Tag Archives: Maine Lobstermen’s Association

Seventh-generation fisherman Carlton Elbridge Joyce of Swans Island, Me. has passed away

Carlton Elbridge Joyce peacefully left for his heavenly home on Sunday, May 5, 2024, while his family kept vigil at MDI Hospital. Though strong at 85, he could not overcome an aggressive bladder cancer that was diagnosed in February. Born on March 17, 1939, in Rockland, to Robert McKay Joyce and Roberta Laverne (Simmons) Joyce, Carlton was raised on Swan’s Island with his younger siblings Sharon, Bonnie, Laverne, and Matthew. He joined the military and was proud of his service with the United States Army. His favorite stories from his time in Germany included his first captivating glance of the beautiful Army girl from Hawaii. On May 24,1962, he married the love of his life and brought her to his island on the other side of the world. Together for 61 years, they built a life they loved in a place he called paradise. His undying devotion and admiration for his wife is a legacy of love for his family. A seventh-generation fisherman, Carlton had a passion and keen instinct for lobstering and the fishing industry. He loved everything about his life on the water. His last boat was designed for Pacita’s comfort and together they lived out their working days with a tenacity that sustained their fishing career through the fall of 2023. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:38

Federal Government Picks New England Offshore Wind Power Site, Drawing Cheers and Questions Alike

The federal government on Friday designated a large area off the New England coast for offshore wind production development, setting the stage for a possible lease sale within the Gulf of Maine.  The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said in a statement that the New England zone, which renewable energy advocates have identified as crucial for the growth of wind power, “avoids important areas for lobster fishing, North Atlantic right whale habitat, and other important fishing areas and habitats.” The move came a day after the country’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm opened off Montauk Point, New York. Environmental groups cheered the announcement, but some members of the commercial fishing industry, which has opposed wind development in areas where they trap lobsters, said they still have concerns about locating offshore wind in the area. more, >>click to read<< 12:23

Maine Lobstermen’s Association Releases Statement on Final Wind Energy Area

“The Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) appreciates that BOEM’s Final Wind Energy Area (WEA) removes Lobster Management Area 1. “MLA worked tirelessly with Maine’s fishing industry, our congressional delegation, and Governor Mills to ensure prime lobster fishing grounds are spared from industrial development. We are proud that so many lobstermen have constructively engaged in this process and grateful that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has listened to their concerns. “But there is still much work to do. Secondary Area C, an area where many endangered North Atlantic right whales are sighted, is included in the Final Wind Energy Area. MLA remains steadfast in its position that no area of the Gulf of Maine should be industrialized with offshore wind. There are still too many unanswered questions about the impacts of offshore wind on the marine environment, commercial fishermen and our fishing heritage.” https://www.mainelobstermen.org/ 12:57

Feds announce areas where offshore wind can go in Gulf of Maine

Federal regulators have made a final designation of roughly 2 million acres in the Gulf of Maine where offshore wind turbines can be deployed to help provide power to New England. The boundary set by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management does not include any part of the federal lobster management area 1. That fishing area extends from state waters about three miles offshore to about 40 miles. The closest the designated federal wind energy area comes to Maine’s coast is just outside the fishing zone. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association said Friday that it appreciates that the fishing zone is excluded from the wind area approved by BOEM. But it said that it remains “steadfast” in its position that industrial wind power development does not belong anywhere in the Gulf of Maine. more, >>click to read<< 12:39

Maine lobstermen will not be scapegoated over right whale

New England fishermen are bracing themselves for another salvo of regulation and activist pressure after the tragic entanglement death of a right whale that washed ashore on Martha’s Vineyard. While the future of our fisheries is uncertain, 2023 showed how much resilience and determination there is in our maritime communities. My organization – the New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association – and our many partners are prepared to ward off any attempt to scapegoat Maine lobstermen for the declining population of the majestic right whale. Regulators and out-of-state agitators are together impugning one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world for right whale deaths. Their claims are baseless and contradicted by their own data. As agencies and NGOs ponder next steps, they might consider the fighting spirit this last year has showcased among fishermen. more, >>click to read<< by Dustin Delano 12:06

Maine Lobstermen’s Association tallies its victories, future risks at annual meeting

“Every year, there is a new issue facing the industry,” Tristan Porter, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA), said as the trade organization opened its 70th annual meeting during the Maine Fishermen’s Forum on March 1. For lobstermen and the commercial lobster fishery, there are three big issues facing the industry: protecting North Atlantic right whales, maintaining a sustainable fishery and the federal leasing in the Gulf of Maine for floating offshore wind energy — plus the myriad of federal and state regulations and public hearings and, at times, lawsuits, that go with them. 8 photos, more, >>click to read<< 08:44

Maine lobstermen made more money in 2023 despite catching fewest lobster in 15 years

Maine lobstermen raked in $464.4 million at the docks last year, rebounding from the worst year the fishery had seen in a decade, according to an annual report from the Maine Department of Marine Resources released Friday. The dwindling number of landings isn’t necessarily a surprise, though. State officials and members of the lobstering community say the decrease reflects the impacts of high costs to operate the fishery last year. And the dip in poundage indicates how lobstermen navigated the challenging obstacles.“Fishermen are now very strategic about how they fish. Expenses are through the roof, so you can’t afford to be out if you’re not making money,” said Patrice McCarron, a lobsterman and policy director with the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. more, >>click to read<< 16:26

Statement from Maine Lobstermen’s Association on Right Whale death

“The Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) is deeply saddened by the death of a juvenile right whale that NMFS has attributed to the Maine fishery. We know that entanglement in Maine gear is extremely rare. This is the first reported entanglement of a right whale in Maine lobster gear in 20 years and the first death attributed to the fishery. Maine lobstermen have made significant changes to how they fish over the last 25 years to avoid entanglement and continue gear testing. The MLA will continue this important work as we review the data and evidence that NMFS has collected. MLA remains committed to finding a solution to ensure a future for right whales and Maine’s lobster fishery”. 16:50

A treasured industry and an endangered species compete for survival

On a cold morning in January, Chris Welch is already out preparing his boat. This time of year, his days begin before sunrise. It’s a ritual he’s grown accustomed to — at just 35 years old, he’s already spent decades working in the lobster business. “I started lobstering when I was six.” Welch said. Being a lobsterman in Maine is less of a job and more of a lifestyle. It’s a family business for many, including Welch, whose learned the ropes from his grandfather.   But recently, the focus is less on what lobstermen’s ropes are pulling up and more on what may be running into them. Video,  more, >>click to read<< 10:23

Following Legal Victory for Maine Lobstermen’s Association, State Receives $17 Million from NOAA to Improve Data on Right Whale

This federal funding comes just months after the federal court of appeals ruled in favor of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) in their lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) — a subagency of NOAA — for adopting improperly-founded regulations against the industry. In September of 2021, the MLA filed a lawsuit against the agency alleging that their efforts to protect the NARW were unlawful, as the regulations promulgated were founded upon a “simplistic and false premise” that “exaggerates and arbitrarily inflates the risk posed by the Maine lobster fishery.” The MLA stated that the NOAA’s analyses was “unlawful” as they “did not rely on the best available scientific information, made erroneous and arbitrary assumptions unsupported and contradicted by data and evidence, relied on an outdated and flawed methodology to model projections of the North Atlantic right whale population, and inexplicably failed to account for either the positive impact of mitigation measures already or soon-to-be employed by the Maine lobster fishery.” more, >>click to read<< 07:09

Dec 15 deadline nears for lobster boat tracking devices in federal waters

Maine lobstermen who fish in federal waters have only a few weeks left until the Dec. 15 deadline to install and activate recently distributed tracking devices on their boats to comply with a regulation of the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). The Particle One devices were sent by Maine’s Department of Marine Resources (DMR) with an accompanying letter of explanation. As required by the ASMFC regulation approved last year, each minute the boat is moving, the tracker will collect both the time and its position.  The device will also monitor a boat when it is tied up every six hours until it moves again. Local lobstermen are concerned monitoring their locations infringes on their privacy, while ASMFC believes it will be useful information to have. Some lobstermen have returned the trackers to DMR. >>click to read<< 13:02

Fishermen in Maine lobbied to keep wind farms out of crucial fishing grounds. Will it happen in N.S.?

A no-compromise lobbying campaign by Maine lobster harvesters has helped keep wind farms out of a crucial lobster fishing area in the Gulf of Maine. And that has some fishermen in Nova Scotia casting an envious eye south of the border. “I’m pleased to see that happen in Maine. We’d like to see the same sort of diligence taken in Nova Scotia,” said Tommy Amirault, a fisherman from Pubnico and president of the Coldwater Lobster Association. “Maine obviously has concerns. It would be nice to see both provincial and federal governments take our concerns into practice,” Amirault said. “We didn’t mince words that we opposed offshore wind anywhere in the Gulf of Maine. It’s one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. And we really didn’t think that this is the place to solve the renewable energy crisis,” said McCarron. In Nova Scotia, the process has just begun. He said it’s no surprise fishermen have concerns about where it happens. >>click to read<< 06:57

Maine State Chamber of Commerce puts spotlight on lobster

Maine lobster contributes $1.4 billion to the state economy and 4,000 jobs on the shore, from live lobster dealers to processors to workers on the piers. And those numbers don’t include lobster-based tourism, Linda Caprara, interim CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, noted Sept. 28 in an online panel discussion in honor of Maine Lobster Week. Then, there are the 5,000 licensed lobstermen and their crew who all earn their livelihood on the water. Last year, just below 100 million pounds of lobster landed on docks from Portland to Lubec with a value of about $390 million. “We’re catching a lot of lobster,” said Marianne LaCroix, executive director of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative. >>click to read<< 08:51

Experts fear American fishing industry, boating at risk as Biden prioritizes climate, green energy

The Biden administration has prioritized green energy at the expense of endangered whales and the U.S. fishing industry with regulation that limits both commercial fishing and recreational boating, according to experts. As they are imposing more regulations, they are also promoting offshore wind, which is actually harming commercial and recreational boating and potentially killing whales, Brady and Lapp said.  “They positioned us as being these evildoers and now, 20 years later, whales are dropping dead like pigeons in Manhattan,” Brady said. “Here commercial fishermen and coastal communities are at the front line of fighting to protect the ocean itself, and we have crickets from virtually every NGO.” Video, >>click to read<< 09:09

Fishermen’s Alliance Highlights Offshore Wind Threat to Haddock, Lobster Fisheries in Gulf of Maine

An alliance of groups representing New England’s fishermen is highlighting scientific research that suggests offshore wind development could have “population-scale effects” on key fish and crustacean species in the Gulf of Maine, including electromagnetism-induced deformities in lobsters. The New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association (NEFSA) on Monday released an “Offshore Wind Research Summary” summarizing the existing scientific research on the environmental impact of offshore wind power development. The scientific evidence, they believe, shows that offshore wind development would have unpredictable and potentially harmful consequences for key marine species, such as lobster and haddock. >click to read< 17:37

Maine Fishermen, scientists find flaws in potential wind energy lease areas

BOEM officials called the meeting to review newly released draft maps of where federal leases could be offered in the Gulf of Maine, known as the “call” area. They wanted fishermen’s feedback to see where the maps fell short based on what fishermen know from working on the water. “This is very difficult for our industry to face,” said Dustin Delano, New England Fishermen Stewardship’s chief operating officer, former vice president of the Maine Lobster Association and a fourth-generation lobsterman out of Friendship. “A lot of us feel this is going to wipe us off the map.” The fishermen present were unconvinced but resigned. >click to read< 07:55

NOAA wants to expand ‘ropeless’ fishing gear pilot to include some Maine lobstermen

Last winter as part of a pilot project, some Massachusetts lobstermen were allowed to fish in areas that are seasonally closed to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales. But they had to use so-called “on-demand” or “ropeless” fishing gear and work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to share their feedback. Now NOAA wants to expand the program to include lobster and other fixed-gear fishermen throughout New England. Federal officials have proposed issuing permits to more than 200 people, with priority given to those who fish closed areas during the winter. More than 100 people in Maine fish those closed areas. And fishermen aren’t thrilled with the idea of opening access to only some of them, said Patrice McCarron of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association — unless there’s enough on-demand gear to go around to everyone. >click to read< 10:00

This fishing gear can help save whales. What will it take for fishermen to use it?

Fishing boats would normally still be unloading Dungeness crabs at San Francisco’s fisherman’s wharf in May. This year, the docks were quiet, except for one berth. “We’re the only boat right now,” says Brand Little, standing next to a large tank of bright red crabs on the deck of his boat, the Pale Horse. State regulators closed the Dungeness season two months early this year, due to the arrival of humpback whales in the area. On both the East and West Coasts, crab and lobster fishermen are seeing their fishing seasons shrink over concerns that whales are getting entangled in the long ropes attached to their gear, accidents that often end up injuring or killing the animals. Photos, >click to read< 08:08

Federal judges: Data does not prove Maine lobstering endangers whales

Friday, a panel of judges ruled that data on entanglements in lobster fishing gear does not support the need for the new strict limits on where and how lobstermen could fish. Those regulations, set by the National Marine Fisheries Service, were put in place under the authority of the Endangered Species Act to protect the 340 North Atlantic Right Whales whales left. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association says there is no evidence of Maine lobster gear ever killing a whale. There has been no documented entanglement of a North Atlantic Right Whale since 2004. “Every lobsterman in Maine was facing a decision of whether or not they would be able to continue in the fishery,” MLA policy director Patrice McCarron said. Video, >click to read< 08:55

Court decision a major win for Maine’s lobster industry

In its decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with the plaintiffs, Maine Lobstermen’s Association, and plaintiff-intervenors the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the Maine Lobstering Union, and the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, ruling that NMFS distorted the science driving the regulation, relying improperly on assumptions and worst-case scenarios when determining the risk posed by industry to right whales. The court noted that the lack of data led NMFS to conclude the lobster and Jonah crab federal fisheries kill 46 whale deaths per decade, a “staggering departure from the two documented deaths known to have originated in all U.S. fisheries over a period of nine years.” >click to read< 09:58

Federal appeals court sides with lobstermen in whale protection case anchored off New England

A federal appeals court has sided with commercial fishermen who say proposed restrictions aimed at saving a vanishing species of whale could put them out of business. The fishermen and the state of Maine appealed their case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after losing in a lower court. The appeals court said Friday it disagreed with the lower court’s ruling. Maine Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, and other Maine politicians have sided with the fishermen, who feel the new fishing restrictions are based on flawed data and are overly punitive. The U.S. lobster fishing industry, worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year, is based largely in the state. “We’re facing rules that are just nonsensical,” said Dave Cousens, a lobster fishermen and past president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “They don’t pass a straight-face test.” >click to read< 15:32

The Mallett Brothers Band to Headline Event Celebrating Maine’s Lobstering Heritage

Preparations are underway for a day-long festival this summer to celebrate Maine’s lobstering heritage. “Music, Masts, and Lobster Traps” will be held on Sunday, August 27 at Maine Maritime Museum in Bath and culminate in a late afternoon performance by Maine’s own The Mallett Brothers Band. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance (MLCA) which, with support from the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA), is working to ensure a vibrant future for Maine’s fishing families and the communities in which they live and work. >click here to read the details< 14:24

Maine bill to pay lobstermen to test new gear gets initial Senate approval

The bill seeks to set aside $1 million a year for the next two years to help lobstermen comply with federal regulations that could kick-in within six years. Following the Senate vote on Tuesday, bill sponsor Sen. Eloise Vitelli (D-Arrowsic) said federal regulators have “targeted Maine’s lobster industry as a scapegoat.” “The bipartisan fight against these untenable regulations is ongoing,” she said in a statement. “This bill will help make sure that lobstermen are prepared for what might be on the horizon.” Vitelli’s bill, which faces additional House and Senate votes, would provide stipends to reimburse lobstermen for time they spend testing gear. >click to read< 09:05

Role of Unionized Firms at Center of Maine’s Offshore Wind Debate

On Thursday the Maine Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee held a public hearing on a proposal to pave the way for the development of offshore wind infrastructure in the Gulf of Maine, including the construction of a coastal manufacturing facility that would build the offshore floating wind turbines Lawmakers also considered Thursday Rep. Tiffany Strout’s (R-Harrington) LD 1884, a bill that would block offshore wind developments. In recent years, the prospect of filling the Gulf of Maine with hundreds of wind turbines has taken on an air of inevitability, with environmental groups, industry groups, and well-paid lobbyists pouring millions of dollars into political pressure campaigns and ad campaigns designed to build support for the project. Unions, construction companies, investment companies, and lobbyists are all lining up to secure their share of what could be one of the largest taxpayer-funded projects in the history of the state. >click to read< 09:42

Maine: Fishing industry forum May 24

Our way of life up and down the Maine coast is under attack. Families that have made their living in the lobster industry for generations are on the road to extinction. If the federal government has their way, pending regulations will force the lobster industry out of business and the Gulf of Maine will be reserved for offshore wind. The Lincoln County Republicans are hosting an event on May 24 where the public can hear, firsthand, from three prominent men in the Maine fishing industry – Representative Billy Bob Faulkingham, Dustin Delano and Jason Joyce. The event will be held at Coastal Christian School, 574 N. Nobleboro Road, Waldoboro. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. >click to read< 15:52

Under pressure, Maine lobstermen could get funding to test new gear that could safeguard whales and their livelihoods

Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli (D-Arrowsic) is sponsoring LD 1552, which would set aside $1 million a year for the next two years to provide stipends to lobstermen to test new lobster gear. “Over the past several years many fishermen have come to terms with the fact that some level of innovation will be needed to ensure the future of the fishery.” A move by the state’s congressional delegation late last year delayed implementation of additional regulations for six years, buying the industry time to “develop new fishing gear technologies,” Patrice McCarron, policy director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, wrote to the committee. Studies are looking at whether ropeless technology can be used, but McCarron doesn’t believe that’s the answer. >click to read< 15:29

New bill would expand state waters in attempt to protect Maine lobstermen from federal regulations

State Sen. Eric Brakey, the bill’s sponsor, said the proposal is intended to protect Maine lobstermen from what he says are overly burdensome federal regulations, particularly those aimed at protecting endangered right whales. “LD 563 would throw the yolk of these federal regulators off our Maine lobstermen by extending Maine’s claim to the sovereignty of our oceans from three miles to 12 miles, subjecting our lobstermen to the rules of Maine regulators, accountable to Maine people, rather than Washington, DC regulators who seem accountable to no one,” he told the Legislature’s marine resources committee Thursday. >click to read< 10:39

The Case: Defamation suit marks shift in fight over lobstering – MLA says Seafood Watch assessment intentionally misstates facts

A University of Maine Law School professor says it’s unlikely a judge or jury will actually settle the science around lobstering’s impact on North Atlantic right whale mortality in a recently filed defamation lawsuit against Seafood Watch and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation. Instead, Dmitry Bam explained, the case—if it ever reaches trial—will probably turn on whether the aquarium’s seafood sustainability program was negligent or reckless about the evidence it actually used to claim that scientific data demonstrate that lobstering harms the endangered whale species. Last fall, Seafood Watch put American lobsters on its red list of foods to avoid because it “is caught or farmed in ways that have a high risk of causing harm to wildlife or the environment.” >click to read< 11:45

Faulkingham Pitches $1,000,000 State Contribution to Lobster Legal Defense Fund

A public hearing will be held Thursday to discuss a bill aimed at providing financial support to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA), a group that represents Maine’s lobster industry. The bill, proposed by House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor), would provide the MLA with a one-time contribution of $1,000,000 to offset large expenses the organization has incurred in recent years as it fights against burdensome federal regulations. Faulkingham expressed his concern for the Maine lobster industry, which he says is “under attack” and facing potentially devastating regulations and lawsuits. >click to read< 08:57

Thanks for the support

On behalf of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those involved in the recent fundraiser held at Robinson’s Wharf to benefit the Save Maine Lobstermen’s Legal Defense Fund. A huge thank you to everyone at Robinson’s who made this event so successful, with a special thank you to Craig Slater and family for hosting the event at the “Wharf,” and for the generous donation of 100% of the proceeds to the cause. I would also like to thank all of the sponsors for their support. The MLA started the Legal Defense Fund in order to raise money to fight back and sue the National Marine Fisheries Service, who are not using the best available science to base new lobstering regulations to save the North Atlantic Right Whales. >click to read< 09:52