company this week, taking away one of the handful of gear options at lobstermen’s disposal to meet new federal rules that go into effect May 1. One retailer said their shop was told the links were believed to be breaking too easily. Plante’s links are one of three models approved by NOAA,,, Virginia Olsen, Maine Lobstering Union, said she sent a notice to her members about the issue and hoped the recall would prompt NOAA to review allowing fishermen the easier option of putting knots in their ropes to make them weaker. “It truly would be a great assistance to us if those knots were acceptable,” she said. >click to read< 14:21

Lobstermen worry looming deadline for new regulations comes ‘too soon’ to change gear

At the beginning of the year, Maine lobstermen were having a hard time finding the new gear that is being required to help protect right whales. Though suppliers are now starting to see these new weak ropes and links come in, they haven’t received a flurry of new orders despite the looming spring implementation date. Starting on May 1, lobstermen, depending on where they fish, will have to have ropes running from their buoys to traps that can break with 1,700 pounds of force, or have inserts in the line that allow it to snap easier should a whale ever get entangled in them. >click to read< 11:15

Maine: 2021 Lobster Harvest the Most Valuable in the History of the Fishery

According to recently updated data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources, 2021 was the most valuable year in the history of Maine’s lobster fishery. At $724,949,426, the landed value for the iconic fishery jumped by 75 percent over 2020, by far the single largest increase in value, year over year. Of note, the increase in value from 2020 to 2021, $312,464,172, was more than the total landed value in 2009. “The Maine lobster industry remains a cornerstone of our states coastal economy and identity because of the uncompromising commitment to quality that follows every lobster, from trap to table,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I will continue to work tirelessly to support this vital Maine heritage industry.” >click to read< 17:09

Maine considers fund for lobster fishermen/gillnetters hurt by whale rules

Maine is by the far the most significant lobster fishing state in the country, and members of the state’s industry have warned they will suffer because of the new rules. A proposal from Democratic Rep. Holly Stover of Boothbay would create the fund, which would provide grants for lobster fishermen as well as some fishermen who harvest other species with gillnets. “The lobster industry is an economic driver of our local economy, hands down,” Stover said. “This is not a fisheries disaster, this is an economic disaster.” >click to read< 11:18

Maine Granted Intervenor Status in Lawsuit Challenging Federal Regulations

Governor Janet Mills announced today that the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has been granted intervenor status in Maine Lobstermen’s Association v National Marine Fisheries Service, a lawsuit before the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. that challenges Federal regulations hurting Maine’s vital lobster industry. It is the Mills Administration’s latest effort to stand up for the lobster industry and its hard working men and women in the face of the Federal government’s burdensome proposal. >click to read< 09:26

Maine: Two More Towns Join Fight Against Industrial Salmon Farm Near Acadia

“Momentum continues to build against this inappropriate and destructive project, and we expect more towns and local groups to join the opposition in the weeks ahead,” said Kathleen Rybarz, president of Friends of Frenchman Bay and member of Frenchman Bay United, a coalition of organizations and individuals that is leading the fight against salmon farm. “People in the communities around Frenchman Bay and Acadia National Park understand clearly that this project threatens local jobs in fishing and tourism as well as the natural environment and their quality of life.” “This is no place for 30 massive salmon pens, using unproven technology and pumping 4.1 billion gallons of effluent into the bay each day,,, >click to read< 13:48

“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