Mark Murry Promoted to Sergeant of Marine Patrol Section Five

Alewife Tour

Mark Murry (2nd from right) is pictured with Major Rob Beal (left), Colonel Jay Carroll (2nd from left), and Lieutenant Troy Dow (right) after his recent promotion to Sergeant of Section Five

Hancock - Mark Murry, who has served as a Marine Patrol Officer for 20 years, the last 17 of which as a Specialist, has been promoted to Sergeant of Section Five, which runs from Hancock to Jonesboro. In addition to two decades with the Marine Patrol, Murry brings to the position 24-years of experience with the US Coast Guard.

As a Marine Patrol Specialist, Murry has operated large patrol vessels in the down east region. His responsibilities have included operation and maintenance of vessels, and transporting Marine Patrol Officers during patrol, enforcement, and search and rescue operations.

He has participated in numerous significant cases involving everything from ground fish to lobsters in both state and federal waters. Murry has also provided a platform for many joint operations with Coast Guard, the Marine Patrol/State Police Dive Team, and the Maine Warden Service.

"During his time in the Marine Patrol, Sergeant Murry has developed a strong working knowledge of the unique and often dangerous maritime environment downeast," said Lieutenant Troy Dow who oversees Marine Patrol personnel in Division II, which includes Murry's Section.

He has also developed an excellent rapport with and the trust of the local fishing and coastal communities, which is a critical quality for a Marine Patrol Officer.

During his tenure in the Marine Patrol he has trained and mentored new officers, served as a member of the board that qualifies Specialists, participated as a member of the whale disentanglement team and in numerous search and rescue operations.

As an Officer in the Coast Guard, Murry was responsible for administration of search and rescue logistics including budget, personnel, operational readiness, and vessel maintenance. He was also responsible for training, qualification, and evaluation of Coast Guard enlisted personnel, reservists and members of the Auxiliary.

During his career, Sergeant Murry has received several awards including the Marine Patrol Lifesaving Award, the Commissioners Letter of Appreciation, the Washington County Officer of the Year Award and numerous awards and medals from the US Coast Guard.

Sergeant Murry replaces Sergeant Colin MacDonald who transferred into the Sergeants position in Section Four after the promotion of Lieutenant Dow.

Sergeant Murry has developed strong professional skills during his time as an Officer in the US Coast Guard and in the Marine Patrol, said Lieutenant Troy. His decades of operational and administrative experience in addition to his unique understanding of the downeast coast and its communities will be a major asset in this new leadership position.

$1,136,250 in Land for Maine's Future Funding Allocated to Support Working Waterfront Access

Augusta - The Land for Maine's Future Board has selected six projects that will help protect and sustain Maines working waterfront.

Through the Working Waterfront Access Protection Program, funds have been set-aside to purchase development rights, through a legally binding agreement between the state and working waterfront owners, which will ensure that the property remains available to support commercial fishing or aquaculture activities.

Stonington Co-op at 51 Indian Point Road in Stonington has received a preliminary allocation of $216,250 under the program. The funds will be used to conduct site work which will improve shipping and receiving of lobsters and bait. The co-ops plans include the construction of a 2,000 square foot wharf that will allow boats to unload light gear and will provide 12 additional parking spaces. The site currently supports 40 fishing vessels that harvest lobster and scallops and the expansion will also allow the co-op to provide additional shoreside resources for aquaculture operations.

The Town of Jonesport, home to 500 commercial fishermen, has received a preliminary allocation of $118,750 which it will use for site design and engineering, access road and parking development, and installation of a boat ramp and two floats at Henrys Point, currently the location of a campground. The site will continue to support recreational activity, but its development as a commercial site will relieve pressure on a nearby state-owned marina, which provides the only public boat access in Jonesport.

Wottons Lobster Wharf, LLC in New Harbor plans to use funds awarded by the LMF Board to install an above ground fuel tank, additional bait storage, and a new float with lobster crate storage at its 86 Southside Road, New Harbor location. Wottons Wharf is currently used by four vessels year-round for lobster and Bluefin Tuna fishing. By improving infrastructure, the project offers the potential to add four additional full-time fishing crews and vessels. Their preliminary allocation totals $68,750.

A preliminary allocation of $301,500 has been given to the Boothbay Region Maritime Foundation which it will use for the demolition and reconstruction of Carters Wharf at 87 Atlantic Avenue in Boothbay Harbor. Carters Wharf is home to 30 lobster fishing vessels and a lobster buying station run by Lukes Lobster. The new wharf could potentially serve an additional 10-15 vessels as well as aquaculture operations and allow other types of fish to be landed including crab and tuna.

Lobster co-op Interstate Lobster, Inc. in Harpswell will use funds allocated by the LMF board to support the demolition, replacement and expansion of the existing wharf at 241 Ash Point Road. The project will improve the structural integrity of the wharf, built in 1978 and suffering from cracked and split under pinnings which have cost the co-op $10,000-$30,000 per year to maintain. The wharf supports 21 co-op members and 20 additional boats that land lobsters, scallops and menhaden. Their preliminary allocation totals $155,000.

The Spruce Head Fishermans Co-op at 275 Island Road in South Thomaston will use the $276,000 allocated by the board to pay off a loan used to purchase adjacent property which will be used to expand parking and storage for the co-ops 54 members. The co-op will then refinance the property and use the money to install a bait freezer which will help the members address potential bait shortages.

Preliminary allocations represent LMF board support for the projects, however before funds are disbursed, applicants must submit an appraisal, and complete all real estate due-diligence to the satisfaction of the State.

The Working Waterfront Access Protection Program is part of the Land for Maines Future Program. The Working Waterfront Access Protection Program fund was first capitalized by a bond originally passed in 2005 and has been renewed three times since by Maine voters. Funds are allocated by the LMF Board to support projects that sustain access to the waterfront for commercial fishing and aquaculture in exchange for development rights through a legal document called a Working Waterfront Covenant. To-date, 25 properties have received funds through the program.

The program is administered by the Maine Department of Marine Resources and the Land for Maines Future Program. More information on the program can be found at https://www.maine.gov/dacf/lmf/publications.shtml#wwapp

About Land for Maines Future The Land for Maine's Future Program (LMF) is the State of Maine's primary funding vehicle for conserving land for its natural and recreational value. The program was established in 1987 when Maine citizens voted to fund $35 million to purchase lands of statewide importance. In 32 years, LMF has assisted in the protection of 59 water access sites, 41 farms totaling more than 9,755 acres, 24 commercial working waterfront properties, more than 1,200 miles of shore lands, 158 miles of former railroad corridors for recreational trails and over 600,919 acres of conservation and recreation lands including 333,425 acres of working lands with permanent conservation easements. LMF has garnered broad based support because it respects landowner rights by acquiring land only from willing sellers, pursues a mission defined by the public, provides a tangible return to everyone who cherishes Maine's landscape, from hunters, to hikers, snowmobilers to bird watchers, and leverages both federal and private funding for state priority purchases. Learn more at https://www.maine.gov/dacf/

Lobster Zone Waiting Lists - last updated June 10, 2019

Below are links to waiting lists for entry into each of Maine's 7 lobster management zones as of June 10, 2019.

Zone A - pdf file, 3 pages

Zone B - pdf file, 2 pages

Zone C - pdf file, 1 page

Zone D - pdf file, 2 pages

Zone E - pdf file, 1 page

Zone F - pdf file, 2 pages

Zone G - pdf file, 2 pages

Preliminary End of Season Elver Landings Reported

NOTE: The following represent preliminary end of season totals for Maine's 2019 elver harvesting season, which ended at noon, June 7, 2019.

DMR

  • Pounds Reported - 7,525.48
  • Overall Quota - 7,566.3
  • Remaining Quota - 40.82

MALISEET

  • Pounds Reported - 101.16
  • Overall Quota - 106.6
  • Remaining Quota - 5.44

MICMAC

  • Pounds Reported - 38.81
  • Overall Quota - 38.8
  • Remaining Quota - -.01

PASSAMAQUODDY

  • Pounds Reported - 1,325.42
  • Overall Quota - 1,304.3
  • Remaining Quota - -21.12

PENOBSCOT

  • Pounds Reported - 615.06
  • Overall Quota - 620.0
  • Remaining Quota - 4.94

QUOTA TOTAL*

  • Pounds Reported - 9,605.916
  • Overall Quota - 9,636
  • Remaining Quota - 30.08

*All 2019 data are preliminary and subject to change without notice.

Dealers reported buying a total of 9,605.916 pounds with a reported value of $20,109,248.00 for average price per pound of $2,093.

Governor Mills Gets a Tour of Maine's Alewife Harvest Sites

Vassalboro - Governor Janet Mills recently toured alewife harvest sites in Vassalboro and Benton where she got a first hand look at the harvest and learned about the success of Maine's restoration efforts. More information about river herring restoration can be found on the Maine DMR website.

Alewife Tour

Governor Janet Mills (left) is given a tour of the Webber Pond alewife run and harvest in Vassalboro by Nate Gray (center) of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Searun Fisheries and Habitat Division and DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher

Alewife harvest Benton Falls

A birds eye view of alewife harvesting activity at Benton Falls in Benton

Webber Pond

Governor Janet Mills moves a few alewives at Webber Pond in Vassalboro as DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher and local resident Philip Innes look on.

Webber Pond

Alewife harvesting activity at Benton Falls.

Maine DMR to Hold Industry Meetings to Develop Proposal for Whale Protection

Augusta - The Maine Department of Marine Resources will hold meetings with Maine's seven Lobster Management Zone Councils during June to facilitate the development of a proposal that meets targets established by the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team (TRT) for right whale protection.

The TRT has recommended broad measures for Maine that include removing 50 percent of vertical lines from the Gulf of Maine and the use of weak rope in the top of remaining vertical lines.

The measures put forward by the TRT are driven by federal laws designed to protect whales - the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher will work with each zone to develop a proposal that meets TRT goals.

All Lobster Zone Council Meetings are scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Meeting dates are:

• Tuesday, June 4: Zone B - Trenton Elementary School (Gym), 51 School Road, Trenton

• Thursday, June 6: Zone C - Reach Performing Arts Center, Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School, 249 N. Deer Isle Road, Deer Isle

• Monday, June 10: Zone G - Kennebunk High School (Auditorium), 89 Fletcher Street, Kennebunk

• Thursday, June 13: Zone E - Wiscasset Middle High School (Gym), 272 Gardiner Road, Wiscasset

• Tuesday, June 18: Zone A - Washington Academy (Gym), 66 Cutler Road, East Machias

• Thursday, June 20: Zone D - Camden Hills Regional High School (Gym), 25 Keelson Drive, Rockport

• Thursday, June 27: Zone F - Freeport Performing Arts Center, Freeport High School, 30 Holbrook Street, Freeport

Maine State Aquarium in Boothbay Harbor is Open for the Season

Aerial view of Maine State Aquarium

The Maine State Aquarium is open for the 2019 season. It is located at 194 McKown Point Road in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and is open 10 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week. For more information about this beautiful and highly-rated local aquarium, please visit https://www.maine.gov/dmr/education/aquarium .

Rob Beal Promoted to Major of Maine Marine Patrol

MLA Award 2019

Rob Beal, the new Marine Patrol Major (left) is pictured with Colonel Jay Carroll.

Augusta - Rob Beal, a 14-year veteran of the Maine Marine Patrol has been promoted to Major and began serving in the new position Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Beal began his career with the Marine Patrol in 2005, first serving as a field officer until 2011, then as Sergeant, supervising officers and boat specialists in southern Maine until his recent promotion.

Beal replaces Rene Cloutier who recently retired after a 25-year career in Marine Patrol.

Beal's responsibilities will include operational field command, as well as planning, coordinating, assigning, and overseeing Marine Patrol enforcement activities.

He will also coordinate responses to requests by other agencies, and represent the Marine Patrol on homeland security and other emergency preparedness issues.

A native of Southwest Harbor and Wiscasset, Beal worked as a lobsterman in Southwest Harbor and Bar Harbor prior to joining the Marine Patrol.

"Major Beal has shown tremendous leadership and work ethic as an officer and as a Sergeant," said Colonel Jay Carroll. "His knowledge of the industry from the perspective of a fishermen and a Marine Patrol Officer has given him insights that will be invaluable in his new leadership role."

Beal has led many challenging Marine Patrol searches over the years, coordinating logistics of search personnel from multiple agencies, outreach to family members, and communications with press. He and Sergeant Matt Talbot were featured in 2018 in a Bangor Daily News article touting Marine Patrol's work.

"Major Beal has consistently operated at a high level during challenging, complex searches, providing steady leadership and valuable communications to families and communities facing difficult situations," said Colonel Carroll.

Beal was instrumental in establishing a partnership between Operation Game Thief and the Maine Marine Patrol in 2014. OGT provides a confidential system for reporting violations of natural resource laws in Maine. Today, Beal serves as a liaison to the OGT board of directors.

Beal received the Maine Lobstermen's Association Officer of the Year Award in 2007 and the Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association Officer of the Year Award in 2009.

"Marine Patrol has many responsibilities and challenges today and we're fortunate to have someone with Major Beal's experience and track record step into this important role," said Colonel Carroll.

Maine Marine Patrol, Warden Service and US Coast Guard Highlight Boating Safety

Augusta - National Safe Boating Week, May 18 to May 24, 2019, is a great way to kick off a fun and safe summer on the water. The Maine Warden Service, Maine Marine Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard are using this occasion to remind boaters to pay extra attention to their boating safety behaviors, and to especially always wear their lifejackets.

Wear your life jacket

Although May is not considered to be the height of boating activity here in Maine, Safe Boating Week provides a great opportunity to remind those who are already recreating on the water to remember these important tips. Remember the dangers of springtime water temperatures. If you think you have enough time to get to your life jacket before a crash or incident, think again.

Be prepared

The Maine Warden Service, Maine Marine Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard remind all boaters to properly prepare their watercraft before heading out on the water. Be sure that all necessary safety devices are both on your boat and in good serviceable condition. In addition to life jackets, safe boaters should have working navigation lights, sound signaling devices, and properly displayed current registration numbers. A thorough check of lifejackets, fire extinguisher and flare expiration dates should be done to be sure they are in working order. Make a trip itinerary and stick to it, tell others if you deviate from that itinerary, and most of all, wear your life jacket.

What is the goal of National Safe Boating Week?

The goal of the National Safe Boating Week is to heighten awareness among recreational boaters of the importance of ALWAYS wearing a life jacket. This includes informing boaters that they have options when it comes to life jackets, such as the new inflatable versions that offer comfort and a complete range of movement. There are no excuses for not wearing a life jacket. For children and many adult activities on Maine waters, it's the law.

Please use these links for more information related to the National Safe Boating Week campaign and other Boating Safety Tips.

We encourage all media to use the following talking points that include recent data and enforcement goals related to Operation Dry Water. 2019 Safe Boat Week Messages:

•In Maine, all children 10 and under must wear a lifejacket.

•A good time to remind boaters to consider taking a boater education course.

•Let someone know where you plan to go boating and leave a trip plan with family.

•Dress for cold water temperatures. Maine's ocean and inland waters are very cold this time of year. It is recommended that paddlers wear dry suits when water temps are less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, or wet suit when temps are between 50 and 60 degrees.

•Alcohol is a contributing factor in one-third of all boating related fatalities, according to the US Coast Guard.

•Wear your lifejacket. Statistics show that most people who unexpected fall from a watercraft without a lifejacket will die. If you think you have time to get to your lifejacket in an emergency, think again.

Maine-New Hampshire Inshore Trawl Survey April 29 - May 31; Daily Schedules and Tow Charts available

For more information, including schedules, charts of tow locations, and how to contact the vessel, visit https://www.maine.gov/dmr/science-research/projects/trawlsurvey/sp19/index.html .

Troy Dow Promoted to Lieutenant of Maine Marine Patrol Division Two

Lamoine - Troy Dow, who has served as a Marine Patrol Sergeant in downeast Maine for nine years, has been promoted to Lieutenant of Division II, which runs from Stockton Springs to the Canadian border.

Lieutenant Dow takes over for Jay Carroll who was recently promoted to Colonel.

Lieutenant Dow began serving as a Marine Patrol Officer in Machiasport in 1996 after graduating from Unity College with a degree in Environmental Studies, and the Maine Criminal Justice Academy's Basic Law Enforcement Training Program. He remained there for four and a half years until being promoted to Boat Specialist in 2001, when he relocated to the Mount Desert Island patrol.

As specialist, Dow operated the Patrol Vessels Guardian and Dirigo II for nine years.

In 2010, he was promoted to Sergeant in Section 4, which stretches from Stockton Springs to Lamoine, where he has remained since.

Lieutenant Dow has received several prestigious awards including the Governors Teamwork Award in 2000, the Maine Lobstermens Association Officer of the Year in 2006, and DMR Manager of the Year Award in 2016.

In 2015, Lieutenant Dow completed the National Conservation Law Enforcement Leadership Academy, a national training program designed to prepare conservation law enforcement professionals for the challenges of leadership.

"Lieutenant Dow has shown tremendous initiative and leadership throughout his career," said Colonel Carroll. "He is well respected within our coastal and fishing communities and among the Marine Patrol personnel. I am confident that he will maintain the high professional standards and commitment to positive relations our downeast communities have come to expect from Marine Patrol."

"I look forward to serving as Lieutenant and building on the strong relationships Marine Patrol has with fishermen and community members," said Lieutenant Dow.

Coastal grants available for municipal and regional projects

Contact: Ruta Dzenis, 287-2851, ruta.dzenis@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry's Municipal Planning Assistance Program (MPAP) and the Maine Department of Marine Resources Maine Coastal Program (MCP) are seeking applications for the 10th round of Coastal Community Grants for FY 2020.

Coastal Community Grants are an important element of the MPAP's work to encourage and promote efforts of coastal communities and regional planning organizations pursuant to the goals of the Growth Management Act (M.R.S.A. 30-A, Chapter 187) and Coastal Management Policies (M.R.S.A. 38, Chapter 19).

The grants are for municipal and regional projects in Maines coastal zone. Funding for these technical assistance grants comes from Maine Coastal Programs annual grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Eligible projects must be designed to improve water quality, increase resiliency/adaptation to erosion and flooding, conserve coastal habitat, promote sustainable development, and enhance the coastal-dependent economy while preserving natural coastal resources. This program is designed to address the five priority goals of the Maine Coastal Program:

-Ensuring Sustainable, Vibrant Coastal Communities -Improving Coastal Public Access -Addressing the effects of land use activity on water quality -Restoring Coastal Habitats -Preparing for coastal storms, erosion and flooding, coastal hazards

Those eligible to apply include towns and unorganized territories in Maines coastal zone, groups of towns and unorganized territories in Maines coastal zone, coastal regional planning commissions, and coastal councils of governments. The Coastal Communities Grants have a maximum award of $100,000. Coastal Communities Grant applications are due Monday June 3, 2019 at 2 P.M.

The application information and forms can be found in the FY20 Coastal Community Grant Program Statement:

At the conclusion of each project, grant recipients are requested to prepare a case study to describe the projects approach and results, identify next steps and needs, share lessons learned and applicability for other municipalities, and provide recommendations to the MCP for follow-up by state agencies to address identified municipal and regional needs and emerging coastal issues. Case studies of Coastal Community Grant projects prepared by grant recipients can be found here.

More information about the Maine Coastal Program can be found online.

More information about the Municipal Planning Assistance Program can also be found online.

Four Men Charged by Marine Patrol with Multiple Violations

Augusta - Two lobster fishermen and two crew members have been arraigned in Hancock County District Court on multiple charges including molesting lobster gear after an investigation conducted by Marine Patrol Officer Rustin Ames.

Walter Foster, 56 of Castine, and Nicholas Wood, 22 of Penobscot were issued summonses after Marine Patrol received a complaint from Stockton Springs harvester William Nichols that someone was cutting his traps.

Also charged as a result of the investigation were Wood's crew members Samuel K. Stearns of Penobscot and Nicholas Jennings of Castine.

An investigation followed the initial complaint and revealed that Foster, Wood and the two crew members had cut Nichols traps on numerous occasions between August 2018 and October 2018.

Each was charged with molesting lobster gear, a Class D Crime that that could result in a $2,000 fine and up to a year in prison. The violation also requires the court to order the person to pay the owner of the traps an amount equal to twice the value of the traps lost.

According to the investigation, Nichols lost more than 71 traps valued at $3,692 for a total restitution value of $7,384.

Wood was also charged with operating a motorboat with imprudent speed and distance, criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy, violation of a condition of release, littering, and lobster fishing without a proper license class. Foster was also charged with criminal conspiracy, criminal mischief and littering, while Stearns and Jennings were charged with criminal mischief and littering.

"These are major violations and Im proud of Officer Ames for conducting a thorough investigation which took place over months," said Marine Patrol Colonel Jay Carroll.

Both Wood and Foster have received notice that their licenses have been administratively suspended for three years. While Wood's took effect March 29, Fosters suspension is currently stayed until the completion of a hearing.

Newest Marine Patrol Vessel Christened

PV Sergeant

Southwest Harbor - The latest addition to the Maine Marine Patrol fleet has been christened and is now officially underway. The Sergeant, a 46-foot Wesmac Super Wide will be based in Southwest Harbor and provide Marine Patrol a much-needed platform for off-shore details.

"As more lobster fishing activity occurs off-shore, we needed a boat that we could use to safely get to and from gear that is as far as 50-60 miles from shore," said Marine Patrol Sergeant Troy Dow.

The name Sergeant is a nod to Stanley "Cappy" Sargent, a commercial fisherman from Milbridge who was well known and liked by industry, and who collaborated on many projects with DMR science and policy staff.

The Sergeant replaces the Challenge, a 46-foot lobster-style vessel that was sold to support the purchase of the newer vessel.

Built by the Surry-based Wesmac Custom Boats, the Sergeant is equipped with an 803 horsepower Caterpillar diesel engine, a hydraulic lobster trap hauler and a cradle for a rigid hull inflatable. With a beam of 17 feet 1 inch, it is 3 feet wider than the standard 46-footer. "This is a stable platform with plenty of power that will allow us to work in the rough seas we often encounter off-shore," said Sergeant Dow.

The christening took place in Southwest Harbor with Cappy's wife Tina breaking the ceremonial bottle across the bow. Friends and family including Justin Richard, Bill Sargent, Denise Sargent, Whitney Sargent, Joan Height, Tina Sargent, Willy Sargent, and Mike Sargent were on-board for the maiden voyage up Somes Sound.

Also on-hand were Wesmac Custom Boats owners Linda Greenlaw Wessel and Steve Wessel. "It was an honor to have Tina, Linda and Steve here for the christening," said Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. "The Sergeant not only honors a special person to DMR and Maine's fishing community, it reflects the hard work and dedication to excellence of Wesmac Custom Boats."

Maine Eel Aquaculture Opportunity

Overview:

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), under Addendum IV to the Interstate Fisheries Management Plan for American Eel, allows states to submit an aquaculture plan to request up to 200 pounds of glass eels annually from within their waters for domestic aquaculture facilities if certain criteria are met. The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) would like to support a Maine based aquaculture business or businesses that may be interested in utilizing this quota. DMR is seeking qualified applicants to work with the State to both acquire and utilize this quota should it be approved by ASMFC. The following describes the process for which a qualified business or businesses may be selected for this opportunity and the expectations for selected applicant(s) and the Department in advancing a plan.

Proposal Submittal:

Proposals must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. local time, on April 30th. Proposals received after 4pm on this date will be rejected. Proposals should be delivered to Amy Sinclair, Maine Department of Marine Resources by hand (Marquardt Building, 32 Blossom Lane, Augusta) or mail (21 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333-0021) OR sent electronically to Amy.Sinclair@maine.gov.

Proposal Descriptions: Proposals should include the following information

• Name and Address of Business

• Contact person, phone number and email address

• Documentation of any prior approval of any applicable permits for housing, handling, and selling eels

• Description of the facility, including the location in Maine, capacity of the facility in which the glass eels will be held, and a description of the husbandry methods that will be used (Only facilities that are proposed to be or are currently located in the State of Maine are eligible for this opportunity)

• A short description of the markets the eels will be distributed to

• A resume of the applicant demonstrating academic qualifications and/or other experience in the aquaculture of freshwater fish

• Pounds of glass eels requested

• Availability to assist DMR in developing Maine's Aquaculture Plan for American eel required for submittal to ASMFC by June 1st

Proposals should be brief but there is no page limit. Please feel free to provide attachments including business plans, resumes, or other pertinent information.

An example of the level of detail that will be required to develop Maines Aquaculture Plan for American eel from ASMFC (PDF file, 28 pages, 1.6 MB)

Applicant Selection:

An applicant or applicants will be selected to participate in this process based on an expert review panel of DMR employees. Criteria to be considered by reviewers include demonstrated aquaculture qualifications, business maturity and facility readiness, permits and regulatory compliance expectations, and ability to assist DMR in finalizing a proposal to ASMFC. Since there is no direct financial arrangement or contract between DMR and the applicant, costs will not be considered.

Expectations:

The expectation is that the State of Maine and the selected applicant(s) would develop Maines Aquaculture Plan for American eel, to be submitted for review by the ASMFC American Eel Technical Committee (TC), the ASMFC Law Enforcement Committee, and the ASMFC Eel Management Board. Aquaculture Plans, submitted by the Department and qualified applicants, must be submitted by June 1 of the preceding fishing year and approval will be determined by the Board by September 1. If approval is granted, the aquaculture business or businesses would be granted quota for approved fisheries under the terms and conditions of ASMFC and the Department, as early as March 2020. The method of allocation and arrangement will be determined upon approval of the quota. The applicant will not be the harvester unless already approved to be so. Approval of a request for this quota does not guarantee approval of a request in future years. While DMR intends on submitting a plan, DMR has no obligations to do so under this arrangement. It is important to note that this will be an annual process and while a single entity may be granted a full allocation in year one, in subsequent years other applications many be accepted. In this situation, the total allocation, if approved by ASMFC, would be shared among those chosen.

Questions:

Any clarifying questions must be submitted in writing to: Amy.Sinclair@maine.gov by April 19, 2019. DMR will make the questions and answers available on its website by April 24th, 2019. Only questions submitted in writing will be answered.

Maine Coastal Program Seeks Applications for Shore and Harbor Planning Grant Program, due Friday, May 17th

The Maine Coastal Program has released its annual solicitation for the Shore and Harbor Planning Grant Program.

Shore and Harbor Planning Grants provides funding for harbor management, dredging studies, public access, and waterfront planning in coastal towns through municipal and regional projects.

More information about these grants, as well as the FY20 Grant Program Statement can be found on the DMR website.

Lieutenant Carroll Replaces Colonel Cornish as Head of Maine Marine Patrol

Augusta - Lieutenant Jay Carroll, a 23-year veteran of the Maine Marine Patrol has recently been promoted to Colonel, replacing Jon Cornish who officially retires April 5 after 34-years of service, including four as Colonel.

Carroll officially begins duties as Colonel on April 1, after serving as Lieutenant of Division II, which stretches from Searsport to the Canadian border, since 2014.

"I have great confidence in Lieutenant Carroll's ability to excel in this leadership role," said Maine DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher. "His depth of professional experience and accomplishments as an Officer, a Specialist, a Sergeant and a Lieutenant on Maine's increasingly busy downeast coast position him well to guide the Marine Patrol into the future."

Carroll has had a lifelong connection to Marine Patrol. His father, Jim, was also a Lieutenant in Division II. His uncle John Carroll and cousin Richard LaHaye Jr. both served as Marine Patrol Lieutenants, and his cousin Tim Carroll, currently the Sheriff of Knox County, also served in the Marine Patrol.

"I am honored to take this next step in my career and look forward to working with the talented, hard-working Marine Patrol professionals whose efforts are critical in sustaining our states valuable marine resources," said Carroll

Prior to serving as Lieutenant, Carroll served for thirteen years as a field Sergeant in Hancock and Washington Counties, one year as a Boat Captain in Knox County, and four years as an Officer in the Port Clyde patrol area.

Carroll began his career in law enforcement in 1994 as a Reserve Officer in the Bar Harbor Police Department. He then served as a Deputy Sherriff with the Knox County Sherriffs Office until 1996, when he joined the Marine Patrol, steadily rising through the ranks from Officer to Colonel.

"Lieutenant Carroll has done an outstanding job throughout his career," said Commissioner Keliher. "He has led the Officers, Sergeants and Boat Specialists in Division II through a period of significant change in our states commercial fishing industries, including historic growth in value and abundance of lobster, and challenges associated with Maines lucrative elver fishery.

"He has maintained excellent working relationships with the commercial fishing industry and has set a standard of exceptional problem solving and communications for the officers in Division II," said Commissioner Keliher.

Cornish was promoted to Colonel in 2015 after previously serving as Sergeant, Major, and Lieutenant in Division I, which includes the Maine coast from Kittery to the St. George River.

Colonel Cornish began his career in the Marine Patrol in 1985 as an Officer. In 2001 he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and in 2004 to Lieutenant.

"I'm grateful for Colonel Cornish's decades of exceptional service," said Commissioner Keliher. "He has shown great commitment and judgement throughout his career and has guided the Marine Patrol with a steady hand as Colonel."

Elvers Reported Through 6pm 3/23/2019

Note: Because of confidentiality rules, the only data that is not confidential as of today is associated with the Passamaquoddy Tribe.

DMR

  • Pound Reported -
  • Overall Quota - 7,566.3
  • Remaining Quota -

MALISEET

  • Pound Reported -
  • Overall Quota - 106.6
  • Remaining Quota -

MICMAC

  • Pound Reported -
  • Overall Quota - 38.8
  • Remaining Quota -

PASSAMAQUODDY

  • Pound Reported - 4.93
  • Overall Quota - 1,356.3
  • Remaining Quota - 1,351.37

PENOBSCOT

  • Pound Reported -
  • Overall Quota - 620.0
  • Remaining Quota -

QUOTA TOTAL*

  • Pound Reported -
  • Overall Quota - 9,688
  • Remaining Quota -

*All 2019 data are preliminary and subject to change without notice.

Dealers reported buying a total of 10.97 pounds with a reported value of $17,544 for average price per pound of $1599.

ASMFC Seeks Proposals for Regional Pilot Projects in Support of Sustainable Aquaculture - Proposals Due April 15, 2019

Arlington, VA - The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission), in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is seeking proposals to develop regional pilot projects in support of sustainable aquaculture. Specifically, pilot programs should partner with industry to develop techniques and business models to grow domestic seafood production. A priority are projects that consider promising but less commercially developed technologies for species managed by the Commission or those species that contribute to healthy marine habitats, including finfish, shellfish and seaweed.

The NOAA Fisheries FY19 budget contains the "Regional Pilots in Sustainable Aquaculture" provision that authorizes the funding. In addition to this specific item, the budget also focuses renewed interest on maintaining and further developing existing aquaculture capabilities at NOAA Fisheries.

NOAA Fisheries, through the Commission, is making $525,000 available for the funding period of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. Individual proposals should fall within a range from $50,000 to $200,000. Any investigator seeking support for this period must submit, as a single file, an electronic proposal by email no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on Monday, April 15, 2019. Awards and start dates for successful projects will be announced by May 20, 2019. Please see the Request for Proposals (RFP) for complete proposal details, qualifying requirements, and submission instructions. The RFP is available online.

The Gulf and Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commissions have also issued similar RFPs seeking proposals relevant to their respective regions. For more information, please contact Dr. Louis Daniel at ldaniel@asmfc.org or 252.342.1478.

#

A PDF of the press release can be found here - http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/5c795096pr09AquacultureRFP.pdf


Tina Berger

Director of Communications

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

1050 N. Highland Street, Suite 200A-N

Arlington, VA 22201

www.asmfc.org

tberger@asmfc.org

Brian Brodie Receives 2019 MLA Officer of the Year Award

MLA Award 2019

Rockport - Marine Patrol Officer Brian Brodie, who serves in the Eastport-Calais patrol, receives the 2019 Maine Lobstermen's Association Maine Patrol Officer of the Year Award. The award, presented Saturday night at the Fishermen's Forum in Rockport, is an annual recognition of Marine Patrol Officers who provide outstanding service in support of the Maine lobster industry. Pictured with Officer Brodie are MLA Board President Kristan Porter (left), Governor Janet T. Mills, Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish, DMR Commissioner Pat Keliher, and MLA Executive Director Patrice McCarron (right).

Terry Alexander Receives 2019 DMR Andy Mays Award of Excellence

MLA Award 2017

Rockport - DMR Commissioner Pat Keliher presents Harpswell fisherman Terry Alexander with the 2019 DMR Andy Mays Award of Excellence at the Fishermen's Forum banquet, Friday, March 1, 2019. The award is named for the first recipient of the award, Andy Mays, who lost his battle with cancer last year. Commissioner Keliher honored Terry for his contributions and dedication to the industry.

Maine Commercial Landings Top 600 Million Dollars for Only the Third Time

Augusta - The value of Maine's 2018 Commercially harvested marine resources increased by more than $60 million over 2017, and for only the third time in history exceeded $600 million. At $637,174,944, the overall value represents the second highest on record, according to preliminary data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

"The best seafood in the world comes from Maine," said Maine Governor Janet T. Mills. "This industry is the cornerstone of Maine's coastal economy, and the value of this year's catch reflects the dedication and sacrifices of the men and women who work on the water and those who make sure this quality product gets to market."

Maine's lobster harvesters saw another strong year in 2018, landing 119,640,379 pounds, which was an increase of nearly 8 million pounds over 2017. 2018 was only the seventh time in history that more than 110 million pounds of Maine lobster were landed.

At $484,543,633, the value of Maine's lobster fishery climbed by more than $46 million over 2017 on the strength of a boat price that increased from $3.92 per-pound in 2017 to $4.05 in 2018.

According to data published by NOAA, American lobster was the most valuable single species harvested in the U.S. in 2015, 2016, and 2017, with Maine landings accounting for approximately 80 percent of that value each year.

Despite a season shortened because of illegal sales which put the state in jeopardy of exceeding its allotted quota, elver harvesters pocketed $21,747,190 in 2018. The total was an increase of $9.5 million, or 78 percent, over 2017 and ranked the fishery as Maine's second most valuable.

A record per-pound price for Maine elvers of $2,366 resulted in an overall value that makes 2018 the third most lucrative in the fishery's history, behind only 2012 and 2013 - years in which there was no quota for elvers.

The value of Atlantic Herring placed it third overall at $16,565,907, notwithstanding harvest levels that were 3.6 million pounds lower than 2017.

Softshell clam harvesters earned an additional $514,768 over 2017 due to an increase over 2017 of 258,642 pounds harvested. At $12,854,545, the fishery was Maine's fourth most valuable in 2018.

Sea urchins and scallops ranked fifth and sixth, respectively in value of harvested resources. Harvesters landed 2,041,633 pounds of urchins valued at $6,201,621. Maine scallop harvesters landed 239,428 pounds less in 2018 than in 2017 which, combined with a decrease of $1.20 per pound, resulted in a decline in value from 2017 of $3,488,936 for a total of $5,935,639.

Underscoring the importance of commercial fishing to Maine is the most recent data from the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program which reveals that Maine commercial harvesters took more than twice the number of commercial fishing trips than any other state on the east coast. In 2017, Maine harvesters reported 447,523 trips while harvesters from Virginia, the next highest state, reported just 217,940.

"Maine's commercial fishing industries remain a critically important driver for our state's economy and identity," said DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher. "However, there are challenges we must tackle to sustain our marine resources and the communities they support.

"We must continue to look at adapting to a changing Gulf of Maine while facing related challenges that include a pending bait shortage and whale rules. Working directly with these industries to find creative solutions that maintain their economic viability remains the focus of the Mills Administration."

More landings data can be found on the DMR website.

Important Notice Regarding the Waiting Lists for Limited Entry Lobster Zones

The Department of Marine Resources (DMR) is periodically required by law to contact individuals currently on the Limited Entry Zone Lobster License Waiting Lists, to determine if they wish to remain on the waiting list, or if they no longer want a lobster license, and wish to be removed from the waiting list. DMR is now in the process of contacting all individuals who are currently on the lobster license waiting lists for each of the seven Limited Entry Zones (A, B, C, D, E, F and G).

The Department has mailed out a form to each individual on each of the seven apprentice waiting lists, to the most current address they have provided to the Department. Individuals who wish to remain in their current position on the waiting list MUST return the completed form by April 9, 2019. If an individual does not respond within the timeframes provided in the law, the Commissioner is required to remove that person's name from the waiting list.

If you are currently on an apprentice waiting list, please watch your mail for the form, and return it to the Department at your earliest convenience. If you have a friend or family member on a waiting list, please advise them to do the same.

If you did not receive your form or misplaced your form, please download the printable form (below) that can be completed and mailed into the Department (address is on the form) no later than April 9, 2019. For waiting lists and more information about Maine's lobster limited entry and apprentice program, please visit https://www.maine.gov/dmr/science-research/species/lobster/limitedentry.html .

Scoping Meeting on Northern Gulf of Maine, Limited Access General Category Amendment to be Held at Fishermen's Forum

The New England Fishery Management Council has scheduled 10 scoping meetings from Maine to Virginia to gather public input on the development of Amendment 21 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan. This amendment is being developed to address three primary issues:

Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) Management Area measures; Limited Access General Category (LAGC) individual fishing quota (IFQ) possession limits; and The ability for Limited Access vessels with LAGC IFQ to transfer their quota to vessels that only hold LAGC IFQ permits.

The scoping meeting in Maine will be held during the Fishermen's Forum on Thursday, February 28, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. in the Camden Room at the Samoset Resort, 220 Warrenton Street, Rockport, ME 04856.

The full press release announcing the scoping meetings and providing information on Amendment 21 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan is attached and can be found online.

The Amendment 21 scoping document is also available online.

Amendment 21 materials can be found online as well.

ASMFC American Lobster Board Initiates Draft Addendum XXVIII

Arlington, VA - The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's American Lobster Management Board initiated Draft Addendum XXVIII to Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobster. The Draft Addendum considers reducing the number of vertical lines in the water in response to concerns about the North Atlantic right whale population and the potential impacts of whale conservation measures on the conduct of the lobster fishery.

"With this proposed action, the Board is entering uncertain waters," stated Maine Commissioner Pat Keliher. "However, as the lead management authority for American lobster, we have a responsibility to ensure the viability of the lobster fishery. Through the active engagement of the states and the lobster industry in our management process, we believe the Board is best suited to navigate the growing challenges facing the lobster fishery."

A key focus of the Board meeting was the intersection of lobster management and the conservation of protected resources. While the Commission is primarily a forum for the Atlantic coast states to cooperatively manage fish and shellfish species, the Board noted several factors associated with North Atlantic right whale conservation which could substantially impact the economic and cultural future of the lobster fishing industry. These include future recommendations of the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team and the anticipated Biological Opinion being developed under the Endangered Species Act. Given the high economic value of the lobster fishery and its social significance to coastal communities, the Board agreed it is important to ensure the implementation of measures to conserve North Atlantic right whales takes place in a way that maintains the sustainability and culture of the lobster fishery.

Draft Addendum XXVIII will propose options to reduce vertical lines from zero to 40%, to be achieved by trap limits, gear configuration changes, seasonal closures, and/or the acceleration of currently planned trap reductions. The Board noted reductions will consider ongoing state and federal management actions, including trap reductions and trap caps, which have already reduced vertical lines. By initiating this action, states can continue to cooperatively participate in the management of this species during ongoing discussions on the conservation of North Atlantic right whales. In addition, those who are most familiar with the intricacies of the lobster fishery, including industry, can provide input on future regulations.

For more information, please contact Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, by email at mware@asmfc.org or by phone at 703.842.0740.

A PDF copy of the press release can be found online.


Tina Berger Director of Communications Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission 1050 N. Highland Street, Suite 200A-N Arlington, VA 22201 tberger@asmfc.org

ASMFC Atlantic Herring Board Approves Draft Addendum II for Public Comment - Proposes Options to Protect Spawning Herring in Area 1A

Arlington, VA - The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Atlantic Herring Management Board approved Draft Addendum II to Amendment 3 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Herring for public comment. The Draft Addendum proposes options to strengthen spawning protections in Area 1A (inshore Gulf of Maine). This action responds to the results of the 2018 Benchmark Stock Assessment which showed reduced levels of recruitment and spawning stock biomass over the past five years, with 2016 recruitment levels the lowest on record.

Currently, the Board uses a series of closures to protect spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Maine. These closures, which were implemented through Amendment 3, use biological samples to annually project the start of spawning. The closures are initially implemented for four weeks but can be extended by two additional weeks if samples indicate the continued presence of spawning herring. Recent analysis by the Atlantic Herring Technical Committee found that while the current spawning closure system was significantly improved under Amendment 3, the protocol could continue to be strengthened by considering when, and for how long, a closure is initiated. Specifically, the analysis showed, under the current protocol, spawning closures are initiated when there are approximately 25% spawners in the fishery; greater protection could be provided by initiating a closure when a lower percentage of the population is spawning and extending the closure for a longer time. As a result, Draft Addendum II considers extending the length of the spawning closures as well as altering the point at which closures are triggered in order to provide greater protection to the stock.

Interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. A notice of public hearings will be published at a later date.

The Draft Addendum will available on the Commission website under Public Input by February 20, 2019. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on April 3, 2019 and should be forwarded to Megan Ware, FMP Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, Virginia 22201; 703.842.0741 by fax or email at comments@asmfc.org (Subject line: Atlantic Herring Draft Addendum II). It is anticipated some states will conduct public hearings on the Draft Addendum; the details of which will be released via a press release once they are finalized. For more information, please contact Megan Ware by email at mware@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

A copy of the press release can be found online.

ASMFC Seeks Proposals for Shellfish Aquaculture Consortia Projects - Proposals Due March 15, 2019

Arlington, VA - The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission), in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is seeking proposals to form regionally focused research consortia that will address critical research needs surrounding shellfish aquaculture. While oysters are a priority species, proposals for any shellfish species will be accepted.

For FY19, Congressional funds are available to support ongoing research for off-bottom shellfish production in coastal areas. Research should focus on shellfish genetics, disease, seed production and transport, environmental interactions and impacts, regulatory challenges, and socioeconomic modeling. Additionally, regional partnerships are encouraged to classify and preserve natural genetic variation in shellfish.

NOAA Fisheries, through the Commission, is making $880,000 available for the funding period of August 1, 2019 to July 31, 2020. The Commission plans to award funding to support up to two consortia that can justify and demonstrate the greatest collaborative efforts with various investigators and stakeholders. Any consortium seeking support for this period must submit, as a single file, an electronic proposal by email no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, March 15, 2019. Please see the Request for Proposals (RFP) for complete proposal details, qualifying requirements, and submission instructions. The RFP is available online.

The Gulf and Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commissions have also issued similar RFPs seeking consortia proposals relevant to their respective regions.

For more information, please contact Dr. Louis Daniel by email or 252.342.1478.

A PDF of the press release can be found here .

Latest Round of Coastal Community Planning Grants Awarded

Augusta - The Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry (DACF) announces the award of nearly $270,00 through its Coastal Community Grant Program for six projects located throughout coastal Maine.  This year's grants, awarded and administered by DACF's Municipal Planning Assistance Program, will help coastal communities by supporting planning to reduce flood damage to municipal infrastructure, restore fisheries habitat, protect working waterfronts, and increase the climate resiliency of coastal downtowns.

The grants are made possible by the Maine Coastal Program, Department of Marine Resources, which provides funding through Maine's federal coastal zone management award from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.  Each project involves regional or local-level partnerships and each grantee provides a minimum of 25% in matching funds or services.

The Coastal Community Grants are an important element of the Municipal Planning Assistance Program's mission to foster innovative and effective approaches to land use management by providing technical and financial assistance to Maine municipalities.  This is the ninth round of Coastal Community Grants, which since 2012, have provided $1.7 million for 65 projects in coastal Maine.

This year, grants totaling $269,880 have been awarded to the following projects:

Town of Bowdoinham: Re-Development of Public Works Waterfront Property ($45,750)--> Project Description: This project is part of the Town's efforts to re-develop the Town's former Public Works property on the Cathance River. With the Coastal Community Grant and matching funds, the Town and its subcontractors will conduct necessary surveys, produce preliminary and final designs and construction documents, and obtain permits for stabilizing the property's shorefront.  The stabilization efforts will focus on one or more low-impact or living shoreline stabilization measures. Through public access, outreach and education, the Town will introduce "green" shoreline stabilization methods to visitors to the site and coordinate with the Maine Geological Survey on ways to use the site as a demonstration project to reach a wider audience.  Project Partners:  Maine Geological Survey, Maine Historic Preservation Commission

Greater Portland Council of Governments - Proactive Watershed Management in Falmouth ($15,000)--> Project Description: This pro-active watershed planning project will evaluate existing data for watershed health (e.g., identify outliers and/or questionable data points); propose a list of metrics to serve as indicators of watershed health; establish thresholds for watershed metrics that measure or predict watershed health using scientific principles, as well as serve as a baseline for future planning efforts.  This work will assist Falmouth to prioritize watershed management measures and to tailor those efforts to address the needs of each watershed, which will result in a case study to be shared with other municipalities. Project Partners: Town of Falmouth, Interlocal Stormwater Working Group, Falmouth Conservation Commission, and Maine Department of Environmental Protection

Hancock County Planning Commission/Hancock County Soil & Water Conservation District - Eastern Bay Watershed Management Plan ($36,908)--> Project Description: The purpose of this project is to produce a management plan for the Eastern Bay within Frenchman Bay based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's nine-element approach. The project will focus activities in the Jordan River Watershed that may impact water quality and aquiculture in the Mount Desert Narrows area in Eastern Bay. The Eastern Bay Watershed Management Plan will guide watershed restoration efforts to reduce fecal bacteria contamination and to meet the goal of preventing shellfish closures in the river and embayment. Project Partners: Hancock County Soil & Water Conservation District, and Frenchman Bay Partners: Community Lab at MDI Biological Laboratory, University of Maine 610 project, Frenchman Bay Regional Shellfish Committee, College of the Atlantic, and Acadia Aquafarms

City of South Portland - Vulnerability Assessment Mapping ($50,189)--> Project Description:  The City's Sustainability Office will create an interactive, web-based vulnerability assessment map for South Portland. This map, which the City expects to update and maintain for a minimum of five years, will bring together disparate information related to historical flooding events, sea-level rise and storm projections, economic and social vulnerability, and critical infrastructure. Once created, local decision-makers, City staff, and the community will be able to switch on operational map layers and select their viewing area/zoom level to better understand the risks posed by coastal hazards. Key stakeholders will then have capacity to develop well-informed programs and policies to improve South Portland's resiliency. Project Partners:  Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission, and Greater Portland Council of Governments

Town of Stonington - Flood Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan for Municipally Owned Infrastructure ($60,000)--> Project Description: The Town of Stonington will contract with an engineering consultant to assess the vulnerability of pumping stations, sewer lines, roads, and other critical municipal infrastructure to flooding due to coastal storms and projected sea-level rise. The consultant would provide options to mitigate and/or adapt to the effects of that flooding in order to allow continued use of vulnerable sections of the transportation network, sewer system, and other critical infrastructure. This assessment will then guide the Town's capital investments in its critical infrastructure to help ensure those systems will be useable for the next 100 years. Project Partners:  Stonington Water Company, Town Departments, Downtown Stonington business owners and residents

Washington County Council of Governments - Washington County Resilience ($62,033)--> Project Description: The overall goal of this project is to avoid infrastructure failure and increase resilience to coastal flooding and future sea-level rise in Washington County's most significant working waterfronts and largest coastal service centers. The project includes several subcomponents, including designing expanded working waterfront access in Machiasport, addressing roadbed and culvert vulnerabilities in Eastport, Jonesport, and Milbridge, supporting fish passage and increasing floodwater absorption by tidal marshes in Machias, and using a drone to obtain highly accurate data in Eastport, Lubec, Bucks Harbor, Jonesport, and Milbridge.  Project Partners: Island Institute, Towns of Eastport, Jonesport, Lubec, Machias, Machiasport, Milbridge

New Phone Numbers for Marine Patrol Division II and Public Health Lab in Lamoine

Effective Friday, February 1, 2019, the Marine Patrol Division II office phone number in Lamoine will change to (207) 664-2392. The number for the Public Health lab in Lamoine will be 664-2394. [Update March 19, 2019: The fax number for both will remain 667-3972. Please note that the fax number originally announced in this news item (664-3972) was incorrect.]

DMR's Online Licensing System to be Unavailable During Upgrade

The Department of Marine Resources' LEEDS (Licensing Enforcement and Environmental Data System) website will be down and unavailable for use during a software upgrade taking place from 9:00 PM January 18, 2019 through 8:00 AM on January 20, 2019.

The address of the LEEDS website will not change after the upgrade. A link to the LEEDS website can be found on the DMR licensing page.

If, after the upgrade is complete at 8:00 AM on January 20, 2019, you experience problems, please contact the LEEDS Administrator.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Deadline to Participate in Survey to Improve Whale Regulation Approaching

The deadline for lobster harvesters to participate in the survey about vertical line configurations which will inform future whale protection regulations is January 18, 2019.

To complete the survey, please click here.

Without a better understanding of vertical lines, regulators are more likely to implement sweeping regulations which might not be any more effective at protecting whales. Good information from industry, including these surveys, will increase the likelihood of targeted, more effective regulations.

To complete the survey, please click here.

Participation should take less than 10 minutes.

Personal or identifying information will be kept confidential and removed prior to distribution of survey results; however, we ask for your name, phone number and, in the case of Maine harvesters, your landings number, so we can contact you if necessary to confirm information provided in the survey.

To complete the survey, please click here.

For assistance with any of the surveys, please contact Caitlin Cleaver with FB Environmental at 207-706-9466 or by email at caitlinc@fbenvironmental.com.

NOAA Recreational Fishing Meetings Cancelled Due to Shutdown

Due to the federal government shutdown, NOAA has cancelled New England Recreational Fishing Workshops scheduled for January 8 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and January 10 in Narragansett, Rhode Island. A determination will be made regarding a third meeting, scheduled for January 12 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Thursday, January 10.

For more information on the workshops, visit NOAA's website.

Or contact Moira Kelly, Recreational Fisheries Coordinator, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office

or

Jessica Joyce , Meeting Planner and Facilitator, Tidal Bay Consulting, LLC

Maine Ventless Lobster Trap Survey Seeking Bids from Industry Participants

DMR is seeking three fishing vessels to participate in the 2019 Ventless Lobster Trap Survey this summer. The application deadline is March 10, 2019. Please visit https://www.maine.gov/dmr/about/ventless.html for more information and an application form.

Marine Patrol Officers Graduate from 35th Basic Law Enforcement Training Program

New MCJA Graduates

Pictured with DMR Commissioner Keliher (left) and Marine Patrol Major Rene Cloutier (right) are Timothy Cormier (2nd from left) and Taylor Shewokis who graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy's 18-week Basic Law Enforcement Training Program today. Officer Cormier will be serving in the Gouldsboro/Winter Harbor patrol. Officer Shewokis had previously completed the Maine Criminal Justice Academy's Law Enforcement Pre-Service Course and has been serving in the Kittery patrol since spring 2018.

New Marine Patrol Vessel Helps Stonington Patrol

MPOs with the PV Moxie

Pictured with the new Patrol Vessel Moxie are MPO Daniel Vogel (left) and Tyler Sirois.

PV Moxie

The new Patrol Vessel Moxie underway in Stonington.

Stonington - The Maine Marine Patrol has launched a new boat in Stonington to support its work patrolling Maine's most lucrative fishing port.

The new 26-foot Patrol Vessel Moxie, built by Biddeford-based General Marine replaces a 21-foot Boston Whaler. "The PV Moxie's name represents the courage and determination of Marine Patrol Officers," said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish.

It will provide Officers Tyler Sirois and Daniel Vogel, who work in the Stonington patrol, the ability to haul lobster gear and, with an enclosed wheel house, go out in more challenging weather conditions.

"This is a much-improved platform for patrol activity in this very busy fishing port," said Colonel Cornish.

"Prior to having this vessel in Stonington, Officers had to bring a larger boat from either Rockland or Mount Desert Island to haul lobster gear as part of routine patrols. Now, they have a local vessel they can use to haul and inspect lobster gear without having to bring a vessel from another patrol area.

"This saves valuable time and allows us to maintain assets in the other areas." said Colonel Cornish. "Stonington has consistently been the most lucrative port in terms of the value of landings, so we believe it is critical to invest in improved Patrol assets in this area."

The Moxie, a General Marine Blue Water 26, has a full keel for running gear protection and lateral stability, molded in spray rails and flair in the bow for a dry ride. "This hull design ensures excellent handling, stability, and maneuverability and allows Officers to access areas near shore where larger boats are unable to go," said Colonel Cornish.

The hull is constructed of solid, high tech fiberglass. All hardware is 316 stainless steel above the waterline and silicon bronze below the waterline. The deck and interior are fully molded with diamond nonskid and molded in hatches. The Moxie is powered by a Volvo D6 310 engine and outfitted with a full electronics package for navigation.

Total cost for the Moxie was $193,270, of which $160,000 was paid for through a Joint Enforcement Agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service, which provides the Maine Marine Patrol funding to support federal fisheries enforcement. The remainder of the cost was covered by the Department.

Photos are attached below.

State of Maine Land for Maine's Future Program Issues Call for Proposals

Augusta - The Land for Maine's Future (LMF) Board is seeking proposals for Working Waterfront Access Protection Program (WWAPP) projects. The Board will make awards up to approximately $2 million from Land for Maine's Future (LMF) bond funds.

The Maine Working Waterfront Access Protection Program provides funds to protect and secure commercial fishing access in Maine. WWAPP requires future development of funded property retain its use for commercial fishing and closely related activities.

A copy of the Working Waterfront Access Protection Program (WWAPP) workbook, which includes all information necessary to apply for LMF funds, can be obtained online.

Eligible applicants for WWAPP proposals include private individuals, and business entities, non-profit land conservation organizations, counties, cities, towns and state agencies. Contact Matthew Nixon, Maine Coastal Program deputy director, 207-287-1491 with any questions.

To apply for WWAPP funds, a project MUST be sponsored by the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR). In order to receive a sponsorship, applicants are encouraged to submit a letter of intent (LOI) by Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Details on the LOI can be found in the WWAPP Workbook located at the link above.

WWAPP proposals must be submitted to Matthew Nixon at the Maine Coastal Program, ME DMR, 21 SHS, 32 Blossom Lane, Augusts, ME 04333-0022 by March 22, 2019 at 5 p.m. EST. Proposals received after this day and time will not be considered.

Moratorium on Northern Shrimp Commercial Fishing Maintained Through 2021

Portland, ME - In response to the continued depleted condition of the northern shrimp resource, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section extended the moratorium on commercial fishing through 2021. This three-year moratorium was set in response to the low levels of biomass and recruitment and the fact that, should recruitment improve, it would take several years for those shrimp to be commercially harvestable.

The 2018 Stock Assessment Update indicates the Gulf of Maine northern shrimp population remains depleted, with spawning stock biomass (SSB) at extremely low levels since 2013. SSB in 2018 was estimated at 1.3 million pounds, lower than SSB in 2017 (1.5 million pounds). Recruitment has also been low in recent years, with 2018 recruitment estimated at two billion shrimp. This is below the time series median of 2.6 billion shrimp. Fishing mortality has remained low in recent years due to the moratorium.

High levels of natural mortality and low levels of recruitment continue to hinder recovery of the stock. Predation contributes significantly to the natural mortality of northern shrimp and has been at high levels over the past decade. In addition, long-term trends in environmental conditions have not been favorable for the recruitment of northern shrimp. Ocean temperatures in the western Gulf of Maine have increased over the past decade, with warmer water temperature generally associated with lower recruitment indices and poorer survival during the first year of life. With ocean temperatures predicted to continue to rise, this suggests an increasingly inhospitable environment for northern shrimp in the Gulf of Maine.

Given this change in the environment and the lack of change in stock status despite the fishery being under a moratorium for the past five years, the Section debated current management approaches and if they are appropriate in the face of changing ocean conditions. Ultimately, the Section unanimously agreed to establish a working group to evaluate management strategies for northern shrimp given changes in species abundance, particularly as a result of changing ocean conditions. In February 2018, the Commission approved guidance that species management boards and sections could use to address shifts in species abundance and distribution. The Section will have the opportunity to use this guidance to determine if or what management changes should be made if the stock has no ability to recover.

While industry members advocated for re-opening the commercial fishery in order to evaluate the stock status and provide economic benefits to local fishermen, Technical Committee analysis showed there is little-to-no possibility of 2019 SSB being greater than it was in 2017, even in the absence of fishing. Given the low biomass of the stock, the Section did not establish a Research Set Aside; however, annual surveys including the summer shrimp survey and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center trawl survey will continue to collect important data on the stock.

The Section also approved Addendum I to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Northern Shrimp. The Addendum provides states the authority to allocate their state-specific quota between gear types in the event the fishery reopens.

Finally, the Section established a second working group to review the existing Gulf of Maine Summer Northern Shrimp Survey. This working group will evaluate ways to improve the reliability and efficiency of the survey, including shifting to greater commercial industry involvement in the collection of data. Transitioning the shrimp survey to a commercial platform would be one of the options considered by the working group.

For more information, please contact Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at mware@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

Change in Atlantic Herring Area 1A Trimester 3 Effort Controls Announced

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Atlantic Herring Management Board members from Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts revised the effort control measures for the 2018 Area 1A Trimester 3 (October 1 - December 31) fishery. Board members, with input from industry, agreed to seven (7) consecutive landing days until 92% of the Area 1A sub-ACL is projected to be harvested. Vessels may only land once every 24-hour period.

Beginning on November 16, 2018: Vessels in the States of Maine and New Hampshire, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may land Atlantic herring starting at 12:01 a.m. on seven (7) consecutive days a week.

Maine DMR will be undertaking emergency rulemaking to implement these measures.

Trimester 3 landings will be closely monitored and the directed fishery will close when 92% of the Area 1A sub-ACL is projected to be reached. Fishermen are prohibited from landing more than 2,000 pounds of Atlantic herring per trip once the fishery is closed. For more information, please contact Megan Ware by email or by phone at 703.842.0740.

Maine's 2018-19 Scallop Season Gets Underway Soon

Augusta - The 2018-2019 Maine scallop season will soon start, with few changes from last season.

As in the 2017-2018 season, there will be a daily possession limit of 15 gallons of shucked scallops for Zone 1 and Zone 2, which together stretch from the New Hampshire Border to the Lubec-Campobello Bridge. There will also be a daily possession limit of 10 gallons for Zone 3 which includes Cobscook Bay and the St. Croix River.

For Zone 1, a 60-day season for draggers will begin on December 10, 2018 and end on March 28, 2019, while the Zone 1 season for divers will begin November 20, 2018 and end April 20, 2019.

For Zone 2, the 70-day season for draggers will start on December 3, 2018 and end March 28, 2019. For Zone 2, the 70-day season for divers will run from December 1, 2018 to April 13, 2019.

In Zone 3, draggers will have a 50-day season which begins on December 3, 2018 and ends March 27, 2019. Zone 3 divers will also have a 50-day season which starts on December 1, 2018 and ends March 28, 2019.

Areas in Zones 1 and 3 are again designated as Limited Access Areas, meaning harvesting in those areas will be limited to fewer days a week than in other areas to allow the resource to re-build. In Zone 1, those areas include Casco Bay, the Sheepscot River, the Damariscotta River, Muscle Ridge near South Thomaston, and Western Penobscot Bay Area. In Zone 3, the Limited Access Areas include Whiting/Dennys Bays.

In Zone 2, rotational management, which is like crop rotations in agriculture, will be used to support resource rebuilding. Areas open this season in Zone 2 had been closed for the previous two seasons.

Maine state territorial waters surrounding Machias Seal Island and North Rock will be open to harvest during the entire month of January 2019 in addition to the open days in the Zone 2 calendar, providing additional opportunity for Zone 2 harvesters on days when other areas in the Zone are closed.

Targeted closures, due to resource depletion, high concentrations of seed or sublegal scallops or the presence of spat-producing scallops will again be implemented for the entire season to support resource rebuilding. Areas closed include Lower Muscle Ridge, Eastern Casco Bay, the Upper Sheepscot River, the New Meadows River, Card Cove and Beals Island Bridge.

A provision that caps the daily per vessel limit of diver-harvested scallops has also been removed. The daily limit for divers now applies to individuals, providing more incentive for multiple divers to work from the same boat. In a winter fishery with set fishing days, having multiple divers working together improves harvester safety.

In addition, drag size restrictions for the Kittery area, Swan's Island Conservation area, and Gouldsboro Bay have been removed. Harvesters in those areas are authorized to use any drag size, provided it does not exceed the State maximum of 10 feet, six inches.

As in past seasons, areas along the coast will be closed by the Department using emergency rulemaking when 30 to 40 percent of the volume of legal sized scallops have been harvested. The 30-40 percent trigger has been shown to allow the resource to regenerate sufficiently to ensure a commercial harvest in the future.

Using information collected during the season from industry and Marine Patrol and from in-season trawl surveys, the Department can determine how much legal-size resource remains on the bottom and when to close areas.

More information, including charts and calendars can also be found on the DMR website.

Scallop Dragger License Lottery Winners Announced

Augusta - The Maine Department of Marine Resources has announced the first new entrants into the scallop fishery since 2009.

The winners of a recent department lottery to apply for a license include Matthew Alley from Beals Island who holds a lobster license, Chase Fitzsimmons from Lubec who has crewed on a scallop boat, Johnathon Oliver from Deer Isle who holds a lobster license, and Frank Gott from Bar Harbor, who also holds a lobster license.

Each will be responsible for applying for a scallop dragger license within 30 days of being notified. Under a law passed during the past legislative session, the license holder must own the vessel designated on the license.

The new licenses are the result of a limited entry system mandated by the legislature and implemented through regulation that allows someone who did not hold a scallop license in the previous year to be eligible for one.

In developing the limited entry system, the Department consulted with the Scallop Advisory Council (SAC). The Council recommended that eligibility for the lottery be limited to individuals 18 years of age or older to ensure that new licenses are awarded to individuals that have a good probability of being able to use the license.

The SAC also recommended designing the lottery for drag licenses to ensure that there is opportunity for both younger (18-30 years of age) and older (31 years of age and older) fishermen.

Under the regulation, each year two individuals will be awarded eligibility for a drag license through a lottery for every three individuals who did not renew their drag license in the previous calendar year. One of the licenses issued will go to an individual over the age of 18 and under the age of 31, and one of the licenses will go to an individual 31 years of age or older.

One person will also be awarded license eligibility for every person who held a commercial dive license but did not renew their license in the previous calendar year. Since no dive licenses were retired in 2017, there were no dive licenses available in the lottery.

Of the 1,290 lottery entrants, 401 applied for the 18-30 category and 889 submitted lottery applications for the 31 years and older category.

Lottery winners were chosen at random by InforME, an enterprise created in 1997 by state law to ensure access to public information through technological solutions.

The limited entry regulation also stipulated that individuals are not eligible for the lottery if they have been convicted or adjudicated of a marine resource violation that resulted in the suspension of their license within the past seven years. To be eligible for the lottery, entrants must be 18 years of age or older, must have held a commercial scallop license or have crewed aboard a commercial scallop vessel, and must not be a current commercial scallop license holder.

Beginning in 2019, eligible lottery entrants will have the opportunity to enter the lottery one additional time for each consecutive year they have entered the lottery.

Maine's scallop fishery has rebounded since 2009, when landings were 665,758 pounds, to 6.6 million pounds harvested in 2017, the most since 1998.

Pending approval of the proposed regulation that establishes the 2018-19 season, Maine's scallop season begins November 20, 2018 for divers and December 10, 2018 for draggers in Zone 1. In Zones 2 and 3, the season is scheduled to begin December 1, 2018 for divers and December 3 for draggers. Information on the 2018-2019 season can be found on the Maine DMR website.

Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund Grant Improves Marine Patrol Surveillance Abilities

New Binoculars for Marine Patrol

New Image Stabilizer Binoculars will improve Marine Patrol's ability to conduct surveillance and search and rescue.

Augusta - With a $3,200 grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and matching funds of $2,339.50 from the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the Maine Marine Patrol has purchased Binoculars that will improve Officers' ability to conduct surveillance for enforcement and search and rescue.

The new 14x40 Fujinon Image Stabilization binoculars have been distributed to the Marine Patrol's fleet of large patrol vessels throughout the State, replacing previous models that had only 7x magnification.

"The enhanced magnification allows Marine Patrol Officers to survey more area in greater detail," said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish. "This is especially important as more fishing activity is moving farther off-shore.

"We made the decision last year that we needed to improve our ability to conduct surveillance of a fleet that is spread out over a greater area, and to build on our search and rescue capabilities," said Colonel Cornish.

A decision was made to purchase binoculars with higher magnification. "However, because of the continual movement of patrol vessels at sea, binoculars with greater magnification alone were not seen as practical because a more magnified image becomes unstable in the view finder," said Colonel Cornish.

The stabilization technology allows images at the higher 14x magnification to remain in view as Marine Patrol Officers stand on the deck of a moving boat.

The waterproof binoculars are equipped with a durable hard plastic carrying case. The 40mm lens diameter provides superior light gathering, which is important when working in occasional low light conditions.

"We've gone from trying to identify boats that we can barely see on the horizon, to being able to see the antennas on boats before we can see the actual boat because it is still below the horizon!" said Marine Patrol Officer Matthew Wyman.

"It is common for the user of these new binoculars to point out vessels and fishing gear from such a great distance that the remaining MPO's aboard the boat have difficulty seeing what the user is describing. These will without a doubt be a useful tool for Marine Patrol conservation cases for many years to come," said Wyman.

This project was funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, in which proceeds from the sale of a dedicated instant lottery ticket are used to support outdoor recreation and natural resources conservation. More information about MOHF is available online.

Body Recovered from Kennebec River Identified

Richmond - The identity of the body recovered Friday, October 26 from the Kennebec River has been confirmed by the Medical Examiner's Office as that of Mark Johnston, 64 of Richmond.

Johnston's body was recovered by the Maine State Police/Marine Patrol dive team from the Kennebec River in Richmond Friday at 3:10 p.m.

The recovery occurred after an extensive search for Johnston, who was reported missing the previous night when he failed to return after moving his 32-foot recreational vessel from a mooring in Richmond to the Town Dock.

Body Recovered from Kennebec River

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FROM THE MAINE DEPARTMENT OF MARINE RESOURCES

DATE: October 26, 2018

CONTACT: Jeff Nichols, Maine Department of Marine Resources, 207-624-6569

Richmond - The Maine State Police/Marine Patrol dive team recovered a body from the Kennebec River today at approximately 3:10 p.m. The identity of the body will be confirmed by the Medical Examiner's Office.

The recovery occurred after an extensive search for Mark Johnston, 64 of Richmond who was reported missing last night at 9:21 p.m. According to Marine Patrol reports, he was planning to move his 32-foot recreational vessel from a mooring in Richmond to the Town Dock at approximately 6:15 PM.

Marine Patrol Officers, US Coast Guard and members of the Dresden Fire Department, Woolwich Fire Department, Bowdoinham Fire Department, the Maine Warden Service, the Richmond Harbormaster, and local Police Department personnel responded to the scene last night.

At approximately 10:30 PM, Johnston,s boat was discovered by Marine Patrol aground on the western side of Swan Island, across the river from Richmond. The boat was running and its navigation lights were on, however no one was on-board.

The search was temporarily suspended at 2:30 a.m. this morning and resumed at 7 a.m. with divers concentrating their search near the town dock.

Divers discovered the body approximately 20 feet from the town dock in approximately 15 feet of water.

Search Underway for Missing Richmond Man

Richmond - Maine Marine Patrol is leading a search for Mark Johnston, 64 of Richmond near the Richmond town landing on the Kennebec River.

Johnston was reported overdue last night at 9:21 p.m. According to Marine Patrol reports, he was planning to move his 32-foot recreational vessel from a mooring in Richmond to the Town Dock at approximately 6:15 PM.

Marine Patrol, local Police Department personnel and the US Coast Guard responded. At approximately 10:30 PM, Marine Patrol Officer Clint Thompson observed a boat aground on the west side of Swan Island. The vessel, confirmed by Marine Patrol as Johnston's boat, was running and its navigation lights were on, however no one was on-board.

Members of the Dresden Fire Department, Woolwich Fire Department, Bowdoinham Fire Department, the Maine Warden Service, and the Richmond Harbormaster also responded, searching on the water and on the shore of Swan Island.

The search, concluded at approximately 2:30 AM and resumed this morning at 7 a.m.

Marine Patrol investigation revealed that Johnston was last observed on a security camera arriving at the Town Dock at 6:11 PM.

The search today involves members of the Maine State Police/Marine Patrol dive team using a side scan sonar to search near the Richmond Town dock.

New Program Supports Atlantic Salmon Recovery

Augusta - The Maine Department of Marine Resources announces a new program to help fund Atlantic salmon recovery work and reduce the regulatory burden associated with road and bridge construction projects.

The Atlantic Salmon Restoration and Conservation Program (ASRCP) provides public and private parties working on road and bridge construction projects the flexibility to pay a fee in lieu of mitigation efforts required by federal law to offset unavoidable environmental impacts of the construction activity.

In-Lieu Fee Programs (ILF) were established in 2008 as an instrument of the Army Corps of Engineers to allow Corps permittees to compensate for impacts of their projects which, after all required steps have been taken to avoid or minimize damage to wetlands or aquatic resources, remain unavoidable.

Corps permits are necessary for projects including construction and dredging in the Nation's navigable waters. Adverse impacts to the aquatic environment must be offset by mitigation work, which can include restoring, enhancing, creating and preserving aquatic functions and values.

"This program allows us to pool resources from ILF payments and use them for projects that have the greatest potential to support recovery of Atlantic salmon," said Sean Ledwin, Director of the Sea-Run Fisheries Division at DMR. "The in-lieu-fee program requires that funds paid are used to support other restoration work that results in, at minimum, no net loss of habitat or habitat function. We plan to use the funds to not simply maintain habitat but to restore or enhance salmon habitat in Maine."

Compensation for ASRCP projects will take the form of monetary payments administered by Maine DMR and used for other projects determined to have a high probability of improving habitat and recovery for Atlantic salmon.

The ASRCP program was made possible by an agreement between the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Army Corp of Engineers and the State of Maine, which establishes eligibility standards for construction projects in areas of the state that have historic Atlantic salmon populations. The types of projects that are eligible for the ILF program include stream crossing structure removals, replacements, installations, and maintenance.

Fees will be calculated based on the amount of potential Atlantic salmon habitat impacted and the costs to restore salmon habitat. The more habitat that will be impacted, the higher the fee. "The impacts of each project are generally small while costs for high quality salmon restoration projects can be expensive, so pooling resources to focus on high priority projects makes a lot of sense," said Ledwin.

Another benefit of the program is that it allows for more timely implementation of eligible road-stream crossing construction projects in Maine watersheds where Atlantic salmon are found, and that meet specific criteria. "This will streamline the individual permitting processes for eligible construction projects, saving time and money," said Ledwin.

All ILF payments received by the Department of Marine Resources will be made available as grant awards to projects that restore, establish, enhance, and/or preserve Atlantic Salmon habitat throughout Maine.

Once sufficient funds are available, grant proposals will be solicited and evaluated by a Review Committee, convened by the Maine DMR, and made up of representatives from state and federal agencies. ILF Mitigation Projects will be selected based on an analysis of their ability to compensate for impacts of the projects paying into the program, and to provide significant and broad ecological benefits.

Information on the Maine Atlantic Salmon Restoration and Conservation Program is available online.

Body of Fisherman Recovered Near Jonesport

Jonesport - The body of Scott Chandler, 51, of West Jonesport was recovered at 5:10 pm today by divers taking part in a search near Doyle Island, west of Hopkins Point in Jonesport.

Chandler was seen falling off his 20-foot lobster boat near the island at approximately 9:20 a.m. this morning by commercial seaweed harvesters in the area who reported the incident.

Today's search involved members of the Maine Marine Patrol, the Maine State Police/Marine Patrol dive team, members of the Warden Service Dive Team, US Coast Guard boats, helicopter and plane.

Chandler's body has been transported to a local funeral home.

The circumstances around how Chandler fell into the water remain under investigation by the Marine Patrol and US Coast Guard.

Marine Patrol Officers Past and Present Honored

Specialist Roberts

Marine Patrol Specialist Corrie Roberts is recognized for receiving the Letter of Commendation from the National Water Safety Congress.

Officer Conley

Marine Patrol Officer Kenneth Conley is honored as the 2018 recipient of the Marine Patrol Commendation Award.

Specialist Dow

Marine Patrol Specialist Sean Dow is recognized for receiving the 2017 Maine Lobstermen's Association Officer of the Year Award.

Officer Conley

Marine Patrol Officer Matthew Wyman is honored for receiving the 2016 Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association (NECLECA) Award.

Officer Conley

Marine Patrol Officer Jason Leavitt is honored for receiving the 2017 Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association (NECLECA) Award.

Officer Mayotte

Marine Patrol Officer James Mayotte is recognized as the 2017 National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Award recipient.

Officer Conley

Retired Marine Patrol Chief Don McIntosh, who served as Colonel from 1976-1980 is presented the Legendary Service Award.

Officer Conley

Marine Patrol Officer Brian Brodie receives the 2018 Colonel's Field Award.

Augusta - The Maine Marine Patrol held its biannual awards banquet Tuesday, October 16 to recognize recipients of awards from the past two years. Colonel Jon Cornish presented the awards, highlighting contributions of Marine Patrol Officers past and present to the state, to DMR, and to the Citizens of Maine. (Pictures are at right)

Northern Shrimp Draft Addendum I Public Hearing Scheduled

Arlington, VA - Maine has scheduled a public hearing to gather public input on Draft Addendum I to Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Northern Shrimp. The details of the hearing follow.

Maine Department of Marine Resources Monday, November 5, 2018 at 4 PM Maine Department of Marine Resources Conference Room #118 32 Blossom Lane Augusta, Maine Contact: Nicholas Popoff at 207.624.6554

The Draft Addendum proposes providing states the authority to allocate their state-specific quota between gear types in the event the fishery reopens. The Draft Addend is available online and and can also be accessed on the Commission website under Public Input.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on Draft Addendum I either by attending a public hearing or providing written comment. Public comment will be accepted until 5 PM on November 7, 2018 and should be forwarded to Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 1050 N. Highland Street, Suite 200A-N, Arlington, VA, 22201; 703.842.07401 (fax); or by email at comments@asfmc.org (Subject line: Northern Shrimp).

The Section and its Advisory Panel will be meeting November 15-16, 2018. At this meeting, the Section will consider final action on Addendum I and set 2019 specifications. Information regarding the date and location of the November meeting will be provided, when available, in a subsequent press release.

For more information, please contact Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at mware@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

Newest Maine Marine Patrol Vessel Launched

New Dry Suits for Marine Patrol

The newest vessel in the Marine Patrol fleet, the Impact.

South Portland - The Maine Marine Patrol today launched the newest asset in its fleet, a high performance, 31-foot vessel designed for fisheries and recreational boating enforcement, and maritime security.

Powered by twin 350 horsepower motors and capable of speeds more than 50 knots, the Impact will be stationed at the South Portland Coast Guard facility, where today's launch took place.

The boat, built by Brunswick Commercial and Government Products, was purchased with a grant of $59,915 from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and a grant of $241,305 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Port Security Grant Program.

"Over the past 20 years Maine Marine Patrol has been fortunate to have had several vessel-purchases as well as training and other gear assets supported by the Port Security Grant program," said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish.

"There is no question that without this financial support we could not effectively provide the level of security coverage up and down the coast that we are able to today. Patrol now owns and operates five of these high-performance security vessels stationed from Saco to Eastport.

"In addition, over the past several years Patrol has applied for and been successful in getting support from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund," said Colonel Cornish. "These funds have supported high tech surveillance equipment as well as top grade survival suits for at sea boardings.

"Without support from both the Federal Port Security Grant and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Maine Marine Patrol would not have been able to procure necessary equipment and training that allow our officers to perform at the high level the public has come to expect.

"Portland is an ideal location for this asset as it represents one of the busiest Ports in New England with a great deal of both commercial fisheries, industrial and recreational activity taking place there," said Colonel Cornish.

"In my mind, the key to Patrol's success in getting funding through both funding sources has been partnerships. Partnerships have always and will always play a primary role in the success of any agency or organization," said Colonel Cornish.

This project was funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, in which proceeds from the sale of a dedicated instant lottery ticket are used to support outdoor recreation and natural resources conservation. More information about MOHF can be found online .

Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund Grant Improves Comfort, Safety for Marine Patrol

New Dry Suits for Marine Patrol

Marine Patrol Specialist Corrie Roberts sports a drysuit courtesy of a Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund Grant.

Rockland - With a grant of $11,000 from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and matching funds of $3,352.75 from the Department of Marine Resources, the Maine Marine Patrol has acquired 15 dry suits to be worn in the dangerous on-deck situations that Officers often encounter at work.

The suits, manufactured by paddle sport apparel and gear maker Kokatat, provide Marine Patrol Officers a more comfortable option for protection against the elements and the potential for immersion in icy Atlantic waters.

"While conducting marine resource inspections and other watercraft based law enforcement activities, officers are required to move from patrol vessels to other vessels and docks, in unstable and slippery conditions," said Marine Patrol Officer Matthew Wyman. "It is not uncommon for an Officer to be thrown off balance, to lose safe footing, or even to fall while performing these tasks."

A 2015 incident highlights the exposure to risk Marine Patrol Officers face. Marine Patrol Sergeant Matthew Talbot and Specialist Corrie Roberts received a report of a lobster fishing vessel circling out of control near Owls Head as the operator had become incapacitated. In 3-4 seas and 20 knot winds, Sergeant Talbot brought the Patrol Vessel close enough so Specialist Roberts could jump aboard the fishing vessel and gain control. "This high-risk scenario is one in which both Officers would have benefited from wearing a dry suit," said Wyman.

"The risk of falling into the water and being placed in a cold-water survival situation is constantly present," said Wyman. "Dry suits worn in conjunction with a personal floatation device (PFD) reduce the chance of an MPO becoming seriously injured during a cold-water immersion."

The suits, known as the Boat Crew Dry Suit, replace bulkier survival suits. While Marine Patrol trains to put on the survival suit in difficult situations, it still takes time which is valuable in difficult at-sea scenarios, and they are not comfortable for all-day use.

The dry suits are designed to be worn while working on deck and include pockets, handwarmers and belt loops to accommodate a gun belt. They are made with breathable, waterproof Goretex and can be worn with an insulating layer underneath or over the top.

"You can work all day long in these things" said Specialist Roberts. "These are comfortable to be in, so if you're working in rough conditions, in search and rescue situations, or if you're boarding a boat where there's a chance you could go in the water, you're totally comfortable."

This project was funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, in which proceeds from the sale of a dedicated instant lottery ticket are used to support outdoor recreation and natural resources conservation. For more information about MOHF, visit https://www.maine.gov/ifw/.

Northern Shrimp Benchmark Assessment Indicates Resource Continues to be Depleted - Section Approves Draft Addendum I for Public Comment

Portland, ME - The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Northern Shrimp Section (Section) reviewed the results of the 2018 Northern Shrimp Benchmark Stock Assessment, which indicate the population remains depleted, with spawning stock biomass (SSB) at extremely low levels since 2013. SSB in 2017 was estimated at 1.7 million pounds, well below the time series average of 7.9 million pounds. In addition, recruitment continues to be low, with values in 2017 estimated at 1.13 billion shrimp, less than half of the time series median of 2.63 billion shrimp. Variability in recruitment has increased since 2000, with higher highs and lower lows in recruitment deviations than in previous years (1984-1999). Fishing mortality has been very low in recent years due to the moratorium.

The Section accepted the assessment for management use based on the endorsement of the assessment by the peer review panel. Three models were investigated in the stock assessment, with the preferred model being a statistical catch-at-length model developed by the University of Maine. This model divides the northern shrimp stock into size groups and tracks changes in the proportion of shrimp in each size group across seasons and years to estimate fishing mortality and population size. Fishery-independent data incorporated into the model includes the Northeast Fisheries Science Center Trawl Survey and the Gulf of Maine Northern Shrimp Summer Survey. Fishery-dependent data was also included through commercial landings and the winter sampling program.

Ocean temperature has an important influence on northern shrimp life cycle, including the timing of hatch and early life survival. Warmer water temperatures are generally associated with lower recruitment indices and poorer survival during the first year of life. Ocean temperatures in the western Gulf of Maine shrimp habitat have increased over the past decade, and temperature is predicted to continue rising as a result of climate change. This suggests an increasingly inhospitable environment for northern shrimp in the Gulf of Maine.

The Benchmark Stock Assessment and Peer Review Report, as well as the Stock Assessment Overview, which is intended to aid media and interested stakeholders in better understanding the Commission's stock assessment results and process, will be available by mid-October on the Commission website, on the Northern Shrimp webpage under stock assessment reports.

The Section also approved Draft Addendum I for public comment. The Draft Addendum proposes providing states the authority to allocate their state-specific quota between gear types in the event the fishery reopens. The Draft Addendum is available online and can also be accessed on the Commission website under Public Input . Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on Draft Addendum I either by attending a public hearing (a subsequent press release will announce the details of the state hearings) or providing written comment. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM on November 7, 2018 and should be forwarded to Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 1050 N. Highland Street, Suite 200A-N, Arlington, VA, 22201; 703.842.07401 (fax); or by email. (Subject line: Northern Shrimp).

The Section and its Advisory Panel will be meeting November 15-16, 2018. At this meeting, the Section will consider final action on Addendum I and set 2019 specifications. Information regarding the date and location of the November meeting will be provided, when available, in a subsequent press release.

For more information, please contact Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, by email or 703.842.0740.

Scallop License Lottery Now Available

The Maine Department of Marine Resources is announcing a license lottery for four scallop drag licenses. There were no scallop dive licenses retired between 2016 and 2017, so there will not be a scallop dive license lottery in 2018.

The scallop drag license lottery is now open, and will remain open until October 26.

Applicants may enter online at www.maine.gov/scalloplottery or may or may complete a paper application at the DMR offices in the Marquardt Building, 32 Blossom Lane, Augusta. The Department will not be accepting paper applications through the mail.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to determine their eligibility to participate in the scallop license lottery. If an applicant is drawn, but determined to be ineligible, that drawing shall be void and the Department will draw another individual. The application fee submitted with the ineligible application is non-refundable.

More information on eligibility criteria is available online.

A Frequently Asked Questions document is available online as well.

If you have remaining questions, please call Maine DMR at 624-6550, Option 2 and we will try to assist you.

Aquaculture Public Hearing Rescheduled

The Department of Marine Resources will hold a public hearing on the application of Spinney Creek Shellfish, Inc. for a 3.67-acre, 3-year, experimental aquaculture lease for a site located in Spinney Creek, Kittery, Maine, for suspended culture of American/Eastern oysters and Northern quahogs. At the hearing, the Department will take evidence relating to the criteria and standards for granting an experimental lease as listed in 12 M.R.S. §6072-A and DMR Rule Chapter 2.64(7)(A). The hearing will take place on September 27, 2018 @ 6:00 p.m. at the R.W. Traip Academy, 12 Williams Avenue, Kittery, Maine.

Maine DMR Recognizes 2018 Employee and Manager of the Year

2018 DMR Employee and Manager of the Year

Boothbay Harbor - Pictured at right, Department of Marine Resource Commissioner Patrick Keliher (center) stands with 2018 DMR Employee of the Year Bryant Lewis (left) and Manager of the Year Kohl Kanwit after presenting the awards during the Department's recent annual meeting on Burnt Island. Lewis, the Department's Growing Area Program Supervisor, received the Employee of the Year Award for his problem solving skills, work ethic, and ability to deal effectively with media. Kanwit, Director of the Department's Public Health Bureau, was recognized for her exceptional professionalism and devotion to a high standard within the Bureau.

Menhaden Fishery Reopens September 17, 2018

Maine is re-opening the menhaden State Allocation fishery, beginning September 17, 2018.

For more information, see the notice of the emergency regulation (PDF file, 4 pages).

For more information about menhaden management, visit https://www.maine.gov/dmr/science-research/species/menhaden/management.html .

Maine Department of Marine Resources Issues Precautionary Closure for ASP

Lamoine - The Maine Department of Marine Resources has precautionarily closed a stretch of the downeast coast to harvesting of four shellfish species due to test results and experience with an emerging biotoxin, domoic acid, in recent years.

The closure, implemented September 7, 2018, prohibits harvesting of clams, mussels, oysters and carnivorous snails between the southern tip of Petit Manan and the southern tip of Pond Point on Great Wass Island.

The Department of Marine Resources Public Health Bureau tests coastal shellfish areas for biotoxins weekly, from March through October, or later when testing indicates the continued presence of biotoxins.

Testing includes sampling of water to determine the species and concentration of marine algae known as phytoplankton which produce biotoxins.

For most types of phytoplankton, when routine water sampling detects cell concentrations (in terms of numbers of cells per liter of water) that are known to produce toxins, sampling of shellfish begins.

When shellfish samples are shown to have toxins in concentrations specified by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP), areas are closed to shellfish harvesting.

The current precautionary closure is due to water and shellfish sampling that indicated the presence of domoic acid, the biotoxin that causes Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP).

While toxin levels in shellfish sampled in the impacted area fall below the NSSP threshold for closures, Maine DMR has determined that Pseudo-nitzschia, the marine algae which produces domoic acid, causes shellfish to become toxic more quickly than other species of phytoplankton.

The use of precautionary closures for ASP is designed to prevent the need for recalls of product which can be impacted by the rapidly toxifying species of phytoplankton if harvested between initial and follow up shellfish sampling.

Routine biotoxin monitoring along the Maine coast will continue and updated notices will be posted on the DMR website.

More information on biotoxins in Maine can also be found online

Marine Patrol Officer Rescues Aquaculture Workers After Boat Catches Fire

Eastport - Marine Patrol Officer Brian Brodie rescued two employees of Cooke Aquaculture yesterday in Passamaquoddy Bay after their boat caught fire.

At approximately 2:00 p.m. while on routine patrol Brodie spotted the two paddling a life raft. Brett Newman and Patrick Blair, both of Campobello, had been aboard a 40-foot lobster-style boat supplying feed for Cooke's sites in the Bay when it caught fire.

According to the two, they noticed smoke and then flames from the engine room. They deployed the life raft and were found by Officer Brodie approximately 5-minutes later about one eighth of a mile from shore near Todd Head in Eastport.

After pulling the two into his Marine Patrol vessel and confirming there were no other people on the boat or in the water, Officer Brodie pulled back to a safe distance until the US Coast Guard arrived. According to Officer Brodie, neither man was injured and both were wearing a life jacket. They were transferred to a Cooke Aquaculture vessel.

The boat was quickly fully engulfed in flames and drifted in the flood tide past Dog Island and into the whirlpools between Deer Island Point and Dog Island where it is being monitored by the Coast Guard.

NOTE: A photo of the Cooke Aquaculture boat is attached.

Volunteers Needed for Maine Coast Week Coastal Cleanup

Augusta - Volunteers are needed for Maine's Coastweek Coastal Cleanup which begins Saturday September 15 and runs through Saturday September 22.

With dozens of clean up locations looking for volunteers, anyone interested in keeping Maine's coastal shoreline and waterways clean has ample opportunity to participate.

Interested participants can visit the Maine Coastal Program online to find a location in need of volunteers or to register as a Cleanup Coordinator at one of dozens of sites along the Maine coast.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of one of Maine's largest volunteer events. For more information contact Theresa Torrent.

Eastern Maine Atlantic Herring Spawning Closure in Effect Starting August 28, 2018 through September 24, 2018

The Maine Department of Marine Resources would like to inform the Atlantic herring industry that herring spawning closure regulations which affect the capture of spawning herring in state and federal waters in the Eastern Maine Spawning Area will be in effect August 28 through September 24, 2018.

It shall be unlawful to fish for, take, possess, transfer, or land in any State of Maine port or facility, or to transfer at sea from any Maine registered vessel, any catch of herring harvested from the following described area:

All waters bounded by the following coordinates:

Maine coast, 68°20'W

43°48'N, 68°20'W

44°25'N, 67°03'W

North along the US/Canadian border

Herring taken legally outside the Eastern Maine Spawning Area may be transported through the area only if all of its fishing gear has been stowed.

For details regarding these coordinates, please contact your local Marine Patrol Division Headquarters (Div I 207-633-9595, Div II 207-667-3373).

For more information visit the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's website

NOTICE TO LOBSTER HARVESTERS: Survey to Support Improved Whale Regulations

The Maine Department of Marine Resources, with funding from the NOAA Section 6 Species Recovery Grants to States Program, is conducting surveys of lobster harvesters to provide data that will inform future whale protection regulations.

Harvesters from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut as well as those who fish in the offshore statistical areas within Management Area 3 are asked to completed this survey by the end of September.

Harvesters are being asked to complete a brief survey on how vertical lines are rigged and fished. Information will include rope type and diameter, trap configuration, distance from shore, depth, and type of surface system.

Without a better understanding of vertical lines, regulators are more likely to implement sweeping regulations which might not be any more effective at protecting whales. Good information from industry, including these surveys, will increase the likelihood of targeted, effective regulations.

Participation should take less than 10 minutes.

Personal or identifying information will be kept confidential and removed prior to distribution of survey results; however, we ask for your name, phone number and, in the case of Maine harvesters, your landings number, so we can contact you if necessary to confirm information provided in the survey.

The survey is available on the Maine DMR website.

For assistance with any of the surveys, please contact Caitlin Cleaver with FB Environmental at 207-706-9466 or by email .

Maine Coastweek Cleanup Registration Now Open

Augusta - Registration is now open for Maine's Coastweek Coastal Cleanup which begins Saturday September 15 and runs through Saturday September 22.

One of Maine's largest volunteer events, the Coastal Cleanup provides an opportunity for people of all ages to keep Maine's coastal shoreline and associated waterways clean.

Each year over a thousand participants clean hundreds of miles of Maine's waterfront.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Maine's participation in the event.

During the 2017 Cleanup 1,147 Maine volunteers cleaned 105 miles of coast.

Anyone interested participating can register online as a Cleanup Coordinator at one of dozens of sites along the Maine coast or find a site in need of volunteers.

Coordinators are responsible for guiding volunteer participation, promoting their cleanup, and disposing of the trash collected. Coordinators will receive an information packet containing trash bags and instructions.

For more information contact Theresa Torrent.

Maine Marine Patrol Responds to Accident on New Meadows River

Cundys Harbor - Maine Marine Patrol responded to a report late yesterday afternoon of a watercraft accident on the New Meadows River near Cundys Harbor involving a woman who was injured.

The woman, Casey L. Chandler, 21 of Brunswick, was transported to Mid Coast Memorial Hospital in Brunswick and then transported by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland.

She suffered injuries to her leg after falling overboard. Marine Patrol's initial investigation suggests that she was struck by the outboard motor propeller of the boat she had been on, a 15-foot 1972 Glastron.

Marine Patrol Sergeant Robert Beal, Officers Emily Lopez, Alex Hebert, and Kenneth Conley, along with Marine Patrol Specialists Matthew Sinclair, and Graham Hults responded.

Marine Patrol will continue to investigate the incident.

Updated Lobster License Waiting Lists Available

The waiting lists for new lobster licenses were updated July 24, 2018. To see or download the list for each zone, visit http://www.maine.gov/dmr/science-research/species/lobster/limitedentry.html . For more information, contact Sarah Cotnoir.

Maine DMR Awards Grants to Support Lobster Research

Augusta - The Maine Department of Marine Resources has awarded six grants for research programs that will contribute to improved understanding of lobster habitat, stock assessment, monitoring, impacts of management actions on the fishery, and how those can be integrated in a way that informs future management.

The Department made the awards totaling $340,000 from the Lobster Research, Education, and Development (RED) Fund. The RED Fund receives money from the sale of lobster license plates and is administered by the Department of Marine Resources.

The projects were solicited through a request for proposals which sought research initiatives that take a collaborative approach toward improved science for the lobster fishery.

Project leads will meet on a quarterly basis in facilitated sessions to share updates on their research and to discuss ways the different projects can be coordinated. They will include those funded through the RFP as well as other stakeholders from academic, management and industry groups who will advise and provide input into ongoing research.

"Maine's lobster industry is our most valuable and is a critical piece of the economy of nearly every community along the coast," said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. "We know that change is happening in the Gulf of Maine and we want to be positioned with improved science to adapt to those changes."

Of the six awards, five were for proposals submitted by University of Maine researchers, including three by UMaine Marine Science Professor Yong Chen, Ph.D.

Professor Chen has been awarded $75,000 over two years to develop scientific models that will project climate-driven changes in lobster distribution and habitat, and improve the ability of regulators to assess and manage lobster.

Professor Chen has received an additional $40,000 to evaluate the ability of current DMR monitoring programs including the ventless trap survey and the settlement survey to capture distribution shifts of lobster in the Gulf of Maine over time.

Professor Chen has also been awarded $75,000 to use computer simulations to evaluate and quantify the impacts of conservation measures used in the management of Maine lobster such as size limits and v-notching. This study will also include an analysis of how changing ocean temperatures impact the effectiveness of these conservation measures.

UMaine Marine Science Professor Robert Steneck, Ph.D. has received $10,000 to evaluate the relationship between lobster populations and habitat along the Maine coast by assessing lobster larvae settlement, kelp forests, and the near shore density of legal size and sublegal size lobsters.

UMaine Professor Richard Wahle, Ph.D. has been awarded $40,000 to evaluate the relationship between lobster larvae and zooplankton over time throughout the Gulf of Maine.

Kathy Mills, Ph.D., Research Scientist, and Andrew Pershing, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) have been awarded $80,000 to develop a suite of indicators that show how lobster habitat and the Gulf of Maine ecosystem are changing spatially and over time, and to evaluate how those indicators may affect lobster populations.

Nick Record, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Jeff Runge, Ph. D., UMaine Professor of Oceanography and Research Scientist with GMRI, Eric Annis, Ph.D., Biology Professor with Hood College, and Damian Brady, Ph.D., UMaine Assistant Research Science Professor, will each receive $5,000 to contribute additional expertise and data from their own research on a range of related issues.

"Each of these projects represents a significant contribution to the body of science that will inform the assessment and management of Maine's most valuable fishery," said Carl Wilson, Director of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Science Bureau.

Marine Patrol Hires Graham Hults as Boat Specialist for Section 1

New Marine Patrol Specialist

New Marine Patrol Specialist Graham Hults (2nd from right) is pictured with his Field Training Officer Specialist Matthew Sinclair (left), Maine Department of Marine Resources Deputy Commissioner Meredith Mendelson (2nd from left), Major Rene Cloutier (3rd from left), and Officer Tom Hale (right).

Augusta - The Maine Marine Patrol has hired Graham Hults of Portland to serve as a Boat Specialist, responsible for the operation of patrol vessels in Section 1, which stretches from Kittery to Yarmouth. Hults has previously worked as a Police Officer with the Portland Police Department, as a Senior Deckhand with the Casco Bay Island Transit District, and as a Captain with the Portland Express Water Taxi. Hults, who has a 100-ton Master license, will begin serving after completing the nine-week Field Training Program.

Maine Marine Patrol to Focus on Boating Under the Influence

Augusta - The Maine Marine Patrol will be on heightened alert for those violating Maine's boating under the influence laws during the national Operation Drywater weekend, June 29-July 1.

Operation Dry Water is a national awareness and enforcement campaign coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) that focuses on deterring boaters from boating under the influence (BUI) of drugs or alcohol.

"Marine Patrol Officers will be conducting patrols on Maine's coastal waters from Kittery to the Canadian border focused on boaters who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs," said Maine Marine Patrol Major Rene Cloutier.

"They will also be taking every opportunity possible to provide information on safe boating practices and the importance of wearing life jackets," said Major Cloutier. According to US Coast Guard statistics, 84.5 percent of drowning victims in 2017 were not wearing a life jacket.

Nationally, alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. According to the US Coast Guard, in 2017, where the primary cause was known, alcohol use was the leading factor in 19 percent of boater deaths.

"Boating under the influence is a 100 percent preventable crime," said Major Cloutier. "The Maine Marine Patrol strongly encourages boaters to stay safe by staying sober while boating.

"Environmental stressors such as wind, noise, and the movement of the boat while on the water intensify the effects of alcohol or drug use on an individual while boating. Boaters can become impaired more quickly on the water than on land."

Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is against the law in Maine. BUI laws pertain to all vessels, from canoes and rowboats to the largest ships.

In 2017, more than 7,000 officers from 628 agencies participated in the three-day weekend. Over the three-day weekend law enforcement officers contacted 243,853 boaters and made 518 BUI arrests. Agencies from all 56 U.S. states and territories participate in Operation Dry Water.

In 2017 the Maine Marine Patrol participated in Operation Drywater details along the Maine coast, checking 117 boats with 358 people on board resulting in three summonses and 43 warnings for boating violations, none of which were for BUI.

"Fortunately, we didn't have to remove anyone from the water for BUI," said Major Cloutier. "But it provided us with an opportunity to communicate with a lot of people about the importance of boating sober and safely."

Marine Patrol officers will also be sharing the safety message with paddlers. "Maine's ocean temperatures, even in the summer, can be extremely cold, and the weather can change in an instant," said Major Cloutier. "We encourage paddlers to dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature, and check with organizations like the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guide Instructors for information on safe paddling."

For more information on Operation Dry Water, please visit operationdrywater.org.

FY19 Coastal Community Planning Grants Available for Municipal and Regional Projects

The Municipal Planning Assistance Program is pleased to announce the program statement for the FY19 round of Coastal Community Planning Grants has been released. Funding for these technical assistance grants comes from Maine Coastal Program annual grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Those that will be eligible to apply include coastal municipalities, coastal unorganized township, groups of coastal municipalities/townships, and coastal Regional Planning Organizations (i.e. Planning Commissions and Councils of Government).

In this grant round, eligible projects must be designed to improve water quality in priority coastal watersheds, or to increase resiliency/adaptation to erosion and flooding, while preserving coastal natural resources.

Applications are due Friday, July 27, 2018 at 2 P.M.

FY19 CCG Grant Program Statement

Contact: Ruta Dzenis, Senior Planner MPAP (207) 287-2851

Elver Landings Reported as of Noon May 24, 2018

DMR

Pound Reported - 7,043.77

Overall Quota - 7,566.3

Remaining Quota - 522.53

Maliseet

Pounds Reported - 88.86

Overall Quota - 106.6

Remaining Quota - 17.74

Micmac

Pounds Reported - 38.27

Overall Quota - 38.8

Remaining Quota - 0.53

Passamaquoddy

Pounds Reported - 1,407.96

Overall Quota - 1,356.3

Remaining Quota - (-51.66)

Per statute, the overage of 51.66 lbs by the Passamaquoddy Tribe will be deducted from the Tribe's 2019 quota allocation.

Penobscot

Pounds Reported - 599.85

Overall Quota - 620

Remaining Quota - 20.15

QUOTA TOTAL* - 9,178.714

Overall Quota - 9,688

Remaining - 509.29

*All 2018 data are extremely preliminary and subject to change without notice.

Dealers reported buying a total of 9,178.714 pounds with a reported value of $21,746,520 for average price per pound of $2,369.

NOTE: Maine's elver fishery has been shut down through emergency regulation. Under the regulation, licensed harvesters may not fish for or take elvers after 6:00 a.m. on May 24, but may possess and sell elvers until noon on May 24. Licensed dealers may purchase elvers until noon on May 24, and may possess legally purchased elvers until 6:00 a.m. on May 29.

Maine’s Elver Fishery to Shut Down, Charges Pending for Illegal Sales

Augusta –The Maine Department of Marine Resources today announced that it will be shutting down the elver fishery two weeks early, on May 24 at 6:00 a.m. The closure, done through emergency rulemaking, is being implemented because of illegal sales which jeopardize the department’s ability to manage the fishery.

An investigation by the Maine Marine Patrol revealed that some Maine elver dealers were paying a cash amount that was substantially less than the per pound price for elvers that were harvested and accounted for through the state’s swipe card system.

The investigation is on-going and charges will be filed against dealers and harvesters who bought and sold elvers without using the state’s swipe card system.

The swipe card system records the weight and value of each sale, allowing the state to ensure that harvesting does not exceed individual and overall state quotas.

The state’s overall quota is set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), and individual quotas which add up to the overall quota, are established by the state.

The value and weight of the illegally harvested and sold elvers were not recorded with the swipe card system and not accounted for in the Department’s quota management system.

The swipe card system was established in 2014 to allow DMR to obtain accurate, timely information on the amount of elvers landed and sold in Maine and has been key in the state’s ability to comply with the overall quota requirement.

“This is a fishery that stood to net Maine license holders nearly $24 million this year, and now because of the greed of some dealers and harvesters, I am obligated to cut that opportunity short,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

As of May 22, 9,090.629 pounds of the state’s 9,688-pound quota had been sold legally, using the swipe card system.

“We believe that if the illegal sales had been recorded, the 2018 elver quota would have already been exceeded,” said Commissioner Keliher. “For this reason, an immediate closure of the fishery, done through emergency rulemaking, is necessary to prevent depletion of the elver resource, caused by exceeding the 2018 elver fishing quota.

“The future of this lucrative fishery is now in question,” said Commissioner Keliher. “We clearly have to consider additional measures to ensure that Maine can remain compliant with ASMFC, that we can continue to protect our state’s valuable marine resources, and that we can hold accountable anyone who chooses to squander the opportunity those resources represent.”

Under the regulation, licensed harvesters may not fish for or take elvers after 6:00 a.m. on May 24, but may possess and sell elvers until noon on May 24. Licensed dealers may purchase elvers until noon on May 24, and may possess legally purchased elvers until 6:00 a.m. on May 29.

Maine Marine Patrol Encourages Safety Heading into Recreational Boating Season

Augusta - May 19-25 is National Safe Boating Week, and the Maine Marine Patrol wants to remind recreational boaters to stay safe while enjoying Maine’s waters.

“This summer, thousands of boaters will spend time with friends and family on Maine’s coastal waters, rivers and lakes,” said Maine Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish. “As we near Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the boating season, we want to remind people about safe boating practices.”

In Maine, all children 10 and under must wear a life jacket. Adults don’t have to wear them but they must be available on board for every occupant. "Life jackets do save lives,” said Colonel Cornish. “If you end up in the water unconscious for some reason, a properly-fitting life jacket will keep you afloat, which is especially important this time of the year when the water is still very cold.

Before your first day on the water, Colonel Cornish recommends a thorough assessment of vessel and safety equipment. “In addition to life jackets, safe boaters should have working navigation lights, visual distress signals, sound signalling devices, VHF radio, cell phone, proper ventilation, and properly displayed registration numbers. A thorough check of fire extinguishers and flares should be done to make sure they’re in working order.

“It’s also a good time to take a boating safety course,” said Colonel Cornish. “The US Power Squadrons, a non-profit, educational organization that offers classes in seamanship, navigation and related subjects, and the Coast Guard Auxiliary both offer excellent public boating courses.”

Boaters should also be sure to file a float plan with a friend or relative. “It’s important to let someone know where you are going and your approximate time of return,” said Colonel Cornish. “Always make sure you check the local marine forecast before heading out on Maine’s coastal waters.”

In addition, paddlers should always dress for the water temperature. “Maine’s ocean temperatures, even in the summer, can be extremely cold, and the weather can change in an instant,” said Colonel Cornish. The Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors recommends paddlers wear a dry suit if the water temperature is less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, or a wet suit if the water temperature is between 50 and 60 degrees.

Another important safety issue to consider is drinking and boating. According to recent Coast Guard statistics, alcohol is involved in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities.

“People should be aware that the Marine Patrol has zero tolerance for boating under the influence,” explained Colonel Cornish. “Alcohol use can be even more dangerous in a marine environment than on land. Boaters under the influence are just like motorists under the influence – and we are going to prosecute those people who make the waters unsafe for the rest of us.”

“The Marine Patrol will be working throughout the coming months to make sure boaters stay safe on Maine’s coastal waters.”

For more information on recreational boating safety, visit the Maine Department of Marine Resources website .

Marine Patrol Officers Graduate from Maine Criminal Justice Academy

MCJA Graduates

Vassalboro - Marine Patrol Officers (left to right) Alexandre Michaud, Emily Lopez, and Nicholas Stilwell are pictured with Colonel Jon Cornish today after graduation ceremonies at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. MPOs Lopez and Michaud have been serving since October of last year and returned to complete the 18-week MCJA Basic Law Enforcement Training Program. MPO Lopez has been serving in the Kittery patrol but has transferred to the Freeport Patrol. Michaud will continue to serve in the St. George-Warren patrol. Stillwell will begin serving the Spruce Head-Matinicus patrol after completing the Marine Patrol's Field Training program.

Taylor Shewokis Sworn in as Newest Maine Marine Patrol Officer

Maritime Security Training

Pictured with Taylor Shewokis (3rd from left) are Lieutenant Dan White, Sergeant Wesley Dean, Colonel Jon Cornish, and Major Rene Cloutier.

Augusta - Taylor Shewokis from Weymouth Massachussetts, was sworn in today as the newest member of the Maine Marine Patrol. MPO Shewokis has been assigned to the Kittery Patrol and will be starting his Marine Patrol Field Training program next week. Shewokis graduates from the University of New England Friday with a degree in Environmental Studies Friday. He served last summer as a seasonal Marine Patrol Officer in the Saco patrol. Officer Shewokis is a graduate of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s Law Enforcement Pre-Service Course, and has completed an internship with the Massachusetts Environmental Police. He will be attending the Maine Criminal Justices Academy's Basic Law Enforcement Training Program in August.

Halibut Regulations Designed to Ensure Fishery Doesn’t Exceed Catch Limits

Augusta – The Maine Department of Marine Resources reminds harvesters with an Atlantic Halibut endorsement of new state regulations designed to keep the state compliant with federal rules.

The new state rules, enacted in April as emergency regulations and scheduled to become permanent in June, are designed to prevent state licensed harvesters from exceeding the allowable catch limit in state waters and contributing to an overage for the combined state and federal fishery.

An overage in the combined state and federal waters annual catch limit would trigger restrictions, known as Accountability Measures, for federally permitted ground fishermen which would limit their ability to target and catch marketable species, such as haddock and winter flounder.

It would also mean that federally-permitted lobster fishermen from Maine would not be able to participate in the state waters halibut season, as there would be a zero-possession limit imposed on all federal permit holders. “An overage would result in significant hardship for the federal groundfish fishery in the Gulf of Maine, as well as adversely impact many other Maine permit holders who participate in the state halibut fishery,” said Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

The total annual catch limit for harvesters in state waters during the 2018 fishing season (May 11 to June 20) is 21.8 metric tons (48,060.77 pounds), while the total allowable catch for state and federally permitted harvesters combined is 104 metric tons (229,281 pounds).

In recent years, state and federal waters catches of Atlantic halibut have been steadily increasing, in 2016 nearly exceeding the level that would trigger the restrictive accountability measures.

In order to remain within the limit set for state waters, and to prevent the overall allowable catch limit from being exceeded, the Department has implemented regulations to reduce catch in the state waters fishery by the following measures: 1) reducing the length of the state waters halibut season by ten days at each end of the season; 2) reducing the number of hooks to 250; and 3) imposing a prohibition on possession of halibut by those license holders who have been issued state commercial halibut tags when operating seaward of the territorial waters boundary.

Furthermore, Commissioner Keliher reminds harvesters, including licensed lobster fishermen with a halibut endorsement, that failure to follow these new rules will result in the suspension of a halibut endorsement as well as an individual’s lobster license. “It is critical that we, as a state, remain compliant with the federal regulations in order to maintain access to this fishery.”

The proposed regulation and a compliance guide for the halibut fishery can be found on the Department of Marine Resources website.

Maritime Security Training Event Brings Multiple Agencies to Bar Harbor

Maritime Security Training

Members of the Maine State Police Tactical Team board the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company’s boat Friendship V from a Maine Marine Patrol Protector vessel during maritime security training last week in Bar Harbor.

Bar Harbor – The Maine Maritime Security Team, including the Maine Marine Patrol, Maine State Police Tactical Team, and the US Coast Guard, took part in a training exercise Thursday, May 10 in Bar Habor to prepare for potential security threats at-sea.

Different scenarios, including a hostage situation, an active shooter, and an improvised explosive device carried by a passenger were the basis of the day’s training exercise.

“This kind of training is critical because it brings together the agencies that would respond to a maritime security threat and allows them to run through different scenarios and learn how to work as a coordinated team,” said Marine Patrol Pilot Steve Ingram, who coordinated the training event for Marine Patrol.

The morning exercise involved both Marine Patrol and US Coast Guard vessels serving as platforms for delivering members of the Maine State Police Tactical Team as they boarded the Friendship V operated by the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company.

“This exercise was conducted repeatedly to allow all State Police Tactical Team members to practice boarding a passenger vessel during a threat scenario while fully equipped with personal protective equipment and weapons,” said Ingram.

“This exercise required precision by boat operators who had to deliver Tactical Team members safely to the passenger vessel and hold the bow of the boat against the larger vessel while Team members boarded over the side. It also provided Tactical Team members a chance to build familiarity with the different platforms that would be used to deliver them to a maritime incident," said Ingram.

While the morning exercise was conducted at the dock, the afternoon exercise was done in the Harbor to simulate a boarding while underway and involved different threat scenarios. “These scenarios gave team members a chance to not only practice boarding while underway, but to work on response to a variety of possible threat situations,” said Ingram.

“The Marine Patrol and the US Coast Guard have the assets and expertise to deliver highly trained members of the Tactical Team to threats that might occur at sea,” said Ingram. “This level of coordination among agencies is a key to our national security.”

The Maritime Security Team was established through a memorandum of agreement between the State of Maine and the US Coast Guard after 911 when state and federal agencies saw a need for greater preparedness to respond to maritime threats. Training such as the Bar Harbor event is conducted to ensure coordination among federal and state partners.

Maine Awarded NOAA Grant to Restore Atlantic Salmon and River Herring to Togus Stream

Togus Stream River Herring Restoration

DMR Sea Run Fisheries Division staff members lift alewives over the dam at Lower Togus Pond

Augusta – The Maine Department of Marine Resources has been awarded $311,357 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Species Recovery Grants to States Program to restore Atlantic salmon and river herring in Togus Stream.

Togus Stream, a tributary to the Kennebec River, once supported populations of critically endangered Atlantic salmon, as well as alewives and blueback herring, collectively called river herring. However, construction of barriers has blocked these species from historical habitat for more than 200 years.

“Togus stream has the most and best Atlantic salmon habitat below mainstem dams on the Kennebec River and has the potential to support runs of over 300,000 river herring annually into Togus Pond,” said DMR Sea Run Fisheries Director Sean Ledwin.

The three-year restoration project will involve Atlantic salmon egg planting at three locations in Togus Stream, installation of a fish way at Lower Togus Pond Dam, and removal of two small stone dams located downstream of Lower Togus Pond Dam.

Improved river herring runs provide numerous benefits including the increased available of food for predators such as eagles, osprey, and striped bass during juvenile salmon outmigration to the ocean, which improves the chances of survival for salmon juveniles.

“We believe that restoring all these species will lead to more successful Atlantic salmon recovery by reestablishing their ecological roles in relation to each other,” said Ledwin.

“Stocking eggs into a river has proven to be a successful way to promote recovery of Atlantic salmon. Access to habitat is equally vital for restoration of species like Atlantic salmon and river herring which spawn in fresh water and migrate to and from saltwater,” said Ledwin.

The dam, built in 1804, blocked Atlantic salmon and river herring from migrating upstream to historic spawning habitat. To rebuild the river herring population in the pond, DMR staff began stocking it in 2010, and in 2014 began manually transferring returning river herring over the existing dam with hand-held nets to facilitate migration.

Two stone dams downstream of the Lower Togus Pond dam which impede fish passage during lower water levels will also be removed as part of the project.

The Department has been working closely with the association of local landowners, the Worromontogus Lake Association (WLA), which owns the dam. “We were approached nine years-ago by DMR about this project,” said Gary Schaumburg, Association Vice President. “After a lot of conversation, we agreed it was the right thing to return these fish to their rightful home. Our members have been heavily involved with everything from helping to select a vendor, to designing the fish ladder, acquiring permits, and soliciting grants for a driveway, parking lot and shed pad on the site.”

Greg Jolda, President of the WLA appreciates the working relationship established with the state and the potential for income from an alewife fishery. “I think it’s been very positive,” said Jolda. “We met with the Commissioner (DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher) and we discussed the potential for an alewife fishery and the fact that it could provide resources for the Lake Association. So, it’s been very positive to work with the Department.”

The Department also credits previous Sea Run Fisheries Division staffer Melissa Laser, who died in 2010, for laying the ground work for this project by conducting extensive outreach with local landowners. “Melissa’s work was critical in helping local landowners appreciate the many benefits of a healthy river herring population,” said Commissioner Keliher.

A video of DMR staff recently lifting fish over the dam at the end of Lower Togus Pond as part of the Department's work to restore river herring to upstream spawning habitat can be found online

Maine Awarded NOAA Grant to Improve Whale Protection Data

Boothbay Harbor (Issued April 9, 2018) - The Maine Department of Marine Resources has been awarded a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to improve the data used to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales.

The $714,245 grant is funded through the Section 6 Species Recovery Grants to States Program administered by NOAA. The three-year project, which begins in the summer of 2018, will support work that improves and adds data on fishing gear that can inform future whale protection regulations.

With 17 North Atlantic right whale deaths last year, there is growing interest among stakeholders, including regulators and the Maine lobster industry, to improve the data on which future regulations are based.

"Maine has been involved in the development and evolution of whale protection regulations over the past two decades, and this research will ensure that future regulations are based on current, relevant data," said Erin Summers, project lead and Director of DMR's Division of Biological Monitoring. This study is another example of Maine taking a leadership role in the protection of whales.

Right whale habitat use has changed in recent years, said Summers. Understanding how and where fishing gear is used throughout the Gulf of Maine region will be crucial to the development of regulations that address the relative risk of entanglement in specific areas. If new regulations are required, we want to have the information necessary to maximize the conservation benefit to right whales.

The project will include a program to solicit volunteer documentation by harvesters from Maine to Connecticut on how vertical lines are rigged and fished. Information will include rope type and diameter, trap configuration, distance from shore, depth, and type of surface system.

Without a better understanding of vertical lines, regulators are more likely to implement sweeping regulations which might not be any more effective at protecting whales, said Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. Good information from industry will increase the likelihood of targeted, effective regulations. The Department will begin conducting industry outreach in the summer of 2018 to promote participation.

The project will also include a study on the breaking strength of vertical lines currently in use, as well as the amount of load put on the vertical lines during different hauling conditions. This analysis will document the strength of rope currently in use, determine what rope strength will ensure that harvesters can fish safely and efficiently, and help determine whether reducing the strength of vertical lines might help decrease severe entanglements of right whales. The Department will solicit participation from harvesters who are willing to test the hauling loads and breaking strengths of their fishing gear.

The Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team, established 20 years-ago to assess and advise federal regulators on whale protection measures, has recommended in recent years improved reporting by harvesters on gear location and configuration, as well as research into rope strength. These areas of focus will help managers develop informed, effective regulations, said Summers.

Project participants include the Maine Lobstermens Association (MLA), FB Environmental Associates of Portland and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and the University of Maine School of Marine Science. MLA will work with FB Environmental Associates on project outreach and communications efforts, while the UMaine School of Marine Science will develop statistical models from the gathered data that regulators can use to quantify current vertical line use and to predict the potential outcomes of proposed regulations.

The Maine Coastal Program Releases FY19 Shore and Harbor Planning Grant Program Statement

The Maine Coastal Program, a Division of the Maine Department of Marine Resources is pleased to announce the release of the Program Statement for the FY19 Shore and Harbor Planning Grant Program. Funding from the Shore and Harbor Planning Grant Program can be used for municipal/regional projects in Maine’s Coastal Zone that fall under one of the following categories:

  1. Harbor Planning (especially to implement recommendations consistent with comprehensive plans), including – Development of Harbor Management Plans, creation of Harbor Ordinances, preparation of Mooring Plans, with attendant data bases and mapping support, data collection, mapping, data base development, and analysis activities needed to support harbor planning activities, harbor traffic control and safety planning.

  2. Planning and Design Projects for Harbor Improvements – Integration of public access with waterfront development to preserve unique natural, cultural, and village assets that contribute to sustainable development and tourism infrastructure. Planning and design of facilities and improvements for public and working access, dredging studies (non-federal, and for federal match), support for research and demonstration of new materials and techniques for ramps, piers and wharfs, floats, and moorings. Development of plans or strategies to address the impact of coastal storms and flooding on waterfront infrastructure. Planning and design of improvements to existing and aging infrastructure so that it may better serve the waterfront community into the future.

  3. Municipal Facilities Management Plans – Management and business plans for operations of municipal fishing piers, marinas, and water access sites and facilities, development of related rules and ordinances, creation of model or standardized lease arrangements for municipal use.

  4. Working Waterfront Planning and Improvement Projects – Project planning and development support for projects seeking funding from the Working Waterfront Access Protection Program

  5. Right of Way Rediscovery Projects – Research to help communities find and assert public rights-of-way to the shore. Funding provided under this category can be used for deed and legal research and property surveys.

  6. Harbor Dredging-related Research Projects – Research to help communities identify and quantify the socio-economic value of federally-designated, shallow-draft harbors maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE). Socio-economic research that documents these values can assist a coastal community in working with the ACOE and Maine’s congressional delegation to secure federal funding for ACOE maintenance dredging of small, shallow-draft harbors.

Application Information, important dates, and grant requirements can be found in the Program Statement below. For questions, please contact Matthew Nixon.

New Scientists Support DMR Research Priorities

Rebecca and Jesica

Boothbay Harbor – The Maine Department of Marine Resources has hired two new scientists to support existing and new research priorities.

Jesica Waller (right) of Newcastle, Maine will be responsible for conducting biological studies on American lobster that will benefit the Department’s understanding of the resource and contribute to future stock assessments. She will also support a new collaborative lobster research initiative that helps the Department respond and adapt to the changing Gulf of Maine ecosystem.

Waller received a Bachelor of Science: Marine and Freshwater, from the University of New Hampshire in 2013 and a Master of Science in Marine Biology from the University of Maine in 2016.

While pursuing her graduate degree, Waller also served as an Intern at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, as a Fellow for the University of Maine Canadian-American Center, and as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Maine’s Darling Center.

After graduating, Waller served as a Research Technician at the Bigelow Laboratory, where she designed and performed laboratory and field experiments for federally funded projects, and contributed to peer-reviewed publications and grant proposals.

“This is a vital new position that will enhance existing monitoring work, and allow the department to focus on emerging research priorities,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Science Bureau Director Carl Wilson. “Jesica brings the academic and professional background necessary for the growth of our lobster research program.”

Rebecca Peters (left), from Silver Springs, Maryland, will coordinate the Maine, New Hampshire in-shore trawl survey, filling a vacancy left by last summer’s retirement of longtime project coordinator Sally Sherman.

The inshore trawl survey, conducted in spring and fall, evaluates marine resources inside the coastal waters of Maine and New Hampshire. Groundfish, lobsters, recreational finfish species, and non-commercial species of ecological interest are assessed.

Peters received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Old Dominion University in 2012 and a Master of Science in Marine Estuarine and Environmental Science from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 2016.

Upon graduating, Peters was awarded the Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship in 2017 where she worked in NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology to support the habitat science program and NOAA’s Ecosystem Science and Management Working Group.

“Rebecca brings relevant, valuable experience to the in-shore trawl survey,” said Wilson. “The trawl survey provides critically important data for issues such as fish stock recovery, fisheries management, Essential Fish Habitat designations, and adaptation to the changing ecosystem.”

Mike Murphy Receives 2018 DMR Andy Mays Award of Excellence

DMR Andy Mays Award

March 5, 2018 - DMR Commissioner Pat Keliher presents Machiasport fisherman Mike Murphy with the 2018 DMR Andy Mays Award of Excellence at the Fishermen's Forum banquet, Friday, March 2, 2018. The award is named for the first recipient of the award, Andy Mays, who lost his battle with cancer last year. Commissioner Keliher honored Mike for his contributions and dedication to the industry.

Dave Cousens Recognized for Decades of Service

Special Recognition Award

March 5, 2018 - Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Pat Keliher presented Dave Cousens with a Special Recognition Award during the Maine Lobstermen's Association meeting Friday, March 2, 2018 at the Fishermen's Forum. Dave is stepping down as MLA's President after 27-years at the helm and will be replaced by Cutler lobsterman Kristan Porter.

Specialist Sean Dow Receives 2018 MLA Officer of the Year Award

MLA Award 2017

March 5, 2018 - Marine Patrol Specialist Sean Dow, who serves aboard the Dirigo II out of Mount Desert Island, receives the 2018 Maine Lobstermen’s Association Maine Patrol Officer of the Year Award. The award, presented Saturday night at the Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport, is an annual recognition of Marine Patrol Officers who provide outstanding service in support of the Maine lobster industry. Pictured with Specialist Dow are MLA Board member Jason Joyce (left) and MLA Executive Director Patrice McCarron (right). (Photo courtesy of Mark Haskell Photography)

Maine Commercial Harvesters Bring a Half Billion Dollars in Harvested Product to Shore in 2017

Augusta – Maine commercial fishermen once again landed more than a half-billion dollars’ worth of marine resources in 2017. At $569,173,089, the total value stands as the fourth highest ever and marks only the sixth time that Maine harvesters have surpassed $500,000,000.

“Maine’s commercial harvesters have again established our state as a leader in the sustainable, responsible management of marine resources,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Not only do they contribute greatly to our state’s economy, they consistently deliver the best seafood in the world.”

Lobster landings in 2017 were the sixth highest on record at 110,819,760 pounds, despite declining by 16 percent from 2016. Value also dropped from $4.08 a pound in 2016 to $3.91 a pound for an overall value of $433,789,855 which still represented the fourth highest landed value for Maine’s iconic fishery. When accounting for bonuses paid to harvesters by

15 of 20 Co-Ops, the overall landed value of lobster was $450,799,283.

According to National Marine Fisheries Service data, American lobster was the species of highest landed value in the U.S. in 2015 and 2016, and Maine’s landings accounted for approximately 80 percent of that landed value in 2016.

Herring, the primary bait source for the lobster industry, again represented the second most valuable commercial fishery at $17,993,786 on the strength of a record per-pound price of twenty-seven cents. Harvesters landed 66,453,073 pounds, most of which was harvested from the in-shore Gulf of Maine area known as Area 1A.

Despite a drop of nearly 4 million pounds landed and a dip of $3.8 million in value, Maine’s softshell clam industry remained the third most valuable commercial fishery at $12,363,328. “Landings declined in part due to closures associated with harmful algal blooms,” said DMR Public Health Bureau Director Kohl Kanwit. The decline in value is due in part to reported increases in supply of softshell clams from outside Maine which affected the demand and value for Maine clams.

Maine elver harvesters enjoyed another season in which their fishery was by far the most valuable on a per pound basis. Harvesters landed 9,343 pounds of the 9,688-pound state quota. At $1,303 a pound, the elver fishery was valued at $12,155,672, the fifth highest per pound and overall value in the history of the fishery.

Maine scallop harvesters landed the most scallops since 1997, bringing ashore 793,544 meat pounds, a nearly 45 percent jump from 2016. At $9,300,111, scallop landings had the highest overall value since 1993. “Management measures developed in cooperation with industry are definitely yielding good results,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

Cobscook and Whiting/Dennys Bays in zone 3 remained open longer during the 2016-2017 season than in the previous season. Areas in zone 2 also benefited from 2 years of rotational closures leading up to the 2016/2017 season. “Maine’s scallop fishery continues its impressive rebound thanks in large part to harvesters whose compliance with area closures and limits have been critical to the success of this fishery,” said Commissioner Keliher.

“The past year has underscored what I’ve been saying for years now – that change is inevitable and we must be prepared,” said Commissioner Keliher. “This year’s decline in lobster landings is by no means a signal that the sky is falling. But it does highlight the need to make sure our management measures adapt to change. This is true for all fisheries. It is the best way to ensure resilience of our marine resources and opportunity for future generations.”

More landings data can be found online.

Harrington Man’s Body Discovered after Morning Search by Marine Patrol

Harrington – The body of 62-year old Delbert Caler of Harrington was discovered this morning by a local fisherman working with Maine Marine Patrol to locate the shellfish harvester, missing since last night.

Marine Patrol received a report this morning at approximately 6 a.m. that Caler, a licensed shellfish harvester, was missing after he had gone clamming last evening.

The search, coordinated by the Maine Marine Patrol, began immediately and involved many locals searching on the water and shore, as well as members of the Maine Warden Service.

His body was found at approximately 9 a.m. in the water a half mile away from Lower Wass Cove on the Pleasant River where, earlier in the morning, clamming gear believed to be Caler’s was located.

Caler’s body is being transferred to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta for confirmation of cause of death.

Involved in today’s search were Marine Patrol Sergeant’s Colin MacDonald and Russell Wright, Officers Keith York, and Jonathan Varnum, Pilot Steve Ingram, and Specialist Mark Murry. Maine Warden Service Bayley Grant and Scott Osgood were also involved in the search as were many members of the local community.

First New Elver Licenses to be Awarded Since 2013

January 24, 2018 – In the first lottery since 2013, the Maine Department of Marine Resources has awarded the right to apply for a coveted elver license to eleven lucky Mainers.

More than three thousand people applied for the eleven available licenses.

“I’m pleased we can provide an opportunity for Mainers to benefit from this valuable resource,” said Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

The lottery, authorized during the past legislative session, was available to Maine residents who are at least 15 years of age by the start of the 2018 season, and who are eligible to purchase an elver license in 2018 because they have not had their right to obtain an elver license suspended.

Each new license holder will receive a minimum of four pounds of quota, which at the most recent season’s average value could amount to nearly $6,000 of income. They will each be authorized to choose either a dip net or a fyke net for harvesting.

The lottery winners are: Warren Elsaesser from Naples; Amanda Harvey from Swanville; Celeste Risbridger from Gouldsboro; Michael Griffin from Whiting; William Schad from North Yarmouth; Raymond Pomeroy from Stockton Springs; Marcel Nuss from Surry; Gregory Ring from Sorrento; Krista Tripp from Spruce Head; Ryan Larrabee from Stonington; Cathie Harrington from Nobleboro.

InforME an enterprise created in 1997 by state law to ensure access to public information through technological solutions, conducted the lottery.

Each individual was allowed to submit up to five applications at a cost of $35 per application. 3,136 individuals applied for the lottery, of those 1,496 entered once and the remaining entered multiple times. The total number of entries was 8,093.

Twenty-five dollars of each application will be deposited into the Eel and Elver Management Fund, which is used to support research, management, administration and enforcement of Maine’s eel and elver fisheries. The remaining ten dollars of each application will be used to support administration of the lottery. The total revenue generated by the lottery was $283,255.

The overall quota for the 2018 season, established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, remains at 9,688 pounds. Quota for the new license holders comes from licenses that were not renewed in 2017 and thus became available for redistribution to license holders.

The Department will be contacting the winners, who have until March 1 to apply for a license. This year’s elver season begins at noon on March 22 and goes until noon on June 7.

Body Identified as Missing Thomaston Man

January 8, 2018 - The identity of the body recovered today in Long Cove near Tenants Harbor has been confirmed as Paul Benner of Thomaston.

The Marine Patrol had searched the area for Benner since last Thursday night, when he was reported missing after digging clams earlier in the evening.

Marine Patrol Recovers Body from Long Cove

January 8, 2018 - A body was discovered a little before noon today in Long Cove near Tenants Harbor by Marine Patrol Officers using side scan sonar and was recovered by the Maine State Police/Marine Patrol Dive Team. The body will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s office for confirmation of identity.

The Marine Patrol has searched the area for Paul Benner of Thomaston, who has been missing since last Thursday. Benner was was reported missing last Thursday night a little before 11 p.m. He had been digging clams in Long Cove earlier that evening.

An update will be issued when identification has been confirmed by the Medical Examiner's office.

Search for Missing Thomaston Man Continues

January 8, 2018 - Marine Patrol is continuing the search today for Paul Benner of Thomaston, who has been missing since last Thursday. Marine Patrol will concentrate its search in Long Cove near Tenants Harbor, where Benner was clamming before being reported missing. Marine Patrol will be using a side scan sonar today, the use of which has been hampered over the past few days due to ice. The Maine State Police/Marine Patrol Dive Team will also be on-scene, while Marine Patrol Pilot Steve Ingram is scheduled to conduct an aerial search today and Officers will be searching the shore along the perimeter of the Cove.

Marine Patrol Suspends Search for Thomaston Man for the Day

January 6, 2018 - Search efforts for Paul Benner, of Thomaston, missing since Thursday night, have been suspended for the day and will resume in the coming days, depending on the weather.

The search today resumed at approximately 6:45 a.m. Marine Patrol Officers utilizing a 20 foot Polar Kraft searched the area of Long Cove in the vicinity of footprints, believed to be Benner's, found in the mud during Friday's search. A search was also conducted along the shore. Ice conditions and slush challenged today's search efforts.

Marine Patrol will be monitoring ice and weather conditions each day to determine and plan search efforts.

Marine Patrol Searching for Thomaston Man

January 5, 2018 - The Maine Marine Patrol is continuing to search Long Cove near Tenants Harbor today for Paul Benner, 33 of Thomaston, who was reported missing last night a little before 11 p.m.

Marine Patrol was notified by Knox County Sheriff's Office of the missing man at approximately 11 p.m. Three Marine Patrol Officers and Sergeant Matt Talbot were on-scene soon thereafter along with local Fire and Police personnel and US Coast Guard assets.

The search was conducted in and along the shore of Long Cove. Benner's skiff was recovered during the search last night. Marine Patrol temporarily suspended the search overnight but resumed it today at daylight.

The anchor belonging to Benner's skiff along with clam harvesting gear believed to be his were recovered this morning in the middle of Long Cove, which is exposed at low tide.

High tide last night was 12:57 am. Low tide this morning was at 6:55 am.

Marine Patrol is continuing to search today on the water and shore. The Maine State Police/Marine Patrol Dive Team has been called in to participate in the search.

DMR Seeks Trawler to Collect Shrimp Samples - Funding Increased and Application Deadline Extended to January 3

Please visit http://www.maine.gov/dmr/science-research/species/shrimp/winter2018.html for details.

New Maps Available for Scallops, Lobster and Aquaculture

December 20, 2017 - The Department of Marine Resources has developed several maps on the GIS platform which are designed to provide an interactive, up-to-date alternative to static maps. Maps can be found here.

Marine Patrol Officers Graduate from Maine Criminal Justice Academy

MCJA Graduates

December 18, 2017 - Marine Patrol Officers Jonathan Varnum (left) and Alex Hebert (right) pose with Colonel Jonathan Cornish after graduating from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy Friday, December 15, 2017. Having previously completed the MCJA Pre-Service Program, both Officers began serving earlier this year and returned to complete the 18-week Basic Law Enforcement Training Program. Officer Varnum serves in the Gouldsboro area while Officer Hebert serves in the Wells area.

DMR Seeks Proposals for Collaborative Lobster Research - Proposal Deadline is February 6, 2018

For more information please scroll down and select item 201711190 at this link: http://www.maine.gov/purchases/venbid/rfp.shtml .

Moratorium on Northern Shrimp Commercial Fishing Maintained for 2018 Season

Portland, ME – In response to the depleted condition of the northern shrimp resource, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section extended the moratorium on commercial fishing for the 2018 fishing season. The Section also approved a 13.3 metric ton (mt) research set aside (RSA) and tasked the Technical Committee to develop the RSA program design and report back to the Section for final approval by December 14.

Industry members continued to express concern about the economic impacts of the fishery closure, especially in light of a lack of positive signals in terms of stock rebuilding. Based on these concerns, the Section agreed to include in future discussions the possibility of opening a directed fishery if improvements in stock condition (e.g., strong recruitment or biomass indices) are not realized.

The 2017 Stock Status Report for Gulf of Maine (GOM) Northern Shrimp indicates abundance and biomass indices for 2012–2017 are the lowest on record of the 34 year time series, with 2017 being the lowest observed. Recruitment since 2011 has been poor and includes the four smallest year classes on record. The recruitment index in 2017 (2016 year class) was the second lowest observed. Current harvestable biomass is mainly comprised of females from the weak 2013 year class and some small, early-maturing females from the below-average 2015 year class.

Recruitment of northern shrimp is related to both spawning biomass and ocean temperatures, with higher spawning biomass and colder temperatures producing stronger recruitment. Ocean temperatures in western Gulf of Maine shrimp habitat have increased over the past decade and reached unprecedented highs within the past several years. While 2014 and 2015 temperatures were cooler, 2016 and 2017 temperatures were again high, and temperature is predicted to continue rising as a result of climate change. This suggests an increasingly inhospitable environment for northern shrimp and the need for strong conservation efforts to help restore and maintain the stock. The Northern Shrimp Technical Committee considers the stock to be in poor condition with limited prospects for the near future.

The 2017 Stock Status Report is available online (PDF file, 101 pages, 3.2 MB).

For more information, please contact Max Appelman, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator (find his email address here) or by phone at 703.842.0740.

The press release and Section motions can be found online (PDF file, 3 pages).

ASMFC Seeks Proposals for Marine Aquaculture Pilot Projects - Proposals Due February 1, 2018

Arlington, VA –The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is requesting proposals to develop potential marine aquaculture projects in the U.S. Atlantic coast region. NOAA Fisheries, through the Commission, is making $450,000 available for the funding period of April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. The Commission plans to award several projects ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 each, but will give consideration to projects that can justify a greater need. Any investigator seeking support for this period must submit, as a single file, an electronic proposal by email no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, February, 1, 2018. Please see the Request for Proposals (RFP) for complete proposal details, qualifying requirements, and submission instructions. The RFP is available online.

The Gulf and Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commissions have also issued similar RFPs seeking proposals relevant to their respective regions.

For more information, please contact Dr. Louis Daniel by email or by phone at 252.342.1478.

Maine Scallop Season Gets Underway December 1

November 28, 2017 – Maine’s 2017-2018 scallop season gets underway December 1 and the season for harvesters will look much like last year’s.

As with the 2016-17 season, harvesters in Zones 1 and 2, which together stretch from the New Hampshire border to the Lubec-Campobello Bridge, will be allowed to land 15 gallons per day of shucked scallops, and harvesters in Zone 3, which includes Cobscook Bay and the St. Croix River, will be allowed to land 10 gallons a day.

While harvesters in Zone 1 will again have a total of 60 days to fish and harvesters in Zone 2 will have 70 days, harvesters in Zone 3 will have five additional days (55 versus 50) this season.

Also like past seasons, areas along the coast will be closed by the Department using emergency rulemaking when 30 to 40 percent of the volume of legal sized scallops have been harvested. The 30-40 percent trigger has been shown to allow the resource to regenerate sufficiently to ensure a commercial harvest in the future.

Using information collected during the season from industry and Marine Patrol and from in-season trawl surveys, the Department can determine how much legal-size resource remains on the bottom and when to close areas.

Areas in Zones 1 and 3 have been designated as Limited Access areas, meaning harvesting in those areas will be limited to one day a week per gear type to allow the resource to re-build. In Zone 1, those areas include Casco Bay, the Sheepscot River, Muscongus Bay, and Western Penobscot Bay. In Zone 3, Whiting and Dennys Bay are both limited access areas.

In Zone 2, Rotational Areas, which are areas opened and closed like crop rotation in agriculture, will continue as part of a 10-year plan. Territorial waters around Machias Seal Island and North Rock, also part of Zone 2, will be open for daily harvest during March, providing additional opportunity for harvesters on days when other areas in the Zone are closed.

A law change passed in the last legislative session which takes effect in January 2018 will require the owner of a boat used for harvesting scallops to also hold a license and be on-board. The law change allows a licensed family member to be on-board in place of the boat owner and provides certain exemptions for illness, disability, mechanical failure and previous fishing activity.

The regulation that establishes the 2017-2018 Maine scallop season can be found on the DMR website .

More information, including Limited Access and Rotational Area charts can also be found on the DMR website.

Elver Lottery to Allow New Entrants into Maine’s Lucrative Elver Fishery

November 14, 2017 – A handful of lucky Mainers will soon have a chance to join the state's lucrative elver fishery.

Starting November 15, the Maine Department of Marine Resources will be implementing a lottery to allow at least seven new licenses to be issued for the 2018 season, which starts March 22, 2018.

The lottery, authorized during the past legislative session, is available to Maine residents who are at least 15 years of age by the start of the 2018 season, and who are eligible to purchase an elver license in 2018 because they have not had their right to obtain an elver license suspended.

Each new license holder will receive a minimum of four pounds of quota, which at the most recent season’s average value could amount to nearly $6,000 of income.

“Maine’s elver fishery is by far the most valuable on a per-pound basis,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “We’re pleased to be able to provide new opportunity for commercial fishing in Maine, or perhaps a chance for an existing fisherman to diversify into another fishery.”

The cap on licenses was established at 425, seven more than are currently eligible for renewal in 2018. If additional license-holders choose not to renew their license by the end of the year, more licenses will be available through the lottery.

Individuals can enter the lottery online. The Department is not accepting applications sent by mail however applicants may come to the DMR offices in Augusta to complete the application on paper. DMR will be accepting online lottery applications between noon on November 15, 2017 and 5 pm on January 15, 2018. DMR offices will be closed January 15, 2018 due to the holiday, so those who plan to submit paper applications may do so until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 12, 2018.

By law, each individual will be allowed to submit up to five applications at a cost of $35 per application. Those who submit applications online will incur an additional processing fee of $2 per application. $25 of the application fee will be deposited in the Eel and Elver Management Fund, which is used to research and manage the State's eel and elver resources, to enforce laws related to eels and elvers, and to cover the costs associated with determining eligibility for elver fishing licenses. By law, $10 is provided to the Department to fund Department costs associated with administering the lottery.

The Department of Marine Resources last held a lottery for elver licenses in 2013. The Legislature suspended any further lotteries after that season because of the overall state quota established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission which reduced the amount available for every licensed harvester.

The overall quota has remained at 9,688 pounds for the past three seasons and the individual quotas have been stable. Each year the Department has redistributed any quota associated with licenses that are not renewed, or held by individuals who are suspended for the duration of the season, to existing license holders.

A frequently asked questions document can be found online. Anyone with questions about the lottery can contact the Maine Department of Marine Resources at 207-624-6550, Option 2.

Maine Elver Lottery Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I enter the lottery? You can enter the lottery online at: www.maine.gov/elverlottery. If you do not have a computer or internet access, your local public library might be able to provide computers and internet access. The online lottery application is also accessible on mobile devices. Because of the anticipated volume of interest in the lottery, DMR cannot accept applications by mail. If you prefer to submit your application on paper, you may come to the DMR offices in Augusta to complete and submit paper applications. DMR will be accepting online lottery applications between noon on November 15, 2017 and 5 pm on January 15, 2018. DMR will be accepting online lottery applications between noon on November 15, 2017 and 5 pm on January 15, 2018. Due to the holiday on January 15, 2018, the DMR offices will be closed, so those who plan to submit paper applications may do so until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 12, 2018.

2. What are the eligibility criteria for the lottery? To be eligible for the elver license lottery, an individual must meet all of the following criteria: 1. Be at least 15 years of age at the start of the 2018 elver season (March 22, 2018); and 2. Be a resident of the State of Maine, and 3. Be eligible to purchase an elver license in 2018 because they have not had their right to obtain a license suspended.

3. How many new licenses will be available? To the best of our knowledge at this time, there will be a minimum of 7 licenses available. If any individuals who held a license in 2016 do not renew their license by the end of 2017, their licenses will also be available. DMR will have a final determination on the number of licenses available by January 15, 2018, and will make that information public through the Department's website.

4. How much quota will be given to the new license holders? A minimum of 4 pounds of quota will be given to each new license holder for the 2018 season.

5. If I win the lottery, how many pieces of gear can I use, and what type of gear can I use? If you win a license through the lottery you will be authorized to use one piece of gear. You may choose to use either a dip net or a fyke net.

6. Can I enter the lottery multiple times? Yes. By law, every individual is allowed to submit up to five applications per year at a cost of $35 per application. Attempts to enter the lottery beyond the number of chances that are legally allowed will disqualify the applicant.

7. If I enter but I am not eligible for the lottery, can I get my money back? No. All fees are non-refundable and it is the responsibility of the applicant to review the eligibility criteria to make sure they are eligible before entering.

8. I am an existing elver license holder. Can I enter the lottery to get an additional piece of gear? No, the lottery is authorized for the issuance of new licenses, not additional pieces of gear.

9. Can I enter my kids in the license lottery? By law, a person is not eligible to fish for or take elvers unless they are 15 years of age. Therefore, all lottery applicants must be 15 years of age by the start of the 2018 elver season (March 22nd).

11. How will the winners be selected? Winners will be selected at random from the database of applications received. A third party, external to the DMR will administer the selection.

12. If I am selected, how will you notify me, and how do I buy my license? Lottery winners will be informed in writing by the Department and will be mailed a license application. Winners will have until March 1st to submit the application, correctly completed, and the license fee. If a lottery winner fails to submit the application and fees by the deadline, the elver license will be made available to the next alternate on the list.

13. Where does the money from the lottery application go? By law, $25 of the application fee must be deposited in the Eel and Elver Management Fund. This Fund may only be used to research and manage the State's eel and elver resources, to enforce the laws related to eels and elvers, and to cover the costs associated with determining eligibility for elver fishing licenses. The law specifies that $10 of the application fee is provided to the Department to fund Department costs associated with administering the lottery.

14. Why was I charged $2 more for each transaction over and above the application fee when I applied online? The total amount you pay through the online service includes an additional $2 online service fee that covers development, maintenance and enhancements for this online service as well as the State’s official web portal. A transaction is considered each completed application, regardless of the number of chances you choose. If you complete more than one application, each additional application will be considered an additional transaction and you will be charged another $2 for each transaction.

15. What are my odds of winning? DMR does not have a way of determining the odds of winning, because we will not know how many lottery applications will be received until January 15th.

16. I have a question that was not answered here - who can I talk to? If you have remaining questions, please call Maine DMR at 624-6550, Option 2 and we will try to assist you.

Distinctive Maine Quality Trademark Now Available to Shellfish Dealers

October 30, 2017 – Maine shellfish dealers have a new opportunity to highlight the quality of their products.

Maine’s Red, White and Blue Quality Trademark is now available for Maine harvested shellfish thanks to a special modification of rules by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The patriotic three color overlay with the State of Maine outline has been used for decades to identify other Maine agricultural and natural resource products. The newly modified rules, with their specific standards, now allow shellfish dealers to utilize this iconic logo to promote Maine shellfish.

The idea to establish standards for the shellfish industry came from the Department of Marine Resources Shellfish Advisory Council. “We’ve seen other industries like lobster use a seal of approval such as the Marine Stewardship Council’s certification to help their marketing efforts,” said Council Chair Lewis Pinkham. “We looked at all sorts of avenues to help tell customers that this industry is sustainable and meets the highest standards, and it turned out that the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry had it in place.”

“Consumers have long recognized the Quality Maine Trademark because it represents the highest standards of product quality and safety,” said DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb. “It makes sense that Maine shellfish dealers, who must comply with strict federal, state, and international standards, be given an opportunity to make use of this valuable marketing resource.”

“Maine shellfish dealers meet an extremely high standard for health and safety and deserve credit for providing consumers with a consistently exceptional product,” said DMR Public Health Bureau Director Kohl Kanwit. “The Quality Maine Trademark will give consumers an immediately recognizable symbol that communicates the Maine shellfish industry’s commitment to quality.”

The Quality Maine Trademark symbol, which is a silhouette of the State of Maine divided into three horizontal sections, may be used in advertising or packaging materials to market molluscan shellfish including mussels, clams or oysters which have been harvested exclusively in Maine.

Licensed users must have a product recall procedure and must be compliant with applicable federal and state regulations. They must also hold a current and valid Shellfish Sanitation Certificate issued by the Department of Marine Resources. Licensed users must also make health inspection records from DMR available for review, and must allow DACF staff to inspect and analyze all product labeled with the Quality Maine Trademark.

Renewal of the license to use the Quality Maine Trademark is contingent on the applicant having been compliant with the DACF regulation that establishes the standards for its use.

To use the symbol, shellfish dealers must complete a license application available online.

Atlantic Herring: Massachusetts/New Hampsire Spawning Closure Extension to November 11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, OCTOBER 26, 2017
PRESS CONTACT, TINA BERGER, 703.842.0740

The Atlantic Herring Area 1A (inshore Gulf of Maine) fishery regulations include seasonal spawning closures for portions of state and federal waters in Eastern Maine, Western Maine, and Massachusetts/New Hampshire.

Samples from the Massachusetts/New Hampshire spawning area indicate a significant number of spawning herring, defined as 25% or more mature herring by number in a sample that have yet to spawn. As a result, the Massachusetts/New Hampshire spawning area will re-close for two additional weeks, starting at 12:00 a.m. on October 29, 2017 and extending through 11:59 p.m. on November 11, 2017.

Vessels in the directed Atlantic herring fishery cannot take, land, or possess Atlantic herring caught within the Eastern Maine spawning area during this time and must have all fishing gear stowed when transiting through the area. An incidental bycatch allowance of up to 2,000 pounds of Atlantic herring per trip/ calendar day applies to vessels in non-directed fisheries that are fishing within the Massachusetts/New Hampshire spawning area.

The Massachusetts/New Hampshire spawning area includes all waters bounded by the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine coasts, and 43° 30’ N and 70° 00’ W.

For more information, please contact Toni Kerns, ISFMP Director, find her e-mail address here or phone 703.842.0740.

For more details, please contact your local Marine Patrol Division Headquarters (Div I 633-9595, Div II 667-3373), your local marine patrol officer, or Melissa Smith in the Augusta office.

New Marine Patrol Officers to Serve in Kittery, Tenants Harbor and Lubec

New Marine Patrol Officers

New Marine Patrol Officers Matthew Carter (3rd from right), Emily Lopez (2nd from right), and Alexandre Michaud (right) pose with Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish, Major Rene Cloutier, and DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

October 18, 2017 – Three new Marine Patrol Officers have recently been sworn in and will be serving in Kittery, Tenants Harbor and Lubec.

Matthew Carter of Marshfield, Maine will serve in the Lubec patrol. A former Washington County Sherriff’s Deputy, Carter is also a native of Washington County, having grown up in the Machias area and graduated from Washington Academy. Carter is also currently a Military Police Officer in the Maine Army National Guard.

Alexandre Michaud of Milford, New Hampshire will serve in the Tenants Harbor patrol. Michaud has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire and has served as a personal trainer, mixed martial arts coach, and security officer.

Emily Lopez of Lincolnville, Maine will serve in the Kittery patrol. A graduate of Colby-Sawyer College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science, Lopez has served as a Park Ranger at Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth, and a field crew member at Springledge Farm in New London, New Hampshire.

Atlantic Herring: Eastern Maine Spawning Re-Closure October 16 - 30, 2017

The Atlantic herring Area 1A (inshore Gulf of Maine) fishery regulations include seasonal spawning closures for portions of state and federal waters in Eastern Maine, Western Maine, and Massachusetts/New Hampshire. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Herring Section approved a forecasting method that relies upon at least three samples, each containing at least 25 female herring in gonadal states III-V, to trigger a spawning closure. If additional samples taken from a spawning area during or following the closure indicate a significant number of spawning herring, the closure will resume for an additional two weeks.

Samples from the Eastern Maine spawning area indicate a significant number of spawning herring, defined as 25% or more mature herring by number in a sample that have yet to spawn. As a result, the Eastern Maine spawning area will re-close for two additional weeks, starting at 6:00 p.m. on October 16, 2017 and extending through 11:59 p.m. on October 30, 2017; however, directed vessels who have Atlantic herring on board upon release of this notice can land this herring by 11:59 p.m. on October 16th.

Vessels in the directed Atlantic herring fishery cannot take, land, or possess Atlantic herring caught within the Eastern Maine spawning area during this time and must have all fishing gear stowed when transiting through the area. An incidental bycatch allowance of up to 2,000 pounds of Atlantic herring per trip/ calendar day applies to vessels in non-directed fisheries that are fishing within the Eastern Maine spawning area.

Eastern Maine spawning area includes all waters bounded by the following coordinates:

Maine coast 68° 20’ W

43° 48’ N 68° 20’ W

44° 25’ N 67° 03’ W

North along the US/Canada border

For more information, please contact Toni Kerns, ISFMP Director - find her e-mail address here - or by phone at 703.842.0740.

Notice to Zone G Fishermen - Revised US Army Corps of Engineers York Harbor Haul Route

October 10, 2017 - The New England District of the US Army Corps of Engineers will be dredging sections of both the channel and anchorages of the York Harbor Federal navigation project (FNP) in York, Maine. Dredging operations will commence on or after November 1, 2017. The dredged sediments will be placed at the Cape Arundel Disposal Site located approximately 2.8 Nautical Miles southeast of Cape Arundel.

The dredging contractor is being required to use a specific Haul Route when transiting to and from the dredged material placement site.

All fishing gear must be removed from within the specified haul route to avoid damage to or loss of fishing gear due to dredged material disposal operations.

Individuals seeking additional information regarding this project or having inquiries regarding the loss of fishing gear suspected to be the result of dredged material disposal may contact Mr. Matthew Tessier, the Corps Project Manager, at (978) 318-8248.

See attached Haul Route:

Casco Bay Phytoplankton Bloom Update

September 29, 2017 - The Department of Marine Resources is continuing to monitoring an extensive bloom of the phytoplankton Karenia mikimotoi in the Casco Bay region. Based on aerial observations and shore based water sampling, the bloom appears to extend from Cape Elizabeth to the New Meadows River. Phytoplankton counts from around the affected area were as high as 44 million cells per liter of seawater earlier in the week, but have significantly declined in most areas to less than 10,000 c/L based on sampling results from today (9/29). Observations by DMR staff and reported from the public indicate discoloration of the water and smells have decreased or dissipated completely. Dissolved oxygen levels in the water are variable with the lowest levels measured in Maquoit Bay (2.8 mg/L on 9/28) and the New Meadows (3.3 mg/L on 9/28). Other areas sampled for dissolved oxygen from Portland to Harpswell have normal levels. Field observations from Maquoit Bay in Brunswick indicate large patches of dead soft-shelled clams likely due to recent anoxic events. Samples of soft-shelled clams, hard clams and mussels continue to be collected from impacted areas and many have Karenia cells within the mantel fluids.

DMR believes that the bloom is likely declining and it is potentially at this point that the risk of anoxic events is highest. Industry members located in the areas most heavily impacted by the bloom, including Portland Harbor, should remain alert for signs of low oxygen. The lowest dissolved oxygen levels many occur at night or in the early morning. Many dinoflagellate cells migrate to the surface during the morning so that they can utilize light for photosynthesis, at the end of the day, they migrate to deeper waters and respire, which consumes oxygen. Typically, oxygen is lowest around sunrise and if cells are vertically migrating, oxygen can be depleted in the bottom layers through this process.

Reminder: Unlike other toxic blooms that the Department routinely monitors (e.g. red tide/PSP or ASP), this species of phytoplankton is not a threat to human health. However, this species can have harmful effects on marine organisms. Karenia mikimotoi can produce compounds that can potentially impact fish and shellfish, and there have been fish kills and benthic mortality events reported during blooms of this species (e.g., in Hong Kong, Australia, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Alaska). Mortality events have been attributed to low dissolved oxygen resulting from high biomass blooms (especially as the bloom declines) and/or fish-specific toxins.

The Department will continue to provide regular updates on the progress of the bloom and measures of dissolved oxygen throughout Casco Bay. Questions can be directed to Kohl Kanwit, or Bryant Lewis.

Maine DMR Monitors Unusual Phytoplankton Bloom in Casco Bay

September 26, 2017 – The Department of Marine Resources is currently monitoring an extensive bloom of the phytoplankton Karenia mikimotoi in the Casco Bay region.

Unlike other toxic blooms that the Department routinely monitors, including those that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning and amnesic shellfish poisoning, this species of phytoplankton is not a threat to human health. However, the species can have harmful effects on finfish and shellfish and other marine organisms.

There have been fish mortality events reported during blooms of this species in Hong Kong, Australia, Ireland, Japan, Korea and Alaska.

The toxicity of Karenia mikimotoi is not fully understood, however is believed that associated mortality events are due to a combination of an anoxic environment (low oxygen) created by the physical bloom itself in addition to some sort of toxin that affects finfish and shellfish.

“We are not able to predict if a low oxygen event will occur or if the toxins it is known to produce will impact fish or shellfish,” said Maine DMR Public Health Bureau Director Kohl Kanwit. “We have been working with Dr. Kate Hubbard, a research scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who has extensive experience with Karenia mikimotoi, to gain a better understanding of this species of phytoplankton.

“We will continue to work closely with Dr. Hubbard and partners at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Kennebec River Biosciences, and NOAA to gain insight into this new species of phytoplankton and its affects on fish and shellfish,” said Kanwit.

The department has reached out to the shellfish industry, aquaculture lease holders, lobster dealers and shellfish dealers in the Casco Bay region informing them of the bloom and advising them to develop plans to protect their product if they observe effects of low oxygen or toxins.

The department has received preliminary reports of softshell clam mortality events in Brunswick, Freeport and Harpswell and is working to confirm the cause and extent of these mortality events. The department will continue to test water in the Casco Bay region for dissolved oxygen levels and for the presence of Karenia mikimotoi. Anyone who observes a mortality event involving marine organisms is encouraged to report it to a Marine Patrol Officer. Contact information can be found online.

Update on Department of Marine Resources Mussel Recall

September 19, 2017 – Three days after implementing a recall of mussels because of Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, working with dealers, has recovered 98 percent of the impacted shellfish.

A total of 58,480 pounds of mussels harvested in Frenchman Bay were affected by the recall which went into effect Friday, September 15. By Monday, September 18, 57,492 pounds had been recovered and destroyed.

“At this point the recall is complete, and due to the cooperation of the dealers involved we have been able to recover nearly all of the affected product,” said Kohl Kanwit, Director of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Public Health Bureau.

The recall follows a closure implemented Thursday September 14 of the area between East Point on MDI and Cranberry Point in Gouldsboro to the harvest of mussels, clams, oysters and whelks (carnivorous snails). The closure was due to elevated levels of domoic acid, the biotoxin that causes ASP.

A second area between Machiasport and Calais has also been closed as a precaution due to elevated concentrations of the algae associated with ASP in water samples. No shellfish in that area has shown actionable levels of domoic acid, however shellfish testing will continue.

The entire coast of Maine is being continually monitored.

All Maine shellfish dealers were notified Friday that mussels harvested between September 10 and 14 in the closed area from MDI to Gouldsboro were subject to the recall. Mussels were the only product impacted by the recall.

The FDA mandates that closures and recalls be implemented if shellfish have 2 milligrams of domoic acid per 100 grams of shellfish tissue. Dealers were instructed by DMR, per National Shellfish Sanitation Program guidelines, to provide a list of all customers and amounts of mussels sold which had been harvested from the area between MDI and Gouldsboro between September 10 and September 14. They were also directed to provide regular written reports of recall activities to the department.

Dealers were also instructed to tell their customers to destroy any product on hand by denaturing it with bleach and disposing of it in a dumpster or landfill.

Individuals who develop symptoms are advised to visit a health care provider for assessment and treatment. More information on ASP is available on the Maine CDC website at .

Current biotoxin closure information can be found on the DMR website at .

Maine DMR Issues a Recall of Shellfish Due to Biotoxin

September 15, 2017 - The Maine Department of Marine Resources is in the process of recalling mussels harvested from Frenchman Bay due to elevated levels of domoic acid, the biotoxin that causes Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP). The recall follows a closure implemented yesterday of the area between East Point on MDI and Cranberry Point in Gouldsboro to the harvest of mussels, clams, oysters and whelks (carnivorous snails).

Although not part of the recall area, a larger regional closure which stretches from Cape Jellison to Roque Bluffs and prohibits the harvest of mussels, European oysters and surf clams was also implemented yesterday. The larger closure was done precautionarily to protect public health, especially on offshore islands and remote areas.

All Maine shellfish dealers were notified today that product harvested in the closed area from MDI to Gouldsboro was subject to the recall. Today’s recall affects the following dealers who purchase directly from harvesters - Atlantic Shellfish in Jonesport, Eastern Maine Mussel in Hancock, Moosabec Mussels Inc. in Jonesport, and Pemaquid Oyster Company in Waldoboro.

Based on test results, mussels are the only product impacted by the recall at this point. The FDA mandates that actions including closures and recalls be taken if shellfish have 2 milligrams of domoic acid per 100 grams of shellfish tissue,

Dealers were instructed by DMR, per National Shellfish Sanitation Program guidelines, to provide a list of all customers and amounts of mussels sold which had been harvested from the area between MDI and Gouldsboro between September 10 and September 14. They were also directed to provide regular written report of recall activities to the department. The DMR will provide dealers further instruction at that point.

Dealers were also instructed to tell their customers to destroy any product on hand by putting them in the dumpster or landfill and to denature the product with bleach.

The specific amount of product affected by the recall is being determined by the DMR. Updates will continue to be issued directly to industry and other state shellfish authorities as well as the US FDA.

Areas will re-open when there are two consecutive scores from shellfish testing at least one week apart that are below the action level indicated above, and there is a decline in the concentration of phytoplankton in the water.

Information on biotoxin closures on the Maine coast can be found online,

Lamoine Lobsterman Faces up to Ten Year License Suspension for Violations

September 14, 2017 - William Haas, 55 of Lamoine, has been charged by the Maine Marine Patrol with fishing more lobster traps than authorized, fishing untagged gear and fishing more traps on a trawl than allowed.

Because of a recent law change, Haas faces a suspension of his license of between three and ten years for fishing forty-four more traps than the 800 allowed by law. The law, LD 575, changed the penalty for fishing over the trap limit from a possible one-year suspension to a mandatory minimum three-year suspension with the possibility of a ten-year suspension.

“The law change this past legislative session puts teeth in the penalties,” said Maine Department of Marine Resource Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

Penalties were also stiffened for trap molesting, fishing sunken trawls, scrubbing eggs, and arson, or other means of destroying another lobsterman’s vessel.

“These changes were initiated and supported by the lobster industry. Industry members made it clear that the few cheaters who fish more than they are allowed by law must be penalized in a way that creates a significant deterrent for others. I strongly believe that these new penalties will discourage these behaviors.”

The department issued a notice to all industry members in June outlining the details of the law changes. “I wanted to make sure that industry members had a clear understanding of these law changes and so far, the feedback I have received from industry has been extremely positive,” said Commissioner Keliher.

“Fishermen should take note that Marine Patrol is going to focus significant effort on enforcing lobster trap limits and that the penalties are severe,” said Jay Carroll, Lieutenant of Marine Patrol Division II.

The investigation that led to the charges stemmed from a routine patrol in which Marine Patrol personnel hauled and checked a sample of Haas’ gear. Haas fishes in Maine Lobster Zone B, which stretches between Schoodic Point and Newbury Neck. The patrol, conducted earlier in the month, revealed that Haas was fishing traps that did not include required tags which identify the harvester.

Based on the findings of the routine patrol, Marine Patrol conducted a targeted investigation on the evening of September 11, 2017 involving three Marine Patrol vessels and more than ten officers.

Fishing more than 25 untagged traps is, under the new law, a Class D criminal violation which, in addition to the mandatory suspension, carries the possibility of a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Haas was also charged with violating a regulation that restricts the number of traps on a string, known as a trawl, to three. The penalty for violating this regulation is $100 per violation.

Commissioner Keliher is also authorized under the new law to require Haas to use a Vessel Monitoring System for a length of time equal to his license suspension after he re-enters the fishery. If the system is used it will allow Marine Patrol to monitor Haas’ geographic location while fishing. In addition, the law allows the Commissioner to limit Haas to only 300 traps when he reenters the fishery, and permits him to add 100 traps per year until he reaches his zone limit of 800 traps.

Shore and Harbor Grants Awarded to Six Maine Communities

September 14, 2017 - The Maine Coastal Program, a Division of the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), announces the award of $141,879 to six coastal municipalities. These awards will provide support for harbor management, waterfront infrastructure planning and design, and public access.

Funding for the grants comes from DMR’s federal coastal management award from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and from Maine’s Submerged Lands Program. Each grantee will provide a minimum of 25% in matching funds or services.

Grants were awarded as follows:

  1. Chebeague – Harbor Master Plan for Sunset Landing: $28,000 for developing design and cost estimates for a facility to meet the island’s transportation needs at Sunset Landing.

  2. Damariscotta – Waterfront Restroom Design and Engineering: $17,300 to design a public restroom and visitor’s kiosk in Damariscotta’s downtown waterfront area.

  3. Frenchboro – Deepwater Municipal Landing Study: $18,150 to investigate opportunities for a new all-tide landing in Frenchboro Harbor.

  4. Gouldsboro – Prospect Harbor Working Waterfront Revitalization Plan: $21,000 to develop plans for an industry and tourism friendly working waterfront in Prospect Harbor.

  5. Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission – Assessing the Feasibility of Purchasing a Dredge: $27,429 for a multi-municipal partnership to assess the potential for purchasing a regional dredge.

  6. South Portland - Portland Street Pier Master Plan and Feasibility: $30,000 for a plan which considers expanding the city-owned pier to support the aquaculture and fishing industries, and maintenance of existing infrastructure.

This is the eleventh round of Shore and Harbor Planning Grant solicitations. Since 2006, 75 grants have been awarded for a total of $1,082,034. More information on the grant program can be found online.

REMINDER: Fall 2017 ME-NH Inshore Trawl Survey Starts October 2nd

The fall groundfish trawl survey conducted by the State of Maine Dept. of Marine Resources is scheduled to begin October 2nd in New Hampshire working east to Lubec. The better information we have about ALL our fishery resources, the better we can defend our fisheries and your livelihoods. The ME-NH trawl survey provides valuable information for the management of important commercially harvested species. However, not completing all of the proposed tows could jeopardize the use of our data for state and federal lobster and finfish management. To address this, we will be stepping up our effort to move gear within the published tows. If gear continues to be a problem, stronger measures may be considered.

Harvesters can avoid the need for our Marine Patrol to handle gear by clearing an area of gear 1/8th mile on either side of the 1 nautical mile towline for day of the tow.

Latitude/Longitude and TD coordinates for tow locations (pair of dots with a line on the chart mark each tow) and schedules can be found online .

For more detailed charts, please contact Matt Cieri by phone- 633-9520, cell - 215-3709, or find his email address here.

Tow Schedule and Updates are available via several methods.

Boat Contacts:

F/V Robert Michael monitors Channels 16 and 13 Boat cell phone 557-5276 (Chief Scientist Fran Pierce, Scientist Matt Cieri)

More information can be found online.

Maine Coastal Program Now a Division of Department of Marine Resources

September 11, 2017 - The Maine Coastal Program, formerly a program of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, is now a Division of the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

The move, made possible by the recently passed state budget, will allow the DMR to build on initiatives of the Coastal Program that impact Maine’s coastal communities.

The change includes a transfer of $3.4 million in federal funds received by the Coastal Program and nearly $170,000 in other revenue. Six staff positions formerly housed at DACF are now DMR employees and located within DMR’s Augusta and Boothbay Harbor offices.

“This move made sense because of the shared focus on the health of Maine’s coastal ecosystem and economy between the DMR and the Maine Coastal Program,” said DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

The Maine Coastal Program works in partnership with local, regional, state and federal agencies with the goal of managing Maine's coastal resources for the public benefit. DMR has been among the partners working with MCP since its inception in 1978.

“DMR has received Coastal Program funding for many years to support some of our core work, such as fisheries co-management and the shellfish growing area program,” said Commissioner Keliher. “DMR and the Coastal Program have also historically focused on similar initiatives such as habitat restoration and mapping, and working waterfront preservation.”

“This will also allow us to focus resources on priorities shared by DMR and the Maine Coastal Program,” said Commissioner Keliher. “These include changing environmental conditions such as ocean acidification, and enhancement of economic growth sectors such as aquaculture.”

Maine is one of 36 states and territories that participate in the National Coastal Zone Management Program. The program is a voluntary partnership between the federal government and U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and territories authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to address shared national, state and local coastal issues.

The program is funded and overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management. The Maine Coastal Program distributes Federal funds matched by state and local sources, to enable projects that benefit Maine’s coastal communities.

The Maine Coastal Program’s other areas of focus include waterfront planning and revitalization, land use planning technical assistance to municipalities, adaptation to shoreline erosion and sea level rise, habitat restoration, seafloor mapping, public access and public education.

All MCP website content will be migrated to the DMR website but more information on the program can currently be found on the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's website. .

Maine Coastweek Cleanup Event Set for September 16 through 23

September 8, 2017 - Mainers from Kittery to Calais will be volunteering their time September 16th to 23rd for the annual Maine Coastweek Coastal Cleanup.

The weeklong event, coordinated by the Maine Coastal Program, is Maine’s largest volunteer effort to clean trash from coastal lands and waters.

“Clean oceans and coastal communities improve the health of humans and wildlife, and enhance local businesses that rely on a healthy ocean,” said Theresa Torrent, Senior Planner with the Maine Coastal Program. “Keeping our ocean free from trash is one of the easiest ways to make the ocean more resilient.”

In 2016, 2,002 Maine volunteers removed 7,219 pounds of trash from 97 miles of coastal shores and communities.

“This is a great opportunity to help keep Maine’s coast clean and free of debris and to contribute to a healthy planet,” said Torrent.

Visit www.mainecoastalprogram.org and click on the coastal cleanup link for information on how to participate as a site coordinator or a volunteer. Registration for coordinators to adopt a site closes on September 12, 2017.

For more information, contact Theresa Torrent by email.

Woman's Body Recovered Off Shore of Biddeford Pool

August 27, 2017 - The Maine State Police/Marine Patrol Dive Team has recovered the body of a woman who was on-board a recreational fishing boat today approximately 10 miles off Biddeford Pool.

The woman was among four people fishing when their 21 foot boat was capsized by a wave at approximately 10:30 a.m. Three of the people were rescued by a good samaritan who heard a hand gun fired by one of the occupants of the boat as a distress call.

A search was begun in the vicinity of the boat as soon as it was determined that one of the party was missing.

Involved in the search were the Maine Marine Patrol, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Scarborough Fire Department, the Biddeford Pool Police Department, and the Saco Fire Department. Several private citizens also took part in the search.

No one on the boat was wearing a life jacket, according to the Maine Marine Patrol.

The woman's body was recovered at approximately 2:30 p.m.

Names of the deceased and survivors are being withheld until notification of next of kin.

Sean Ledwin Hired as New Director of Maine DMR Sea Run Fisheries and Habitat Division

SEan Ledwin

Sean Ledwin is the new Maine Department of Marine Resources Sea Run Fisheries and Habitat Division Director

August 21, 2017 - The Maine Department of Marine Resources has hired Sean Ledwin as the new Sea Run Fisheries and Habitat Division Director.

Ledwin takes over for Oliver Cox who left the DMR for a position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In his new role, Ledwin will supervise DMR’s Sea Run staff who are responsible for data collection and analysis, research, management and restoration of Maine’s sea run species, such as alewives, rainbow smelt, Atlantic Salmon, sturgeon, and eels.

Prior to joining DMR, Ledwin served as the Habitat Division Lead for the Hoopa Valley Tribal Fisheries program in Hoopa, California, beginning in 2012. In that position he was responsible for Sea-Run Fisheries management, science, and habitat rehabilitation on the Trinity and Klamath Rivers in Northern California.

From 2010 to 2012 Ledwin was a Program Manager/Ecologist for NOAA Fisheries in Silver Spring, Maryland. He was responsible for administering Species Recovery Grants which support management, research, monitoring, and outreach activities that conserve species listed under the Endanger Species Act (ESA).

Between 2009 and 2010, Ledwin served as a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow for NOAA Fisheries. His responsibilities included analysis and development of actions required for the conservation of ESA listed species, and reviews and technical assistance for plans that support recovery of listed species.

From 2005 to 2008, Ledwin worked as a research and field biologist, conducting research on Pacific salmon and steelhead trout on the Yukon River in Alaska and the Columbia River in Oregon/Washington.

Ledwin received a BS in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland in 2003, and an MS in Fisheries and Natural Resource Management from the University of Michigan in 2009.

“I’m very pleased to have Sean overseeing DMR’s Sea Run Fisheries and Habitat Division,” said Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “He brings a wealth of experience in both field work and program administration which will serve DMR well as we continue to build on the successes we have had in restoring Maine’s important sea run species.”

The Department of Marine Resources Sea Run Fisheries and Habitat Division works to protect, conserve, restore, manage and enhance diadromous fish populations and their habitat in all waters of the State.

Hearing Scheduled on Atlantic Menhaden Draft Amendment 3

August 17, 2017 - The Atlantic coastal states of Maine through Florida have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on Draft Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden.

The meeting in Maine will take place October 5, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. in the Yarmouth Town Hall at 200 Maine Street in Yarmouth.

Draft Amendment 3 seeks to manage the menhaden resource in a way that balances menhaden’s ecological role as a prey species with the needs of all user groups. To this end, the Draft Amendment considers the use of ecosystem reference points (ERPs) to manage the resource and changes to the allocation method. In addition, it presents a suite of management options for quota transfers, quota rollovers, incidental catch, the episodic events set aside program, and the Chesapeake Bay reduction fishery cap.

The 2015 Benchmark Stock Assessment Report identified the development of ERPs as a high priority for Atlantic menhaden management. Menhaden serve an important role in the marine ecosystem as prey for a variety of species including larger fish (e.g. weakfish, striped bass), birds (e.g. bald eagles, osprey), and marine mammals (e.g. humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins). As a result, changes in the abundance of menhaden may impact the abundance and diversity of predator populations, particularly if the availability of other prey is limited. ERPs provide a method to assess the status of menhaden within the broad ecosystem context. Draft Amendment 3 provides a variety of reference point options, including the continued development of menhaden-specific ERPs as well as the application of precautionary guidelines for forage fish species.

Draft Amendment 3 also considers changes to the allocation method given concerns that the current approach may not strike an appropriate balance between gear types and jurisdictions. Specifically, under the current allocation method, increases in the total allowable catch (TAC) result in limited benefits to small-scale fisheries, and to several states. Furthermore, the current method may not provide a balance between the present needs of the fishery and future growth opportunities. Draft Amendment 3 considers a range of allocation alternatives, including a dispositional quota (bait vs. reduction), fleet-capacity quota (quota divided by gear type), jurisdictional quota, including a fixed minimum quota for each state, and an allocation method based on the TAC. In addition, the document considers five allocation timeframes including 2009-2011, 2012-2016, 1985-2016, 1985-1995, and a weighted approached which considers both historic and recent landings.

The Draft Amendment is available on the Commission website under Public Input . Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Amendment either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment.

Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on October 20, 2017 and should be forwarded to Megan Ware, FMP Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at comments@asmfc.org (Subject line: Draft Amd. 3).

Final action on the Amendment, as well as specification of the 2018 TAC, is scheduled to occur on November 14th at the BWI Airport Marriott, 1743 West Nursery Road, Linthicum, MD.

For more information, please contact Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at mware@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

2017-18 Sea Urchin Fishing Season Calendars Now Available

Calendars for the 2017-18 sea urchin fishing season are now available, at the PDF link below.

Note that the Zone 2 drag seasons, and the Whiting/Dennys area seasons, are different from those proposed in May at the public hearings.

Note also that Zone 1 fishermen may fish up to 15 of the 20 open days on their calendar, and Zone 2 fishermen may fish up to 38 of the 45 open days on their calendar.

For more information, contact Melissa Smith at 207 624-6558 or find her e-mail address at http://www.maine.gov/dmr/about/employees.html .

NOAA Fisheries Announces New Recreational Fishing Measures for Gulf of Maine Cod and Haddock for 2017

For more information, please visit the NOAA website at https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/nr/2017/July/17mulrec2017measuresphl.html .

Hydrographic Survey of Penobscot Bay and Jericho Bay

As a courtesy to Maine lobster license holders, DMR is sending the following notice that NOAA is conducting a hydrographic survey in Penobscot and Jericho Bays beginning in July, and continuing into the fall. DMR has no involvement in the survey, so any questions should be directed via email to NOAA’s Navigation Manager, LT CDR Meghan McGovern or via phone at (401) 782-3252.

The purpose of this project is to provide contemporary surveys to update National Ocean Service (NOS) nautical charting products. This project area is located in the highly trafficked areas of Penobscot and Jericho Bays and will cover approximately 89 SNM of Navigationally Significant area as identified in the 2012 NOAA Hydrographic Survey Priorities. The Bays are home to some of the busiest lobster fishing grounds in the region and contribute greatly to the local community. Fishermen in the area have requested up to date and accurate surveys to assist in safe navigation along the working grounds.

The project will begin on or about July 19, 2017, ending in September or October. Fugro Pelagos Inc. will be contracted to survey in this area and will leave port from multiple locations around Penobscot Bay. In the course of the project, Fugro Pelagos Inc. will survey the area shown in the attached image with a combination of single beam and multibeam echo sounders. In addition, they will perform Lidar acquisition using manned aircraft. The survey will be starting in Eastern Penobscot Bay, moving to Jericho Bay, and then up into Eggemoggin Reach, but the vessels may move back and forth between areas due to weather issues. They will also collect bottom samples with a small grab sampler. The approximate locations of the samples are shown in the image attached.

The survey vessels that Fugro intends to use for this survey are of comparable size to the lobster fleet: R/V Theory R/V JAB R/V Westerly M/V Locator

Please let all interested parties know that our data will be published to all public via updated hydrographic charts that will be available online.

Anyone can follow along with the progress of the survey online.

Maine Marine Patrol to Focus on Boating Under the Influence

June 29, 2017 - The Maine Marine Patrol will be on heightened alert for those violating Maine’s boating under the influence laws during the national Operation Drywater weekend, June 30-July 2.

Operation Dry Water is a national awareness and enforcement campaign coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) that focuses on deterring boaters from boating under the influence (BUI) of drugs or alcohol.

“Marine Patrol Officers will be conducting patrols on Maine's coastal waters from Kittery to the Canadian border focused on boaters who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said Maine Marine Patrol Major Rene Cloutier.

“They will also be taking every opportunity possible to provide information on safe boating practices and the importance of wearing life jackets.” According to US Coast Guard statistics, 83 percent of drowning victims in 2016 were not wearing a life jacket.

Nationally, alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. According to the US Coast Guard, in 2016, where the primary cause was known, alcohol use was the leading factor in 15 percent of boater deaths.

“Boating under the influence is a 100 percent preventable crime,” said Major Cloutier. “The Maine Marine Patrol strongly encourages boaters to stay safe by staying sober while boating.”

“Environmental stressors such as wind, noise, and the movement of the boat while on the water intensify the effects of alcohol or drug use on an individual while boating. Boaters can become impaired more quickly on the water than on land.”

Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is against the law in Maine. BUI laws pertain to all vessels, from canoes and rowboats to the largest ships.

In 2016, 538 local, state, and federal agencies participated in Operation Drywater. Over the three days law enforcement officers contacted 131,054 boaters, made 367 BUI arrests, and issued 18,659 citations and warnings for safety violations.

In 2016 the Maine Marine Patrol participated in Operation Drywater details in the Saco River, Portland Harbor, the Sheepscot, Kennebec, St. George, and Penobscot Rivers, Southwest Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Swan's Island, Frenchboro, and Bass Harbor. A total of 115 boats were checked with 305 people on board.

“Fortunately we didn’t have to remove anyone from the water for BUI,” said Major Cloutier. “But it provided us with an opportunity to communicate with a lot of people about the importance of boating sober and safely.”

For more information on Operation Dry Water, please visit operationdrywater.org.

Maine Marine Patrol Searching Penobscot River after Report of Abandoned Vehicle on Bridge

Penobscot Search

Marine Patrol Officers Brent Chasse (left) and Tyler Sirois (right) launch a Marine Patrol vessel from Verona Island this morning to begin searching the waters near the Penobscot Narrows Bridge (in the background) after a report of an abandoned vehicle on the bridge

Bucksport - The Maine Marine Patrol this morning is searching the waters beneath the Penobscot Narrows Bridge after a report of an abandoned vehicle on the bridge.

The Marine Patrol received the report at approximately 6:00 am this morning and began searching shortly after 7:00 am. The report indicated that the vehicle was discovered at approximately 3:30 am.

The State Police is investigating this incident.

New Marine Patrol Officers Assigned to Downeast and Southern Maine Patrols

MPO Varnum

MPO Jonathan Varnum (2nd from right)

MPO Varnum

MPO Taylor Sheowkis (2nd from right)

June 19, 2017 - Two new Officers have recently joined the ranks of the Maine Marine Patrol.

Taylor Shewokis, from Weymouth, Massachusetts, has been assigned to the Biddeford/Saco area as a Seasonal Marine Patrol Officer for the summer. He will be patrolling the Saco River conducting recreational boating and fishing checks. A recent graduate of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s Law Enforcement Pre-Service Course, he has also completed an internship with the Massachusetts Environmental Police. Officer Shewokis is a senior at the University of New England majoring in Environmental Studies.

Jonathan Varnum, from Oakland, Maine will serve in the Gouldsboro area after completing Marine Patrol’s nine-week Full Time Officer Training Program and the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s 18 week Basic Law Enforcement Training Program. A graduate of Beal College’s Conservation Law program, and the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s Law Enforcement Pre-Service Course, Officer Varnum is an experienced outdoorsman, having worked for guide services in central and northern Maine.

2017 Maine Elver Season Update as of 6 p.m., June 7, 2017

JURISDICTION

POUNDS REPORTED

OVERALL QUOTA

REMAINING QUOTA

DMR

7,315.855

7,566.3

250.45

MALISEET

85.639

106.6

20.96

MICMAC

Confidential

38.8

38.8

PASSAMAQUODDY - NOTE: Passamaquoddy tribal cards have been deactivated due to meeting their quota

1,261.628

1,284.3

22.67

PENOBSCOT

618.917

620

1.08

QUOTA TOTAL*

9,282.039

9,616

333.96

*All 2017 data are extremely preliminary and subject to change without notice.

Dealers reported buying a total of 9,282.039 pounds with a reported value of $12,089,766 for average price per pound of $1,302.

The above pounds, value, and average price per pound, due to confidentiality, do not include Micmac tribal data.

MicMac tribal data are confidential and cannot be made available to the public until three or more harvesters have reported according to the confidentiality provisions of Maine law.

Maine DMR Issues Shellfish Safety Reminder

As the summer tourist season begins, the Maine Department of Marine Resources would like to remind residents and visitors of a red tide closure along the southern section of the coast.

Harvesting of mussels and European oysters is currently prohibited from the Maine/New Hampshire border to Pemaquid Point, including all of the offshore islands.

Harvesting all species of clams is prohibited from the Spurwink River to the New Meadows River.

DMR reminds recreational and commercial harvesters to abide by biotoxin closures.

Clams and mussels should only be harvested from open areas or purchased from certified shellfish dealers.

Consumers should never soak clams or mussels off a dock or a boat.

The DMR Bureau of Public Health tests clams and mussels continually and monitors the toxicity to ensure public health and safety.

Marine Patrol and local shellfish wardens are actively enforcing the closures. If you are unsure whether an area is open or not, please contact a local Marine Patrol Officer or the local municipal shellfish warden.

For more information visit the Maine DMR Public Health website.

Contact information for the Maine Marine Patrol can be found on the DMR website.

Coast Guard, Port Partners Urge Paddlecraft Safety

Paddle Safety Event

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – The Coast Guard, State Boating Law Administrators from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, along with the National Weather Service, the Maine Marine Patrol, and the Maine Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors hosted a “Media Day” in an effort to increase paddlecraft safety awareness in the region. Several members of the Maine State Legislature were present to show their support for the important initiative.

“Tragically we’ve already had five people drown this month in paddlecraft related incidents.” said Capt. Michael Baroody, commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “Water temperatures are only in the mid-40’s to low 50’s and we can’t stress enough the importance of proper planning and preparedness before heading out on the water.”

The National Weather Service, Meteorologist in Charge Gray Maine, Mr. Hendricus Lulofs, also unveiled a new public awareness alert tool titled “Beach Hazard Statement”. The first of its kind nation-wide, the beach hazard statement is issued on days when a significant number of boaters and paddlecraft are expected to be out on the water and when warm air temperatures may cause people to underestimate the dangers of cold water and the associated hypothermia risk.

Kayakers, canoers, and stand-up paddle boarders can increase their survivability in an emergency situation by taking a few safety precautions. First and foremost, wear a lifejacket. Of all people who die in cold water, an estimated 20% die in the first two minutes due to the uncontrollable gasping for air triggered by a cold shock response. Wearing a lifejacket helps prevents this from occurring or at least keeps you afloat until you can overcome the initial shock. Second, the Coast Guard recommends that all persons using paddlecraft throughout the year dress appropriately for the water temperature and for an unexpected cold water immersion. Without a lifejacket, your ability to swim in extremely cold water for more than 10 minutes is drastically reduced, even for the best swimmers.

National Safe Boating Week, which runs from May 20-26, is an annual observance sponsored by the National Safe Boating Council, endorsed by the U.S. Coast Guard and promoted by multiple state and local agencies throughout the U.S. The campaign promotes safe and responsible boating, including the value of wearing a life jacket. Fatalities and accidents on the water can be eliminated through safe and responsible boating.

New Marine Patrol Officers On-Board

New MArine Patrol Officers

May 19, 2017 - Having graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, the newest Marine Patrol Officers, Curtis LaBelle (2nd from left), and Tyler Sirois (3rd from left) join Colonel Jon Cornish (left) and DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher (right) for a photo at the department after swearing in ceremonies today. Tyler will be serving in the Stonington patrol while Curtis will be serving in the Cutler patrol.

Marine Patrol Resumes Search for Missing Man on Androscoggin River

May 15, 2017 - Maine Marine Patrol resumed the search for Stephen Wines today at approximately 9:30 a.m. Wines, 27 of Bailey Island, has been missing since Friday night after eye witnesses reported that he fell from his boat into the Androscoggin River near Brunswick at approximately 8:40 p.m.

The search was suspended Saturday at 3:30 p.m. due to weather.

Today’s search, which is on-going as of this press release, involves a Marine Patrol vessel operated by Specialist Matthew Sinclair and Officer Clint Thompson and has been covering the area from Bay Bridge Landing to Merrymeeting Bay.

Marine Patrol Suspends Search for Missing Man on Androscoggin River

May, 13, 2017 - Maine Marine Patrol has suspended the search for Stephen Wines, 27 of Bailey Island, missing since last night after eye witnesses reported that he fell from his boat into the Androscoggin River near Brunswick at approximately 8:40 p.m.

The search was suspended today at 3:30 p.m. and will resume when weather improves.

Eye witnesses on shore reported that Wines passed by them in the water and they called 911. His brother William, 30 of Bailey Island, was with him in the water but made it to shore. William was treated and released from a nearby hospital.

The boat, a small recreational vessel, has been recovered and life jackets were on board, however reports indicate that neither man was wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident.

Lifeflight of Maine and the Brunswick Fire Department conducted a search while Marine Patrol and Brunswick Police Department conducted an investigation of the incident last night.

The Maine Marine Patrol including Pilot Steve Ingram, along with Brunswick Police Department and the State Police/Marine Patrol Dive Team continued the search today, focusing their efforts between Bay Bridge Landing and Merrymeeting Bay.

Massachusetts Man Charged with Illegal Possession of Elvers

May 8, 2017 - Joseph Starratt, 51, of Middleborough, Massachusetts, was arrested Friday, April 28, 2017, and charged with possession of elvers without a license. The Class D crime carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Marine Patrol received a tip through the Operation Game Thief (OGT) confidential tip line that an unlicensed individual was in possession of elvers.

Based on information from the OGT tip line, Starratt was located in Scarborough by Marine Patrol Officers Alex Hebert, and Matthew Sinclair, and Sergeants Rob Beal and Wesley Dean. He was arrested by Officer Hebert and transported to Cumberland County Jail.

Starratt was in possession of 16.5 pounds of elvers at the time of his arrest.

“Elvers are, pound for pound, by far the most valuable marine resource in Maine,” said Operation Game Thief Board Chairman Greg Sirpis. “Maine has done a great job of managing this resource and minimizing illegal activity in the fishery. But this case shows that the big bucks associated with this fishery will still tempt some to violate the law. We’re glad the Operation Game Thief tip line provided another tool to bring violators to justice.”

“Our partnership with Operation Game Thief is a critically important component of our enforcement efforts,” said Maine Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish “We’re grateful for the support the OGT program has provided our officers as they work to manage and sustain Maine’s valuable marine resources.”

Operation Game Thief is a private, non-profit organization that works with the Maine Maine Marine Patrol and other agencies to support investigations of poaching and other resource violations in Maine through a confidential tip line. Violations can be reported anonymously online at http://www.maineogt.org/report.php or by phone at 1-800-253-7887.

NEFMC Presents 2017 Award for Excellence to Dr. Matt Cieri

Matt Cieri

Council Chairman Dr. John Quinn, left, award recipient Dr. Matt Cieri, center, and Council Vice Chairman Terry Stockwell – NEFMC photo

April 21, 2017 - The New England Fishery Management Council has presented its 2017 Janice M. Plante Award for Excellence to Dr. Matt Cieri of the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR). Dr. Cieri received the award in recognition of the breadth of his scientific contributions and commitment to the Council process.

Council Chairman Dr. John Quinn said, “Dr. Cieri has devoted almost his entire professional career to the betterment of Atlantic herring science and management. He’s contributed extensively to the Council’s Atlantic Herring Plan Development Team and to herring stock assessments, and he’s been heavily involved with quota monitoring, which has helped us track catch trends and quota utilization in this important fishery.”

Dr. Cieri is a Marine Resource Scientist III at Maine DMR. He earned a Master of Science degree from Rutgers University and a PhD from the University of Maine. He oversees several programs and personnel within DMR, ranging from the Maine/New Hampshire Trawl Survey to Recreational Fishery Monitoring. He is well versed in a number of assessment models and methods. In additional to his considerable involvement with Atlantic herring, he also has contributed to assessment efforts related to monkfish, dogfish, groundfish, American eels, and Atlantic menhaden.

The Plante award is the Council’s highest honor, bestowed to an individual who has produced exceptional work “to further the effectiveness of the fishery management process in New England.”

In particular, the Council seeks to pay tribute to an individual who has displayed an “outstanding commitment and contribution of time and energy in service to the Council fishery management system.”

Given his longstanding involvement with the New England Council’s stock assessment and resource management efforts, Dr. Cieri clearly meets this criteria.

Chairman Quinn concluded, “I am honored to present this award to Dr. Matt Cieri.”

Marine Patrol Officer Matthew Wyman Honored for Professional Excellence

Marine Patrol Officer Matthew Wyman

Marine Patrol Officer Matthew Wyman

April 21, 2017 - Maine Marine Patrol Officer Matthew Wyman has received the 2017 Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chief’s Award. The award, presented April 10, 2017 at the Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, honors a law enforcement official for professional excellence. The Conference brings together regional natural resources professionals in many fields including law enforcement.

Officer Wyman was recognized by Marine Patrol Sergeant Matthew Talbot, who nominated him for the award, for his depth of skill and knowledge and for his painstaking investigation of violations that threaten Maine’s valuable marine resources.

“As a Marine Patrol Officer working Mid-Coast Maine, Officer Wyman spends much of his time working activity associated with Maine’s lucrative lobster fishery,” said Sergeant Talbot. “Officer Wyman is dedicated and involved in the conservation of Maine’s lobster fishery. He is fair minded and he conducts thorough investigations. His efforts, experience, teamwork, and commitment greatly contributed to multiple lobster fishery violations being identified and addressed.”

Sergeant Talbot highlighted several cases in which Officer Wyman demonstrated exceptional effort and ability. “During 2016 Officer Wyman was instrumental in a lengthy investigation involving a lobster harvester who was found to be illegally fishing unmarked, untagged, sunken lobster traps in offshore waters,” said Sergeant Talbot. “In addition to spending a great deal of time underway, Officer Wyman exhibited skill in drafting search warrants and managing the technological portion of the investigation.”

Sergeant Talbot also applauded Officer Wyman protecting the future of Maine’s lobster resource. “Officer Wyman also participated in an investigation into a lobster harvester who was found to be scrubbing egg bearing lobsters. This is an egregious resource violation and he worked smartly and efficiently alongside his fellow officers to help build a solid case,” said Sergeant Talbot.

“Officer Wyman consistently demonstrates a high level of professionalism,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “He has the respect of his peers and of the fishing community.”

The Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association is a professional organization comprised of the chiefs and senior command staff from the 13 northeastern states, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, NOAA Officer for Law Enforcement and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The Maine Marine Patrol enforces Maine’s marine resources laws for commercial and recreational activity. Officers are involved in investigative and protective services work, including the enforcement of marine resource conservation law, rules and regulations. Officers patrol an assigned coastal area by land and air and aboard patrol vessels, protecting marine resources, coastal property and the public.

2017 Maine Elver Season Update as of 6 p.m., April 2, 2017

DMR

Pound Reported - 343.899

Overall Quota - 7,566.3

Remaining Quota - 7,222.40

Maliseet**

Pounds Reported - Confidential

Overall Quota - 106.6

Remaining Quota - 106.6

Micmac**

Pounds Reported - Confidential

Overall Quota - 38.8

Remaining Quota - 38.80

Passamaquoddy

Pounds Reported - 110.508

Overall Quota - 1,284.3

Remaining Quota - 1,198.77

Penobscot

Pounds Reported - 35.275

Overall Quota - 620.0

Remaining Quota - 584.73

QUOTA TOTAL* - 489.69

Overall Quota - 9,616

Remaining - 9,126.32

*All 2017 data are extremely preliminary and subject to change without notice.

** Maliseet tribal and MicMac tribal data are confidential and cannot be made available to the public until three or more harvesters have reported according to the confidentiality provisions of 12 M.R.S.A §6173.

Dealers reported buying a total of 489.68 pounds with a reported value of $687,307 for average price per pound of $1,404.

The above pounds, value, and average price per pound, due to confidentiality, do not include Maliseet or MicMac tribal data.

Governor LePage, Coast Guard honor Maine Marine Patrol Officers for valiant service, heroic actions

Specialist Corrie Roberts

Marine Patrol Specialist Corrie Roberts is awarded the Silver Lifesaving Medal

Sgt. Matt Talbot

Marine Patrol Sergeant Matt Talbot receives the Certificate of Valor

March 28, 2017 - Governor Paul R. LePage and the Commander of the First Coast Guard District presented the Silver Lifesaving Medal and Certificate of Valor to two Maine Marine Patrol Officers at the State House Tuesday in Augusta, Maine.

Governor Paul R. LePage and Rear Adm. Steven D. Poulin awarded Specialist Corrie Roberts the Silver Lifesaving Medal and Sergeant Matt Talbot the Certificate of Valor for their heroic actions in October 2015 after receiving notification that the fishing vessel Legacy, a 40-foot lobster boat, was operating in an uncontrolled manner dangerously close to the rocky shore and local maritime traffic.

For a press release from the US Coast Guard, please follow this link.

To view a dramatic video of the incident, follow this link.

Glen Melvin Receives 2017 DMR Award of Excellence

DMR Award of Excellence 2017

March 8, 2017 – Glen Melvin a shellfish and elver harvester from Waldoboro has received the second annual Maine Department of Marine Resources Award of Excellence. The award, presented by DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher during the recent Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport, recognizes industry members who participate with the Department to ensure a sustainable future for Maine’s commercial fisheries. Melvin, pictured here with Commissioner Keliher during the award ceremony, was honored for his work on the Shellfish Advisory Council. “Glen is never shy about telling me what he thinks," said Commissioner Keliher. "I have come to rely on him for straightforward, unvarnished opinions. He doesn’t always tell me what I want to hear, but that reality check is important for fisheries managers. His contributions are always appreciated and he is extremely deserving of this honor.” (Photo courtesy of Mark Haskell Photography).

Maine’s 2016 Commercial Marine Resources Top $700 Million for the First Time

March 3, 2017 - Maine’s commercially harvested marine resources topped $700 million in overall value in 2016, according to preliminary data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources. The total reflects yet another all-time high and an increase of nearly $100 million in value over 2015.

“Mainers should take great pride in the success of our commercial fishing industry,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “The hard working men and women who fish for a living along our coast have established Maine as a leader in the responsible management and harvest of seafood.”

For the second straight year, the largest single increase in value was in Maine’s lobster fishery. The fishery saw the overall landed value jump by more than $30 million while the average per pound value remained over $4 for the second year in a row, at $4.07.

The overall value of Maine’s lobster fishery was again by far the highest at $533,094,366. When factoring in bonuses paid to harvesters as reported by 14 of Maine’s 19 lobster co-ops, the overall landed value of Maine’s lobster fishery reached $547,249,010.

2016 marked the first year ever that Maine lobster harvesters landed over 130 million pounds, with a total of 130,844,773 pounds. It was also the fifth year in a row in which Maine lobster harvesters landed over 120 million pounds.

“The historic landings reflect the hard work of our harvesters to build and sustain this fishery,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “The exceptional value is the result of growing demand by consumers who appreciate both the quality of Maine lobster and the long-standing commitment to sustainable harvesting practices that characterize this fishery.”

At $19,019,337 Atlantic herring, the primary bait source for Maine’s lobster industry, saw an increase in value over 2015 of more than $5 million. The dollar amount ranked it as Maine’s second most valuable fishery, despite a nearly 11 percent decline in landings. “Overall herring landings declined in 2016 as a result of a lack of fish off-shore, resulting in demand that far surpassed supply,” said Commissioner Keliher.

Maine’s softshell clam industry dropped from second place in 2015 to third in 2016 with an overall value of $15,656,386. The decline in overall value reflected a 13.4 percent decline in per pound value as well as a 20 percent decline in pounds landed.

“One significant factor that contributed to the decline in softshell clam landings was a closure of harvest areas between the Canadian border and Mount Desert Island associated with Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) late in the season,” said Kohl Kanwit, Director of the DMR Bureau of Public Health. While the closure was minimized as much as possible through rigorous testing, many areas were closed for 2 to 4 weeks to ensure public health and safety.

Maine’s elver fishery was again by-far the most lucrative of Maine’s commercial fisheries on a per pound basis at $1,430.51 a pound. Maine harvesters netted 9,400 of the 9,688 available pounds of quota for an overall value of $13,446,828, an increase of more than $2 million from the previous year. The overall value ranked the elver fishery as Maine’s fourth highest.

“While we can take this moment to celebrate the great value of Maine’s marine resources, we cannot lose site of the signs of change,” said Commissioner Keliher. “The agency and the industry must work to not only safeguard our iconic lobster fishery but also to work together on solutions that ensure the health and resiliency of all Maine fisheries.”

More landings data can be found on the DMR website.

DMR Seeks Input from Eastern Maine Lobster Harvesters Potentially Impacted by Federal Regulations

March 2, 2017 - The Maine Department of Marine Resources is seeking information from lobster harvesters in eastern Maine who might be impacted by regulations under consideration by the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) which are designed to protect corals in the Gulf of Maine.

Two of the proposed Gulf of Maine coral protection areas are Outer Schoodic Ridge and southwest of Mount Desert Rock. One of the proposed management options is a total ban on fishing. The Department has proposed to exempt the lobster and crab fisheries in these two coral protection areas.

DMR has already provided information to the NEFMC compiled from dealer and harvester landings reports and industry input that gave an estimate of the economic impact of closing these areas as well as the number of potentially impacted boats and harbors.

In January the NEFMC voted that it was too early in the development of the Draft Amendment to consider an exemption and expressed an interest in more data and analyses of the fisheries in these two areas.

DMR is now seeking to gather more in-depth data that can be used to inform the federal regulations. “Maine’s lobster industry provided valuable data when the federal whale rules were developed, which resulted in much better informed regulations,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

“The areas under consideration are very important to Maine’s lobster industry and we are again working closely with industry to ensure that these regulations take into account the full impact of these proposed regulations.”

Harvesters who fish in either or both of these areas, are being asked complete a survey, available as an attachment below. “The survey results will provide the department and NEFMC with data that can demonstrate the impact that these measures would have on the lobster fishery and the Downeast Maine economy,” said Commissioner Keliher.

Harvesters are asked to complete the survey and it by fax, mail or email to:

Sarah Cotnoir

Maine Department of Marine Resources

21 State House Station

Augusta, ME 04333

Sarah.Cotnoir@maine.gov

Office (207) 624-6596

Fax (207) 624-6024

There will be an informational session for industry at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum at the Samoset Resort on Saturday morning, March 4, 2017 at 9 am in the Rockport Room. Industry is invited to learn more about the proposed closures, the timeline for decision-making, and how to participate in the process.

New Marine Patrol Officer to Join Wells Patrol

New MPO Alex Hebert

February 8, 2017 - Alex Hebert of Spencer, Massachusetts, is the newest member of the Maine Marine Patrol and will serve in the Wells Patrol. Hebert, currently enrolled in the Conservation Law Enforcement program at Unity College, has completed the Maine Criminal Justice Academy's Pre-Service Training Program and will begin the MCJA's 18-week Basic Law Enforcement Training Program in August. Pictured with Officer Hebert (2nd from right) are Sergeant Wesley Dean (left), Lieutenant Dan White (2nd from left), Major Rene Cloutier (3rd from left), and Colonel Jon Cornish (right).

DMR Seeks Recommendations for NEFMC At-Large Member

The Department of Marine Resources is seeking recommendations from fisheries associations and individuals for the Governor’s nomination of a person to fill an at-large seat on the New England Fishery Management Council currently held by a Maine resident. Recommendations should be submitted to this Department by February 20, 2017 to provide nominees with adequate time to complete the required paperwork. Please call (207) 624-6553, fax (207) 624-6024, or email your recommendations to Amy Sinclair .

First Aid and CPR Training Available at Fishermen's Forum

As a courtesy to the Maine Fishermen's Forum, the Maine Department of Marine Resources is sharing the following announcement:

Give yourself and your crew the tools to handle a medical emergency at sea or on shore. The Maine Fishermen’s Forum has partnered with the Red Cross to provide low-cost first aid and CPR training at this year’s Forum. Commercial fishing is dangerous work, and having the proper first training on board is just as important as having a first aid kit itself. Make sure you’re rigged with the right safety tools and the right skills to use them.

One day and $126 buys USCG-approved first aid certification and the peace of mind knowing someone (or better yet – everyone) on your boat is prepared for the accidents that no one wants but that all-too-often happen in our business. Fishing single-handed? This workshop is especially important for you because if you find yourself in a situation, you have got to take care of matters by yourself.

Invest in a lifetime of life-saving skills for less than the cost of a barrel of bait. Sign up on the website at www.mainefishermensforum.org, or just call Forum director Chilloa Young at 207-442-7700 and she’ll set you up.

March 2, 2017

Wesley Dean Promoted to Marine Patrol Sergeant

Sergeant Welsey Dean

January 6, 2017 - Wesley Dean, (center) has been promoted to Sergeant of Marine Patrol Section 1, which stretches from Kittery to Yarmouth. Sergeant Dean, shown here with Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher (left) and Marine Patrol Colonel Johnathan Cornish (right) is a ten-year veteran of the Maine Marine Patrol. Sergeant Dean previously served in the Belfast-Islesboro patrol. He will supervise four Marine Patrol Officers and one Boat Specialist. “Sergeant Dean has consistently demonstrated an exceptional level of professionalism and initiative throughout his career,” said Colonel Cornish. “I am confident that he will excel in this new leadership position.”

2017 Maine Northern Shrimp Cooperative Winter Sampling Program Participants Announced

December 29, 2016 - Maine participants in the cooperative winter sampling program for Northern Shrimp in the Gulf of Maine have been announced. The program, coordinated by the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, is designed to provide biological data on the shrimp fishery which is closed for the fourth year in a row.

The Maine fishermen have been chosen from over 60 applicants, based on a random drawing of those fully qualified in each region. Qualifications include a demonstrated shrimp fishing history, and successfully passing a Marine Patrol review of marine resource violations.

Preference was given to trawlers willing to participate in a test of a compound grate for harvesting. Compound grates are devices used by trawlers to reduce the catch of small shrimp.

Maine harvesters chosen include trawlers Vincent Balzano, Joseph Leask, and Rob Tetrault from western Maine, Troy Benner, David Osier and Arthur Poland Jr. from mid-coast Maine, and Randy Cushman and Glen Libby from eastern Maine.

Shrimp trappers include Chad Gamage, Darryl Chadwick, George Gilbert and Robert Tracy from mid-coast Maine, and Thomas Riedel from eastern Maine.

In response to the depleted condition of the northern shrimp resource, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section extended the moratorium on commercial fishing for the 2017 fishing season. The Section also approved a 53 metric ton research set aside (RSA) which will be used by the cooperative sampling program to provide managers with much-needed biological data. Biological data gathered will include size composition and egg hatch timing.

In total, the sampling program will include the participation of 10 trawlers (8 Maine trawlers, 1 Massachusetts trawler, and 1 New Hampshire trawler) and 5 Maine trappers, fishing for 8 weeks from mid‐January to mid‐March, 2017.

The trawlers will be allowed a maximum trip limit of 1,200 pounds, with 1 trip per week, while the trappers will have a maximum possession limit of 500 pounds per week, with a 40 trap limit per vessel. All participants will provide shrimp samples to the Maine DMR weekly.

Information on the sampling program can be found on the DMR website .

Maine Scallop Season Update - December 29, 2016

December 29, 2016 - Four weeks into the Maine Scallop Season and things continue to look good for harvesters. The rotational closures implemented in Zone 2 last year are now bearing fruit and the same is true for targeted closures in Zone 1. Zone 3 fishermen continue to catch their daily limit in a couple of hours and are dealing with less competition as the fishing remains strong to the west.

An emergency regulation will be effective on Sunday, January 1, that will implement targeted closures where the fishery has reached harvest targets, which are between 30% and 40% of the harvestable biomass. The DMR uses emergency rulemaking in combination with in season monitoring efforts to ensure that the resource continues to rebuild by managing adaptively during the season and ensuring that areas are not overfished.

NOTE: The size of scallops is often designated by the letter U, which stands for “under” followed by a number. For example, in the case of a U/10 scallop, it takes fewer than (under) 10 of them to make up a pound. The smaller the number, the bigger the scallop. U/10s are prized because of their size. Here are the highlights of the season to-date:

Zone 1 – Maine/NH Border to Penobscot Bay

Much of the activity has been concentrated in Portland Harbor, which was closed last year to protect sublegal scallops, allowing them to recruit up to the fishery this season. Fishing has also been targeting the Mussel Ridge area further east. Surveys conducted by the DMR on December 2 and 22, 2016 determined that Portland Harbor has reached it catch target, while the Hussey Sound/Chandler Cove area contains high concentrations of sublegal scallops, which require protection. Targeted closures in both of these areas will be implemented on January 1, 2016, however, the Hussey Sound/Chandler Bay area will remain open to hand harvest by scuba divers, who have negligible impact on sublegal scallops.

Zone 2 – Penobscot Bay to Lubec-Campobello Island Bridge

Harvesters have been fishing the Lower Blue Hill and Jonesport areas and have reported regularly landing U-10s. In-season monitoring efforts have determined that the Narraguagus/Pigeon Hill Bay Rotational Area and the Chandler Bay area have both met harvest targets, so targeted closures for both these areas will be implemented January 1, 2016. However, fishermen have already moved out of these areas and continue to report good catches elsewhere in Zone 2.

Zone 3 – Maine Territorial Coastal Waters North and East of Lubec-Campobello Island Bridge

A few boats have begun to move into Zone 3 from off-shore areas as weather has deteriorated, however, harvesters continue to report strong catches, landing their limit of scallops in a few hours with a large proportion of them being reported as U10s.

For information on the 2016-17 Maine Scallop Season, visit the DMR scallop overview page.

New Marine Patrol Officer to Join Stonington Patrol

New MPO Daniel Vogel

December 28, 2016 - Having recently graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy's 18-week Basic Law Enforcement Training Program, Daniel Vogel of Piseco, New York, is the newest member of the Maine Marine Patrol. After an additional 45-day Marine Patrol field training program, Officer Vogel will be serving in the busy Stonington patrol. Pictured with Officer Vogel (center) are Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher (left) and Maine Marine Patrol Colonel Jonathan Cornish (right) after recent swearing in ceremonies.

Two Men Have Lobster Licenses Suspended for Six Years for Removing Eggs from Lobsters

December 13, 2016 - The Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources has suspended the lobster licenses of two men for removing the eggs from female lobsters. The violation is a Class D crime which, in addition to license suspension, is punishable by up to a year in jail and fines in excess of $1,000.

The licenses of Dexter Bray, Jr., 36 of Stonington and Philip Poland, 42 of Cushing have been suspended for 6 years as a result of separate investigations conducted earlier this year by Maine Marine Patrol.

The Bray investigation, led by Marine Patrol Officer Rustin Ames, resulted in charges of removing the eggs of two female lobsters for which Bray is facing fines of up to $1,600 in addition to as much as a year in prison and the license suspension.

The crime came to light by an anonymous complaint received in the spring by Officer Ames that Bray was “scrubbing” lobsters, which is the act of artificially removing eggs from the underside of a female lobster’s tail.

Officer Ames followed up on the complaint and began an investigation that involved Marine Patrol Specialist Sean Dow. The investigation revealed that Bray had landed and attempted to sell two egg-bearing female lobsters at a lobster co-op in Stonington.

The Poland investigation, led by Marine Patrol Officer Brandon Bezio, resulted in charges of removing eggs from three female lobsters for which he faces up to a year in prison and fines up to $1,900 in addition to his license suspension.

This investigation also began with an anonymous complaint received during the summer. Officer Bezio followed up on the complaint and, with the help of Marine Patrol Officer Matthew Wyman, and Specialist Corrie Robert, determined that Poland had scrubbed the eggs from three lobsters in his possession.

“Scrubbing lobsters is one of the most serious violations of marine resource laws we see,” said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish. “By removing eggs to make a short-term monetary gain, criminals deny future generations of fishermen the opportunity those eggs represent. Just as important, they undermine the work law abiding harvesters do every day to sustain this important resource.”

“I’m extremely proud of the thorough investigation conducted by the Officers involved in these cases,” said DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “These are very difficult cases to make and the Officers did an outstanding job bring this behavior to an end.”

Bray, who fished in lobster Management Zone C, was notified after a length of suspension hearing on November 2, 2016 with Commissioner Keliher that his license would be suspended for six years, allowing him to regain his license on May 19, 2022.

Poland, who fished in Zone D, was notified after a length of suspension hearing on November 15, 2016 with Commissioner Keliher that his license would be suspended for six years, allowing him to regain his license on July 8, 2022.

Maine Scallop Season Update - December 9, 2016

December 9, 2016 - The Maine Scallop Season is underway and two weeks are in the books. The catch has started off strong, with harvesters reporting good prices because of the size and quality of the product.

NOTE: The size of scallops is often designated by the letter U, which stands for “under” followed by a number. For example, in the case of a U/10 scallop, it takes fewer than (under) 10 of them to make up a pound. The smaller the number, the bigger the scallop. U/10s are prized because of their size. Here are the highlights of the season to-date:

Zone 1 – Maine/NH Border to Cape Jellison

Divers and draggers reported moderate to good fishing. Much of Zone 1 is currently closed for rebuilding including Sheepscot Bay and Muscongus Bay.

Zone 2 – Cape Jellison to Lubec-Campobello Island Bridge

Harvesters are reporting scallop counts in the U/15 – U/20 range with some areas reporting substantial percentages of catch U/10s. Zone 2 fishing areas have had two years to rebuild through a rotational management plan, resulting in larger scallops compared to previous years.

Zone 3 – Maine Territorial Coastal Waters North and East of Lubec-Campobello Island Bridge

Strong catches are reported with harvesters consistently landing U/15s - U/17s, with a substantial amount of U/10s also being landed. Harvesters are reporting landing some of the biggest scallops ever. The size of the scallops is the result of in-season monitoring and closures that ensure that only 30-40 percent of the resource is harvested. This management approach leaves a large percentage of the resource on the bottom to help increase the amount and the size of scallops.

For information on the 2016-17 Maine Scallop Season, visit the Maine DMR website

Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund Grant Strengthens Public Health Protection, Opportunity for Shellfish Industry

December 2, 2016 - A $32,000 grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund has strengthened Maine Department of Marine Resources’ ability to protect public health and preserve opportunity for Maine’s shellfish industry.

The funds will allow the department to purchase equipment to test for domoic acid, a naturally-occurring biotoxin that can cause serious health risks including amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP). The equipment will be purchased and DMR staff trained during the upcoming winter months.

While phytoplankton species that cause domoic acid have been detected in Maine waters for years, 2016 was the first year the biotoxin was found in concentrations that could cause adverse health impacts.

Levels of domoic acid detected by DMR’s biotoxin monitoring program in September triggered closures of shellfish harvesting areas between Bar Harbor and the Canadian Border. The event lasted until mid-November when the final closed area was re-opened.

The process of testing for domoic acid involves routine phytoplankton sampling at established sites along the Maine coast throughout the year. The samples are analyzed under a microscope by DMR staff and trained volunteers. If cell counts of the phytoplankton, known as Pseudo-nitzschia, in the water samples reach established levels, a test known as the Scotia Rapid test is conducted to determine if domoic acid is present.

If test results are positive, shellfish sampling in the vicinity begins and shellfish samples are sent to Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences for further confirmation using a method known as high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC).

If the concentration of biotoxin in the samples reaches a level established by FDA as a baseline for regulatory action, 20 parts per million in the case of domoic acid, the area associated with the toxic shellfish is immediately closed.

“Our partnership with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences continues to be invaluable,” said Maine DMR Public Health Bureau Director Kohl Kanwit. “We began working with Bigelow Bigelow Laboratory in 2014 to implement HPLC testing for red tide. As a result Maine was the first state in the nation to transition from using mice to test for biotoxins to the more precise HPLC method, which uses chemical analysis instead of live animals,” said Kanwit.

“By transitioning the biotoxin monitoring program to HPLC, DMR is able to respond more effectively to emerging biotoxin threats such as ASP.”

Before HPLC testing was available, the department had no way to test for domoic acid. Instead, notification of possible ASP contamination came to the department from health officials dealing with a potential ASP illness. FDA then tested samples, which could take up to ten days, during which large sections of the Maine coast were closed until results were returned.

In 2012, approximately 50,000 acres of shellfish harvest area on the Maine coast were closed as a precaution for nine days while FDA results were pending. Test results ultimately indicated there were no levels of concern and the areas were reopened.

“HPLC testing by Bigelow Lab was a major improvement for us and for industry,” said Bryant Lewis, the DMR Biologist who wrote the grant and will oversee the project. “The new equipment, which will be housed at the DMR lab in Boothbay Harbor, will further strengthen our ability to deal with this emerging biotoxin.”

Shellfish samples collected as part of the department’s routine biotoxin monitoring program will still go to Bigelow Laboratory for analysis of paralytic shellfish poisoning and diarrhetic shellfish poisoning.

However, samples from areas that are shown by DMR testing to have high Pseudo-nitzschia cell counts and to be positive for domoic acid can be tested immediately with the new DMR equipment. This eliminates the potential need for precautionary closures while waiting for test results from the lab.

“Our partnership with the Bigelow Laboratory enabled us to effectively monitor and manage the ASP event this summer and we will continue to partner with them for routine monitoring,” said Lewis. “This new equipment will improve Maine’s capacity to make rapid, scientifically sound management decisions that protect the health of Maine shellfish consumers while preserving opportunity for Maine’s shellfish industry.”

The Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund conserves wildlife and open spaces through the sale of instant, scratch lottery tickets. With proceeds from ticket sales, grants are awarded twice a year, totaling approximately $700,000 annually. Information on the Fund can be found here.

Spruce Head Man Charged with Fishing 156 More Lobster Traps than Allowed

November 14, 2016 – Brian Tarbox, 52 of Spruce Head has been charged by Marine Patrol Officer Brandon Bezio with fishing 156 lobster traps more than he was authorized to fish.

Fishing traps in excess of the authorized limit is a civil violation that carries a potential fine of between $100 and $500. Tarbox has also been charged with fishing lobster traps that contain tags not registered to his vessel, also a civil violation with a potential for a minimum $100 fine. Tags, which are affixed to each trap, are marked with information that identifies the harvester licensed to fish the trap.

In addition to the fines, Tarbox faces the possibility of a suspension of his lobster license.

“This is a very serious violation of marine resource laws and I’m extremely proud of the diligent work of the Marine Patrol personnel involved in this case,” said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish. “When someone fishes in excess of trap limits, it not only undermines important conservation laws designed to sustain this valuable resource, it gives violators an unfair advantage over law abiding harvesters.”

The investigation involved four patrol boats and the following Marine Patrol personnel: Officer Bezio, Sergeant Matt Talbot, Officer Johnathan Luellen, Specialist Corrie Roberts, Officer Wesley Dean, Officer Matthew Wyman, Lieutenant Daniel White, Specialist Matthew Sinclair, Sergeant Robert Beal, Officer Joel Tourtelotte, Specialist Michael Neelon, Officer Christopher Hilton, and Officer Rebecca Kavanaugh.

The violation was uncovered by Officer Bezio during a routine patrol in October. Officer Bezio inspected Tarbox’s traps and discovered that they included tags that belonged to another license holder, Eric Caswell, 25 of Lewiston. The discovery of another harvester’s tags on Tarbox’s traps led Marine Patrol to haul all of his traps and determine that he was fishing 156 traps in excess of his allotted 800.

Also charged as a result of the investigation was Tarbox’s son, Samuel, 23 of Spruce Head. Samuel Tarbox has been charged with with fishing lobster traps that contain tags not registered to his vessel. In addition to the minimum $100 fine, he also faces the possibility of license suspension.

Caswell, who is Tarbox’s stepson, is not facing any charges as a result of the investigation.

Tarbox fishes in Wheeler’s Bay in lobster management zone D, which stretches from Cape Rozier to Pemaquid Point and is authorized to fish 800 traps.

Moratorium on Northern Shrimp Commercial Fishing Maintained for 2017 Season

Portsmouth, NH – In response to the depleted condition of the northern shrimp resource, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section extended the moratorium on commercial fishing for the 2017 fishing season. The Section also approved a 53 metric ton (mt) research set aside (RSA) to allow for the continued collection of much needed biological data.

The 2016 Stock Status Report for Gulf of Maine (GOM) Northern Shrimp indicates abundance and biomass indices for 2012–2016 are the lowest on record of the thirty-three year time series. Recruitment indices for the 2010–2015 year classes are also poor and include the three smallest year classes on record. As a result, the 2012–2016 indices of harvestable biomass are the lowest on record. Current harvestable biomass is almost entirely composed of the 2013 year class.

“By increasing the 2017 RSA, which is above last year’s 22 mt quota and that recommended by the Technical Committee for 2017 (13.6 mt), the Section sought to strike a balance between providing limited fishing opportunities to the industry while collecting valuable data to allow for the continued monitoring of the northern shrimp resource,” stated Section Chair Dennis Abbott of New Hampshire.

Recruitment of northern shrimp is related to both spawning biomass and ocean temperatures, with higher spawning biomass and colder temperatures producing stronger recruitment. Ocean temperatures in western GOM shrimp habitat have increased over the past decade and reached unprecedented highs within the past several years. This suggests an increasingly inhospitable environment for northern shrimp and the need for strong conservation efforts to help restore and maintain a fishable stock. The Northern Shrimp Technical Committee considers the stock to be in poor condition with limited prospects for the near future. The 2016 Stock Status Report is available at http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/5823782c2016NorthernShrimpAssessment.pdf .

To maintain the time series of data collected from northern shrimp commercial fishery catches, a cooperative winter sampling program was approved with a 53 mt RSA quota. This program allows for the continued collection of biological data (e.g. size composition, egg hatch timing) from GOM northern shrimp fishery catches in the absence of a directed fishery. The RSA will include the participation of 10 trawlers (8 Maine trawlers, 1 Massachusetts trawler, and 1 New Hampshire trawler) and 5 trap fishermen, fishing for 8 weeks from mid-January to mid-March. The trawlers will have a maximum trip limit of 1,200 pounds per trip, with 1 trip per week, while the trappers will have a maximum possession limit of 500 pounds per week, with a 40 trap limit per vessel. Preference will be given to individuals in the lottery with double Nordmore grates and having history prior to the June 7, 2011 control date.

For more information, please contact Max Appelman, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 703.842.0740 or find his e-mail address at http://www.asmfc.org/species/northern-shrimp .

Bowdoinham Man Charged with Boating Under the Influence after Driving onto Kennebec River Island

Stevenson's Boat

Douglas Stevenson's boat after it went aground on Swan Island in the Kennebec.

Stevenson's Boat

Douglas Stevenson's boat pictured from the bank of Swan Island in the Kennebec.

Stevenson's Boat

Douglas Stevenson's boat pictured from the air in a photo by helicopter pilot Ed Friedman.

November 3, 2016 - Douglas Stevenson, 44 of Bowdoinham has been charged with operating a watercraft under the influence as a result of a boating accident in the early morning hours of October 30 that left two women seriously injured.

Marine Patrol Officer Clint Thompson responded to the accident, which was reported just after midnight. Other responding agencies included Dresden Fire Department, Gardiner Fire Department and Sagadahoc County Sheriff and Richmond Police Department.

According to Marine Patrol reports, Stevenson was operating his 29-foot Four Winns power boat heading north in the Kennebec River when the boat ran aground near the south end of Swan Island. Initial investigation by the Marine Patrol indicates he was travelling at a high rate of speed.

According to Marine Patrol Officer Thompson, there were three passengers on-board, two of whom received serious but non-life threatening injuries. They were Krista Hurst, 41 of Birmingham, Michigan and Lesia Tatarsky, 37 of Warren, Michigan.

All individuals were rescued by Dresden Fire Department, paramedics from Gardiner Fire Department and Sagadahoc County Sheriff Corporal Ian Alexander. The injured were transported to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick by Gardiner Rescue.

Marine Patrol Officer Thompson transported Stevenson to Richmond Police Department where he summonsed him with operating a watercraft under the influence.

Stevenson’s blood alcohol level several hours after the accident was .16, which is double the legal limit. Boating under the influence is a criminal violation in Maine with penalties that include a fine and imprisonment.

“This is a serious incident that underscores the importance of boating sober,” said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish. “Operating a watercraft on Maine’s waterways is challenging enough but when operators are intoxicated and traveling at night, it can be a recipe for disaster.”

The accident investigation continues and additional charges may be coming.

Two Men Charged with Lobster Theft

November 1, 2106 – Two men have been charged with theft after a month-long investigation by the Maine Marine Patrol revealed they stole lobsters from two dealers.

Troy J. Woodman, 34 of Warren and Shane Hall, 29 of Portland have both been charged. Woodman was arrested by Marine Patrol Sergeant Robert Beal Monday, October 17 and taken to Cumberland County Jail.

Hall is currently in Knox County Jail facing a total of six other charges including aggravated assault and kidnapping for allegedly forcing a woman into his car as she walked home in Rockland in late September.

The Marine Patrol investigation revealed that the two men stole lobsters from Quahog Lobster in Harpswell. According to Marine Patrol reports, the thefts took place between late-September and mid-October.

The thefts were uncovered through surveillance conducted by Marine Patrol Officers Rebecca Kavanaugh and Christopher Hilton as well as Sergeant Beal.

“We take cases like this very seriously,” said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish. “Theft of this magnitude deprives hard working, law abiding Mainers of their livelihood and undermines our coastal economy. I’m very proud of the Officers and Sergeant for their thorough investigation.”

Woodman has been charged with one count of Class C Theft for allegedly stealing lobsters from Quahog Lobster on September 17. Additional theft charges against Woodman are expected for thefts that occurred at Quahog Lobster on September 24, 25, 27, and October 6, and at Maggie’s Seafood in South Bristol on October 9 and October 16.

Hall has been charged with one count of Class D Theft and one count of Class C theft for allegedly stealing lobsters from Quahog Lobster on September 25 and 27.

A total of 19 crates filled with lobster were allegedly stolen by the two over the course of the seven days. The estimated value of the stolen lobster and crates exceeds $9,000.

In Maine Class C crimes carry a penalty of up to 5 years in jail and a fine of $5,000 while Class D crimes are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of $2,000.

An investigation into the sale and purchase of the stolen lobsters is on-going.

Operation Game Thief Offers $15,000 Reward for Information on Lobster Trap Cutting Incidents

October 31, 2016 - An escalation of trap cutting incidents in recent weeks along the line that separates Maine’s lobster zones B and C has prompted a $15,000 reward from Operation Game Thief for information that will help Marine Patrol in its investigation.

“This has been going on since early summer but in recent weeks we have received numerous reports of traps being cut along the B/C line, and the possibility of these incidents continuing to escalate has prompted me to approve additional Marine Patrol assets including overtime and vessels to support investigations into these incidents,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

“While these incidents are territorial disputes among a few harvesters, I will take whatever action is necessary to bring a stop to these violations, including closing the area associated with these incidents,” said Keliher. “I don’t want to take an action that could potentially penalize law abiding harvesters, but I am committed to preventing this from escalating even further.”

“This trap war is without a doubt the most costly loss of gear I have witnessed in my 32 year carreer with the Maine Marine Patrol,” stated Colonel Jon Cornish. “In this instance gear loss is estimated to far exceed $350,000 dollars. Trap molesting is a serious offence with the potential for multiple year license suspensions. We are working hard to investigate these incidents and are grateful for the support of the Operation Game Thief program.

Lobster Zone B extends from Schoodic Point to Newbury Neck while Zone C stretches from Newbury Neck to Cape Rosier.

“Maine’s lobster industry has a long-standing commitment to responsible harvesting practices and the marine resource laws that ensure opportunity for so many in Maine,” said Operation Game Thief Board Chairman Greg Sirpis. “So when the actions of a few threaten the livelihood of those fishing within the law, the OGT Board of Directors will step up. The Maine OGT Board of Directors hopes this significant reward will prompt someone to come forward with information that will bring these violators to justice.”

This investigation is on-going. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-253-7887 (1-800-ALERT-US); out of state callers dial 1-207-287-6057. Information can also be provided through the OGT online Tip Reporting Form . Information provided by phone or the Tip Reporting Form can be provided anonymously.

Curtis LaBelle of Buxton Joins Maine Marine Patrol in Lubec Patrol

New MPO Curtis LaBelle

October 31, 2016 - Curtis LaBelle of Buxton (3rd from left) is the newest Marine Patrol Officer to join the ranks. Pictured after his recent swearing in Augusta with Colonel Jon Cornish (left), Deputy DMR Commissioner Meredith Mendelson (2nd from left) and Major Rene Cloutier (right), Officer LaBelle is serving in the Lubec Patrol. A graduate of Norwich University with a degree in Criminal Justice, LaBelle has completed the Maine Criminal Justice Academy's Law Enforcement Pre-Service Training Program and will begin the MCJA Basic Law Enforcement Training Program in January.

Notice to Atlantic Herring Fishery: Closure of Area 1A Directed Fishery in State and Federal Waters, Effective October 18, 2016 at 12:01 AM

NOAA Fisheries has estimated that at least 92% of the Area 1A quota will be harvested on or before Tuesday, October 18. Therefore, effective 12:01 am Tuesday, October 18, 2016 it shall be unlawful to fish for, take, or land Atlantic Herring taken from Management Area 1A. This restriction shall be in place until further notice.

Any Atlantic Herring caught or possessed by any vessel that were taken from Herring Management 1A must be landed by 12:01 am, Tuesday, October 18, 2016. Fish landed prior to 12:01 am may be offloaded after 12:01 am.

Exceptions:

Any vessels may land or offload herring in the State of Maine as incidental catch as long as such herring do not comprise more than 10% of the total weight of the catch and do not exceed 2,000 lbs per trip per day.

Herring taken legally outside Area 1A may be transported through the area, only if all fishing gear has been stowed.

Fixed gear fishermen (weirs and stop seines) are not subject to the 1A closure.

For more details, please contact your local Marine Patrol Division Headquarters (Div I 633-9595, Div II 667-3373) or your local marine patrol officer.

Operation Game Thief Offers $2,000 Reward for Information on Lobster Boat Sinking

October 4, 2016 - Maine’s Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of $2,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the sinking of Anthony Hooper’s lobster boat

The Maine Marine Patrol is investigating the third sinking in two months of a lobster boat belonging to Hooper, who is from Tenants Harbor.

“This is a senseless act that has happened to one of our own,” said Operation Game Thief Board of Directors Chairman Greg Sirpis. “The commercial lobstering community has a deep rooted tradition in Maine, and this will simply not stand. The Maine OGT Board of Directors is hopeful that someone will come forward and furnish information that will assist the Maine Marine Patrol in their investigation.”

“We’re grateful for the tremendous support of the Operation Game Thief program,” said Marine Patrol Major Rene Cloutier. “While their focus is traditionally on poaching violations, their partnership with the Marine Patrol will help us pursue serious violations that undermine the ability of hard working fishermen to make a living on the water.”

The most recent sinking occurred at some point between Friday evening, September 30, and Saturday morning, October 1. The first sinking occurred in August and the second occurred between September 28 and September 29. The 35 foot fishing vessel Liberty was sunk again last Friday evening, just two nights after the boat was raised and repaired. Each incident occurred in Port Clyde where the boat is moored.

The vessel has again been raised by its owner and is under repair.

This investigation is on-going. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-253-7887 (1-800-ALERT-US); out of state callers dial 1-207-287-6057. Information can also be provided through the OGT online Tip Reporting Form at http://www.maineogt.org/report.php. Information provided by phone or the Tip Reporting Form can be provided anonymously.

Anyone with information can also contact the Maine Marine Patrol. Contact information for the Maine Marine Patrol can be found at on the DMR website.

Marine Patrol Investigates Third Sinking of Lobster Boat in two Months

The Maine Marine Patrol is investigating the third sinking of a lobster boat belonging to Anthony Hooper of Tenants Harbor in two months.

The most recent sinking occurred at some point between Friday evening, September 30, and Saturday morning, October 1.

Marine Patrol Officers Brandon Bezio and Matthew Wyman were notified Saturday morning by the boat’s owner. Marine Patrol is investigating the sinking in cooperation with Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

The first sinking occurred between the evening of August 16 and the morning of August 17. The second sinking occurred between the evening of September 28 and September 29 and the third just two nights after the boat was raised and repaired. Each incident occurred in Port Clyde where the boat is moored.

The 35 foot fishing vessel Liberty has again been raised by its owner and is under repair.

This investigation is on-going. Anyone with information about the sinking of the fishing vessel Liberty is encouraged to contact their local Marine Patrol Officer or the State Police at 800-452-4664. Contact information for Maine Marine Patrol can be found at on the DMR website.

Tenants Harbor Man Arrested in Connection with Boat Sinking

September 30, 2016 - Alan Norwood, 47 of Tenants Harbor has been arrested by the Maine Marine Patrol and charged with Aggravated Criminal Mischief in connection with a boat sinking case that sent two others to jail earlier this summer.

Norwood was arrested by Marine Patrol Officer Brandon Bezio on Tuesday and taken to Knox County Jail. Vincent Hilt, 22, of Vinalhaven, and Devin Meklin, 20, of Warren were arrested earlier this month and charged with felony criminal mischief and felony theft for intentionally sinking a 36-foot lobster boat owned by Joshua Hupper.

Since that time, Norwood has been under investigation by the Marine Patrol, suspected of arranging to have the boat sunk. Evidence points to a dispute between Norwood, a licensed lobsterman, and Hupper, as a possible motive.

Aggravated criminal mischief carries a potential punishment of up to 5 years in prison and fines. Norwood could also be ordered to pay restitution.

Notice to Atlantic Herring Fishery: Massachusetts/New Hampshire Spawning Closure in Effect Starting October 2, 2016 through October 29, 2016

September 28, 2016 - The Maine Department of Marine Resources would like to inform herring fishermen and dealers that Atlantic Herring spawning closure regulations affecting the capture of herring in state and federal waters in the Massachusetts/New Hampshire Spawning Area will be in effect starting 12:01 am on October 2 extending through 11:59 pm on October 29, 2016.

Due to landing day restrictions in Trimester 3 (October 1-December 31) vessels will not be allowed to land prior to the onset of the MA/NH spawning closure. Therefore, if a vessel harvests herring from the MA/NH spawning area on October 1, it will be in violation of the Atlantic Herring FMP starting on October 2 at 12:01 a.m. (when the MA/NH spawning closure takes effect). The Eastern Maine spawning area will be open to the directed Atlantic herring fishery at the start of Trimester 3.

It shall be unlawful to fish for, take, possess, transfer, or land in any State of Maine port or facility, or to transfer at sea from any vessel, any catch of herring harvested from the following described area:

All waters bounded by the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine coasts, and 43o 30’ N and 70o 00’ W.

Exemptions:

Herring taken legally outside the MA/NH Spawning Area may be transported through the area, only if all fishing gear has been stowed.

Fixed gear fishermen (weirs and stop seines) are not subject to this provision.

For more details, please contact your local Marine Patrol Division Headquarters (Div I 633-9595, Div II 667-3373) or your local marine patrol officer.

Maine-NH Inshore Fall Trawl Survey Sep. 24 - Oct. 28

For more information about the survey, including the daily schedule and charts of tow locations, go to http://www.maine.gov/dmr/science-research/projects/trawlsurvey/fl16/index.html

Atlantic Herring Landing Days for Area 1A, Effective October 2, 2016

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Herring Section (Section) members from Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts met via conference call on Friday, September 16, 2016 to discuss Area 1A (inshore Gulf of Maine) days out measures for Trimester 3 (October 1 – December 31). Section members, with input from industry, agreed to four consecutive landing days until 92% of the Area 1A sub-ACL is projected to be harvested or until further notice. This restriction shall be in place until further notice.

Landing Restrictions: Effective October 2, 2016, vessels in the State of Maine may land herring starting at 6:00 p.m. on Sundays until 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays. Vessels may only land once during any 24 hour period (6 pm to 6 pm).

For more information, go to http://www.maine.gov/dmr/science-research/species/herring/area1a10-02-16.htm .

Marine Patrol Investigation Leads to Arrest of Two for Multiple Violations

September 12, 2016 - Duston Reed, a 34 year-old lobsterman from Waldoboro, has been arrested by the Maine Marine Patrol after a seven month investigation and charged with fishing lobster traps that were not marked with a buoy, fishing untagged lobster traps, falsifying physical evidence, and tampering with a witness.

The two fishing-related charges carry potential fines totaling $2,500. The charge of falsifying physical evidence, a Class D crime, is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. The charge of tampering with a witness, a Class C crime, is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Reed also faces suspension of his lobster, commercial fishing and scallop licenses.

A total of 40 unmarked, untagged traps were recovered by Marine Patrol Officers after an investigation determined where they were located. “This was a thorough investigation that resulted in charges for significant violations of Maine’s marine resource laws,” said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish.

“Marking lobster traps with buoys and tags allows Marine Patrol to identify the harvester associated with the traps and to ensure compliance with our important resource laws which are designed to sustain Maine’s valuable fisheries,” said Cornish.

The falsifying physical evidence and witness tampering charges stem from the Marine Patrol investigation which revealed that Reed instructed his sternman, Jeremy Yeaton of Friendship, to remove marine navigation electronics used to navigate and locate fishing gear.

Yeaton has also been arrested and charged with falsification of physical evidence related to removing electronics from Reed’s fishing vessel, Outer Limits. He faces 364 days in jail and $2,000 in fines for the violation.

Reed was arrested August 18 taken to Lincoln County jail. Yeaton was arrested August 28 and also taken to Lincoln County Jail.

“This was an extensive investigation that involved a great deal of detective work by Marine Patrol Officers,” said Maine DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “Violations of this magnitude that show a clear intent to conceal illegal activity and to disregard our important resource laws will be taken very seriously.”

New Technology Supports Efforts to Restore Maine's Urchin Fishery

September 1, 2016 - While Maine’s 2016-2017 sea urchin season will be a repeat of last season in terms of the number of fishing days and daily landing limits, harvesters and dealers will be equipped with new technology designed to improve future prospects for this fishery.

Maine DMR is launching a new swipe card system for the sea urchin fishery. Developed with support from the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program, this system will create efficiencies for industry and DMR staff, and will support efforts to restore and sustain this fishery, at one time second only to lobster in landed value.

By automating required weekly dealer reports, previously done on paper, “swipe cards reduce the chance of human error which can occur when transcribing landings information,” said Trisha Cheney, DMR Resource Management Coordinator for Sea Urchins.

Similar to the elver fishery, each time urchin harvesters sell their product, they swipe their card in the dealer’s card reader, and the dealer enters the sales information into a computer loaded with customized reporting software.

Each transaction, including the harvester’s information encoded on a magnetic strip on the back of the card, and pounds and price entered by the dealer, will be uploaded from the dealer computer to a secure server accessed by DMR managers.

“My intent in expanding the use of the swipe card system is to ensure the accurate and timely landings information which is crucial to the successful management of Maine’s commercial fisheries,” said Patrick Keliher, Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner. “This is especially important in a fishery like this, which was once the second most valuable in Maine.”

Beginning in the 1980s, Maine sea urchin landings began to rise dramatically with the development of a market in Japan. The rising demand prompted increased fishing pressure. By 1995 there were 1,840 licensed harvesters who landed 34.2 million pounds valued at more than $35 million, behind only lobster in value for wild harvested fisheries.

However the increasing pressure on the resource resulted in a prohibition on new licenses, which is still in place. In 2015, Maine’s 305 urchin harvesters landed 1.5 million pounds valued at $4.3 million dollars.

“When managers must rely on insufficient or outdated information, it forces them to be more precautionary in their approach,” said Cheney. “By providing managers with more timely and accurate data, the new urchin swipe card system will improve our understanding of the fishery, allowing for more targeted measures, which could mean more harvesting opportunity in the future.”

“The DMR has had great success with the swipe card system in the elver fishery. This technology has helped Maine ensure the future of that important fishery,” said Keliher. “We anticipate that the swipe card system will also support efforts to restore and sustain Maine’s urchin fishery.”

The calendar for Maine’s 2016-2017 urchin season can be found on the Maine DMR website.

Waiting Lists for Limited-Entry Lobster Zones

Important Notice Regarding the Waiting Lists for Limited-Entry Lobster Zones

As directed by LD 1503, "An Act to Amend Lobster and Crab Fishing License Laws", the Maine Department of Marine Resources is in the process of contacting all individuals who are currently on the lobster license waiting lists for each of the six Limited-Entry Zones (A, B, D, E, F and G) to determine if they wish to remain on the waiting list, or if they no longer want a lobster license, and wish to be removed from the waiting list.

The Department has sent out a form to each individual on each of the six waiting lists, to the most recent address they have provided to the Department. Individuals who wish to remain in their current position on the waiting list MUST return the completed form by September 2nd. If an individual does not respond within the timeframes provided in the law, the Commissioner is required to remove that person’s name from the waiting list.

If you are currently on a waiting list, please watch your mail for the form, and return it to the Department at your earliest convenience, but no later than September 2, 2016. If you have a friend or family member on a waiting list, please advise them to do the same.

For more information, please contact Sarah Cotnoir.

Herring Spawning Regulations for the Eastern Maine Spawning Area In Effect Starting August 28

http://www.maine.gov/dmr/science-research/species/herring/eastme2016.htm

The Maine Department of Marine Resources would like to inform herring fishermen and dealers that herring spawning closure regulations which affect the capture of spawning herring in state and federal waters in the Eastern Maine Spawning Area will be in effect August 28 through September 24, 2016.

For more information, visit http://www.maine.gov/dmr/science-research/species/herring/eastme2016.htm

Marine Patrol Responds to Boat on Fire near Wood Island

July 5, 2016 – At approximately 7:40 a.m. today, the Maine Marine Patrol responded to a report of a boat on fire near Wood Island off the coast of Saco.

Officers Adam Madore and Tyler Sirois arrived on scene at 7:50 and transferred Timothy Lenz of Westport Island to their vessel. Mr. Lenz had transferred into his skiff after his 31 foot motor boat caught fire and was then picked up by a nearby boater.

The vessel was fully engulfed when Marine Patrol arrived and was eventually extinguished by local Fire Department personnel. Marine Patrol transported Mr. Lenz to Camp Ellis where he was evaluated and released by local EMS.

Marine Patrol reports that Mr. Lenz’s boat sank as a result of the fire. No plans have been reported yet to recover the vessel.

Elaine Jones Receives Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment Visionary Award

Elaine JonesElaine Jones is presented the 2016 Visionary Award by Don Hudson of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment

June 24, 2016 - Elaine Jones, the Department of Marine Resources’ Director of Education has received the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment’s 2016 Visionary Award.

The annual award recognizes innovation, creativity, and commitment to protecting the marine environment. Recipients may work in the fields of environmental science, education, conservation or policy. They may be engaged in projects that involve public awareness, grassroots action, or business/manufacturing practices.

Jones was presented the award during the organization’s annual meeting on June 7th in Fredericton New Brunswick.

Jones, who has led the Maine Department of Marine Resources Education Division since 1991, was recognized for her work developing programs for Maine students, teachers and residents, along with designing and constructing the Maine State Aquarium, which attracts about 40,000 visitors every summer.

Jones was also honored for spearheading efforts to secure Burnt Island for the Department and restoring the Burnt Island Light Station into an educational and recreational facility unequaled in New England. In 2003 she initiated a living history program on site that attracts thousands of people every summer.

The award also recognized Jones’ efforts to conduct outreach programs to schools and colleges around the State, supplying classroom aquarium systems with marine animals, working on educational programs with the Marine Patrol as “Officer SALTY”, and establishing aquarium based internships for students at the University of New England, University of Maine at Orono and University of Maine at Farmington.

“This is a well-deserved award for Elaine,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “She is a visionary leader for Maine students, educators and residents, guiding and supporting their appreciation of Maine’s marine environment.”

“I accepted the award on behalf of a lot of DMR people who have assisted me along the way. They are all unsung heroes,” said Jones.

The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment is a regional partnership among Gulf jurisdictions in the United States and Canada that works to protect and enhance environmental quality.

Marine Patrol Investigates Death of Two Kayakers - Victims Identified

June 23, 2016 - Members of Marine Patrol responded last night after being notified at 7 p.m. that a party of three was missing after leaving for a day on the water at approximately noon. One member of the party survived and was transported to Eastern Maine Medical Center.

The two deceased individuals, Edward Brackett 63 of Birch Harbor, a registered Maine guide, and Michael Popper 54 of Plainfield, New Jersey have been transported to the Medical Examiner’s office in Augusta for an autopsy.

According to the surviving member of the party, 48 year old Jennifer Popper,the trio encountered rough seas at some point during their day trip, likely caused by a passing weather front.

The waves, reportedly three to five feet high, caused all three kayaks to capsize in the approximately fifty-two degree water. After failing to return at a previously established time, the boaters were reported as overdue to United States Coast Guard authorities and Maine State Police Dispatch, which then notified the Maine Marine Patrol.

A search and rescue effort was immediately launched and involved Coast Guard vessels, a Maine Marine Patrol Protector vessel, a Coast Guard Helicopter, and area fishermen.

Responding from Marine Patrol were Sergeant Colin Macdonald, Officers Royce Eaton, Richard Derberghosian, Tom Reardon and Jeff Turcotte.

According to Marine Patrol reports, shortly after 8 p.m., Mrs. Popper was recovered by a local lobster fisherman. After being transferred to a Coast Guard vessel and transported to shore, she was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor by Lifeflight of Maine where she is recovering.

Mr. Brackett and Mr. Popper were recovered between 8:30 and 10 p.m. approximately 2 miles off shore between Cranberry Point and Petit Manan Island.

Both were unresponsive when they were recovered by local fishermen assisting in the search. They were each taken to shore and pronounced dead by local EMS personnel. Their bodies have been transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta for an autopsy.

According to Marine Patrol reports, the victims were wearing t-shirts and shorts. All members of the party were wearing life jackets. The victims and survivor were recovered approximately half way between Cranberry Point and Petit Manan Island.

The investigation into the cause of this incident is ongoing and involves the Maine Marine Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Maine Marine Patrol Focusing on Boating Under the Influence

June 22, 2016 - The Maine Marine Patrol will be on heightened alert for those violating Maine’s boating under the influence laws during the national Operation Dry Water weekend, June 24-26.

Operation Dry Water is a national awareness and enforcement campaign coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) that focuses on deterring boaters from boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“Marine Patrol Officers will be conducting patrols on Maine's coastal waters from Kittery to the Canadian border focused on boaters who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said Maine Marine Patrol Major Rene Cloutier.

“They will also be taking every opportunity possible to provide information on safe boating practices and the importance of wearing life jackets.” According to US Coast Guard statistics, 85 percent of drowning victims in 2015 were not wearing a life jacket.

Nationally, alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. According to the US Coast Guard, in 2015 alcohol use was the primary factor in nearly one-fifth of boater deaths.

Law enforcement agencies from every U.S. state and territory are expected to participate in Operation Dry Water weekend, focusing their efforts on detecting impaired boaters and educating the public about the dangers of boating under the influence.

“The decision about whether to boat under the influence is a choice,” said Major Cloutier. “Boating under the influence is a 100 percent preventable crime. The Maine Marine Patrol strongly encourages boaters to stay safe by staying sober while boating.

“Environmental stressors such as wind, noise, and the movement of the boat while on the water intensify the effects of alcohol or drug use on an individual while boating. Boaters can become impaired more quickly on the water than on land.”

In 2015, law enforcement officers from 582 local, state and federal agencies across the U.S. made 278 BUI arrests for both drugs and alcohol, issued 17,942 citations and made contact with over 125,087 boaters during the annual three-day weekend.

The Maine Marine Patrol participated in 11 Operation Drywater details in 2015. The operation involved 21 Officers. Patrols took place in the Penobscot River, the Kennebec River, Boothbay Harbor, Southport Island, Portland, Harpswell, Bar Harbor, Rockland, Matinicus Island and Castine. A total of 107 boats were checked with 329 persons on board. 30 warnings were issued for various safety equipment deficiencies.

Operation Dry Water is a boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol and drug related accidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water.

For more information on Operation Dry Water, please visit operationdrywater.org.

Small Area Added to Penobscot Closure in Response to Monitoring Program

June 21, 2016 - The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) announced today that it will add a small area to the current lobster and crab fishing closure in the mouth of the Penobscot River in response to data gathered during 2014. The area will be added through rulemaking that takes effect Tuesday, June 21, 2016 and will extend the closure’s southern boundary to between Squaw Point on Cape Jellison and Perkins Point in Castine.

In February 2014, the department closed an area in the river that extends from Wilson Point across to Fort Point and north into the river after receiving information from a federal court-ordered study, the Penobscot River Mercury Study (PRMS). The area within the 2014 closure where lobster harvesting had occurred is approximately 7 square miles out of more than 14,000 square miles in the Gulf of Maine where lobsters are harvested. The additional area adds nearly 5.5 square miles to the closure.

To confirm the methodology and results in the PRMS and to determine whether or not to change the closure boundaries, the Department conducted monitoring in 2014 and 2015 of lobster and crab in the closed area and beyond it. Results of 2015 monitoring work are not yet available but will be evaluated as soon as they are.

Data from DMR monitoring work done in 2014 are from areas inside the original closure, including Odom Ledge, South Verona, and Fort Point, and three areas outside the closure, including Cape Jellison, Turner Point, and Sears Island. All areas had been previously sampled except Cape Jellison. Results from the PRMS and 2014 DMR sampling were similar in that mercury concentrations in lobster tail and claw tissue decreased geographically from north to south.

Levels in lobsters sampled from the Cape Jellison shore, an area immediately adjacent to the closure, and the shore adjacent to Turner Point, were lower than most of the other areas sampled in 2014, yet elevated enough to warrant including in the closure.

On average, tails in 40 legal size lobsters harvested for testing during 2014 along the south eastern shore of Cape Jellison contained 292.7 nanograms (a billionth of a gram) of mercury per gram of tissue (ng/g) while claws contained much less, at 139.2 ng/g. According to the FDA, canned white tuna contains 350 ng/g of mercury.

In addition to lobsters, crabs were also included in the original closure and evaluated in the on-going monitoring work. “Despite insufficient data on crabs in the PRMS study, we wanted to include them in the initial closure as a precaution,” said Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “While the 2014 study does not show levels of concern for crabs, the closure will continue to include crabs because of enforcement challenges and to provide time to continue to analyze the data.

“We are adding this very small, targeted area to the closure so consumers can continue to be confident in the exceptional quality of Maine lobster,” said Commissioner Keliher.

The department will host a public meeting to discuss the closure at the Bucksport Area Performing Arts Center at the Bucksport Middle School at 100 Miles Lane in Bucksport on Tuesday, June 28 at 5:30 p.m.

A Frequently Asked Question document, a chart of the closure, and a copy of the report titled “Penobscot River Estuary Lobster and Rock Crab Mercury Study” can be found below.

Completion of Howland Dam Bypass Celebrated

Howland Bypass

The Howland Bypass

Commissioner Keliher

Commissioner Keliher Speaks at today's Howland Bypass celebration

Karen Talbot art

A painting of an Atlantic Salmon and an alewife by Maine artist Karen Talbot commissioned to celebrate completion of the Howland dam bypass

June 14, 2016 - Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher joined a diverse group of participants and supporters today in Howland to celebrate completion of the Howland Dam bypass on the Penobscot River.

Completion of this large stream-like channel will allow American shad, river herring, and Atlantic salmon to swim freely around the dam to and from important historic breeding, rearing, and nursery habitat for the first time in more than a century. The Howland fish bypass is the culmination of the Penobscot River Restoration Project, begun in 2004 with goal of restoring severely depleted native sea-run fisheries of the Penobscot River system while maintaining hydropower generation in the watershed.

The Howland bypass will significantly improving access to nearly 1,000 miles of Maine’s largest river for eleven species of native sea-run fish.

"Construction of the Howland bypass is another milestone in efforts to restore Maine’s native sea-run fisheries in the Penobscot River,” said Commissioner Keliher. “Passage of anadromous fish species is critical to the health of our state’s marine and freshwater ecosystems. This project will not only provide access to hundreds of miles of critical habitat to Maine’s native sea-run fish, it will ensure continued opportunity for renewable power generation on the Penobscot River."

Seasonal Officer Joins Marine Patrol for Busy Summer Months

Tyler Sirois

Seasonal Marine Patrol Officer Tyler Sirois pictured with Sergeant Tom Hale (left) and Major Rene Cloutier (right)

June 9, 2016 - Tyler Sirois of Lewiston has joined the Maine Marine Patrol as a seasonal Officer. Officer Sirois, who is currently enrolled in the Conservation Law program at Unity College, has completed the Maine Criminal Justice Academy's Law Enforcement Pre-Service Training Program. He will be conducting recreational boating and fishing as well as commercial harvester patrols in York County throughout the summer months

Governor LePage Sends Letter of Support for Maine Lobster to European Union

June 9, 2016 - Governor Paul R. LePage today released a letter to Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director General for Environment of the European Commission, strongly encouraging the EU to deny the Swedish government’s attempt to have American Lobster listed as an invasive species.

Governor LePage reiterated a major point included in a response to a Swedish government risk assessment by a team of biologists from Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Virginia. “The risk of establishment is minimal, and a prohibition on import is not the appropriate measure of response at this time,” wrote Governor LePage.

His letter also highlighted weaknesses in the Swedish government’s risk assessment submitted to the European Union earlier this year. “The risk assessment study provides inadequate scientific basis for the petition and as such it should be denied,” wrote Governor LePage.

The Governor acknowledged the European Union’s interest in addressing risks to its marine resource, and stressed Maine’s shared commitment. “Like the EU, we take the risk of any possible ecological threats to our fisheries very seriously and fully appreciate that the European Union is seeking to protect the health of its own marine resources.”

Governor LePage underscored the need for solutions that will allow the continuation of trade that benefits the US, Canada and the EU. “Consumers are seeking a premium live product from Maine and North America,” wrote Governor LePage. “The US and Canada have developed a fishery that can provide this to Europe in a timely manner. Appropriate traceability and accountability within the supply chain can maximize benefits and minimize risk to EU importers, consumers and the environment.”

Maine Elver Harvesters Net Third Highest Overall Value in the History of the Fishery

June 8, 2016 - With Maine’s 2016 elver season concluding yesterday at noon, the 982 harvesters who fished this season netted $13,388,040, which is the third highest value in the history of the fishery according to preliminary landings data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Maine DMR data indicates that the total was nearly $2 million more than was earned last season by the 920 active harvesters. While the average value this season was $1,435 per pound compared with $2,171 last season, it was the fourth highest on record.

Preliminary landings data indicates that harvesters caught 9,330 pounds of the 9,688 total statewide quota compared with 5,259 pounds harvested last season. According to DMR data, 285 harvesters reached their individual quota in 2016 compared to 104 in 2015.

“Law changes put in place for this season, including the elimination of the weekly 48-hour closure and the extension of the season by a week, have resulted in much better opportunity for Maine’s elver harvesters,” said Marine DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

“Our success using the swipe card and quota systems to manage this fishery gave us the confidence to eliminate those restrictions and provide Maine harvesters a better chance to land their full quota.

“The swipe card and quota systems, which were implemented in 2014, also continue to provide reliable tools to prevent illegal trafficking,” said Commissioner Keliher. “This season there were only 7 violations related to illegal elver possession, which is a dramatic decline from the 219 recorded in 2013 before the new management system was implemented.

“With this innovative approach to management, Maine has proven its ability to strike a balance between protecting the resource and providing opportunity for Maine fishermen.”

Elvers Reported Through 6 P.M. 6/7/2016

DMR

  • Pound Reported - 7,198.98
  • Overall Quota - 7,566.3
  • Remaining Quota - 367.32

MALISEET

  • Pound Reported - 71.96
  • Overall Quota - 106.6
  • Remaining Quota - 34.64

MICMAC

  • Pound Reported - 35.77
  • Overall Quota - 38.8
  • Remaining Quota - 3.03

PASSAMAQUODDY

  • Pound Reported - 1,427.98
  • Overall Quota - 1,356.3
  • Remaining Quota - -71.68

PENOBSCOT

  • Pound Reported - 595.99
  • Overall Quota - 620.0
  • Remaining Quota - 24.01

QUOTA TOTAL*

  • Pound Reported - 9,330.68
  • Overall Quota - 9,688
  • Remaining Quota - 357.32

*All 2016 data are extremely preliminary and subject to change without notice.

Dealers reported buying a total of 9,320.68 pounds with a reported value of $13,388,040 for average price per pound of $1,435

Body of Fourteen Year Old Boy Recovered from Presumpscot River

June 3, 2016 - The body of fourteen year old Mohammed al Ammar of Portland was recovered this morning at 9:20 am in the Presumpscot River near Allen Avenue Bridge in Falmouth. A search led by the Maine Marine Patrol began yesterday at approximately 6:50 p.m. involving members of the Falmouth Police and Fire Departments, the Maine Warden Service and the State Police/Marine Patrol dive Team.

According to eye witness reports al Ammar, who was not wearing a life jacket, was paddling a kayak in the Presumpscot River above the Allen Avenue Bridge Thursday when his kayak capsized at approximately 6:30 p.m. Another boy with him in the tandem kayak was wearing a life jacket and made it to shore.

The search continued Thursday evening until 11 p.m. and resumed this morning with a shoreline search starting at approximately 4:30 a.m. Dive team members assisted by the Maine Warden Service using a remotely operated submersible camera resumed the search at approximately 8 a.m. and located his body in 16 feet of water near the bridge.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of Mohammed,” said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish. “Events like this are tragic reminders of the importance of wearing a life jacket on Maine’s coastal and inland water ways.”

Maine Department of Marine Resources Announces Lobster Research and Education Awards

May 23, 2016 - The Maine Department of Marine Resources has announced four grant awards from the Research, Education and Development fund. The four organizations receiving funding include the Penobscot East Resource Center, the Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance, University of Maine System, and Colby College. Each responded to a request for proposal issued in December 2015.

The Penobscot East Resource Center (PERC) will receive $37,500 to develop four lobster curriculum units for its Eastern Maine Skippers Program (ESMP), an educational initiative for high school students planning a career in Maine’s lobster fishing industry. Two units will cover lobster fisheries management and two will target science and life history. PERC, a Deer Isle-based non-profit, will engage industry experts including fishermen, dealers, advocates, managers and scientists in the development and implementation of the curriculum units.

The Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance will be awarded $37,500 to build on the success of its Maine Lobstermen’s Leadership Institute (MLLI). Begun in 2014, the MLLI provides education for Maine’s lobster industry members. Participants in the MLLI program will complete three training modules. They will include a workshop on industry issues such as management, science, market and supply chain dynamics, and product quality. There will also be modules that provide opportunities for experiential learning and information exchange with fisheries participants outside of Maine.

The University of Maine System will receive $127,482 to develop a research project titled “A Proactive Approach to Addressing Lobster Health in the Context of a Changing Ecosystem.” Focus of the University of Maine System’s project will be on the changing ocean ecosystem and how these changes can impact lobster reproductive development and susceptibility to disease. An objective of the project is to develop the ability to respond rapidly to reports of shell disease in lobsters.

Colby College will receive $81,657 to conduct an analysis of economic impacts at each point along the supply chain in Maine’s lobster industry. The analysis will not only quantify the direct and indirect economic impacts of the industry throughout the supply chain, but also the induced effects on Maine’s economy of spending by industry workers. Project research will involve confidential surveys of Maine’s lobster dealers and processors as well as analysis of existing Maine Department of Marine Resources and Department of Labor data.

“These projects will help sustain Maine’s iconic lobster fishery by fostering a new generation of educated and engaged fishermen, by improving our understanding of the complex marine environment, and by refining our ability to measure the impacts of the lobster industry on Maine’s economy,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

With revenues from the sale of Maine lobster plates, the Research Education and Development Board provides funding for projects that support Maine’s lobster industry.

Contact information for each proposal is as follows:

Penobscot East Resource Center: Robin Alden, 207-367-2708, robin@penobscoteast.org

Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance: Patrice McCarron, 207-967-6221, patrice@mainelobstermen.org

University of Maine System: Deborah Bouchard, 207-581-2767, deborah.bouchard@maine.edu

Colby College: Michael Donihue, 207-859-5232, michael.donihue@colby.edu

New Marine Patrol Officers to Join the Ranks

New Marine Patrol Officers

May 20, 2016 - Two new Marine Patrol Officers have joined the ranks after graduating today from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s 18-week Basic Law Enforcement Training Program. After today’s graduation ceremony, Marine Patrol Officer Kenneth Conley (pictured second from left) and Marine Patrol Officer Michael Hendry (second from right) were sworn in by Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher (right). Colonel Jonathan Cornish (left) spoke prior to the swearing in ceremony offering words of encouragement and congratulations. After an additional 45-day Marine Patrol field training program, Officer Conley will begin serving in the Kittery Patrol while Officer Hendry will be serving in the Lubec patrol.

Maine Marine Patrol Urges Safety Heading into Recreational Boating Season

May 20, 2016 - May 21 to 27 is National Safe Boating Week, and the Maine Marine Patrol wants to remind recreational boaters to stay safe while enjoying Maine’s waters.

“This summer, thousands of boaters will spend time with friends and family on Maine’s coastal waters, rivers and lakes,” said Maine Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish. “As we near Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the boating season, we want to remind people about safe boating practices.”

In Maine, all children 10 and under must wear a life jacket. Adults don’t have to wear them but they must be available on board for every occupant. "Life jackets do save lives,” said Colonel Cornish. “If you end up in the water unconscious for some reason, a properly-fitting life jacket will keep you afloat, which is especially important this time of the year when the water is still very cold. Life jackets should be looked over to make sure they are serviceable and have no rips, tears, broken straps or snaps that could make them ineffective.

“Before your first day on the water, go over your vessel and make sure you have proper safety equipment on your boat,” said Colonel Cornish. “In addition to life jackets, safe boaters should have working navigation lights, visual distress signals, sound signalling devices, VHF radio, cell phone, proper ventilation, and properly displayed registration numbers. A thorough check of fire extinguishers and flares should be done to make sure they’re in working order.

“It’s also a good time to take a boating safety course,” said Colonel Cornish. “The US Power Squadrons, a non-profit, educational organization that offers classes in seamanship, navigation and related subjects, and the Coast Guard Auxiliary both offer excellent public boating courses.”

Boaters should also be sure to file a float plan with a friend or relative. “It’s important to let someone know where you are going and your approximate time of return,” said Colonel Cornish. “Always make sure you check the local marine forecast before heading out on Maine’s coastal waters.

Another important safety issue to consider is drinking and boating. According to the most recent Coast Guard statistics, alcohol was the leading contributing factor in deadly boating accidents.

“People should be aware that the Marine Patrol has zero tolerance for boating under the influence,” explained Colonel Cornish. “Alcohol use can be even more dangerous in a marine environment than on land. The motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind, and spray all accelerate and increase a drinker’s impairment. A boater becomes fatigued more quickly than a driver, which leads to a decline in the boater’s coordination, judgment, and reaction time, especially when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“Boaters under the influence are just like motorists under the influence – and we are going to prosecute those people who make the waters unsafe for the rest of us,” stated Colonel Cornish.

“The Marine Patrol will be working throughout the coming months to make sure boaters stay safe on Maine’s coastal waters.”

For more information on recreational boating safety, visit the Maine Department of Marine Resources website at http://www.maine.gov/dmr/safety/recboat.htm.

Maine Marine Patrol Receives Prestigious National Accreditation

May 19, 2016 - The Maine Marine Patrol has earned accreditation from the leading national safety organization for boat operations and training. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) recently recognized the Marine Patrol for complying with its national standard of readiness for law enforcement and emergency response boat crews in the United States.

The Maine Marine Patrol became the thirteenth organization in the country to implement this standard in all aspects of their operations and training.

“This is a prestigious accreditation that recognizes the Maine Marine Patrol’s commitment to the highest standards of operation,” said Colonel Jon Cornish.

The Boat Operations and Training (BOAT) Program, established by NASBLA, is recognized by the US Coast Guard as the national standard for training and boat operation. “Agencies that choose to adopt this standard assure their ability to conduct missions on the nation’s waterways safely and effectively, and to operate seamlessly with federal, state, county, tribal and local maritime partners,” said Colonel Cornish.

Areas evaluated included training, documentation, safety and first aid, knowledge of knots and terminology, common crew tasks on large and small vessels, use of police and VHF radio, navigation, and operation of the Protector class patrol vessel, an extremely maneuverable rigid hull inflatable boat often used in search and rescue operations.

“I’m extremely proud of our Officers, Sergeants and Lieutenants for their adherence to this nationally recognized standard of operation,” said Colonel Cornish. “Coordinated by Sergeant Matt Talbot, the evaluation process to achieve this certification was extremely thorough. I appreciate Sergeant Talbot’s dedication to ensure that the Maine Marine Patrol achieved this important certification.”

“The citizens of Maine and of this country can be assured that this agency and its officers are true force multipliers and capable of inter-agency operations within our maritime homeland security and recreational boating safety framework,” said Mark R. Dupont, NASBLA’s Director of Boat Operations and Training.

Seal Pup Season Reminder

April 6, 2016 - This is seal pup season and the DMR and Maine Marine Patrol would like to remind people that any stranded marine animal should be left alone. It is against federal law to handle a marine mammal without proper authorization. It is not unusual for a seal pup to be left alone by its mother for up to 24 hours. To report any stranded marine mammal, or if a seal appears to be abandoned, appears on a crowded beach, or show signs of illness or injury, notify the Marine Marine Animal Reporting Hotline at 1-800-532-9551. By following directions at that number, your call will be directed to the appropriate responder.

Law Change Affects Eligibility Criteria for Maine Students Who Want to Start Lobstering

April 8, 2016 - A recent law change has made it easier for Maine students who have their sights set on a career in lobstering to get started.

LD 1503, signed into law by Governor Paul R. LePage on April 5, has extended the age by which young Mainers have to fulfill requirements necessary to bypass the waiting lists of Maine’s six limited entry lobster management zones.

Previously, student license holders had to fulfill requirements of the Apprentice Program and any apprentice rules adopted by the management zone of their choice before they reached 18 to avoid being placed on a waiting list for a commercial license.

The Apprentice Program requires the completion of 1,000 fishing hours over a minimum of 200 days stretched out over a minimum of two years. “Previously, the only way for a young person to avoid the waiting list is to begin the apprenticeship program by the age of 15,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “Kids who have to focus so much time and effort on this program often forego other important pursuits like sports or extra curricular activities in order to get their apprentice time in.”

The new law provides two additional options for young aspiring lobstermen. One option will allow individuals to bypass the waiting list in a declared zone if they have met the Apprentice Program requirements, received a high school or equivalency diploma, and met additional apprentice program rules of the zone in which they want to fish before the age of 20.

The other option will extend the eligible age for bypassing a wait list to under the age of 23. This option requires the license holder to have begun fishing in the Apprentice Program before the age of 18 and have completed it before the age of 23. Additionally, license holders must have been eligible for a student license since before they were 18, they must be enrolled at least half time at an accredited post-secondary institution, and have met additional apprentice program rules of the zone in which they want to fish.

“This new law change will provide more opportunity for young aspiring lobster harvesters to develop personally and professionally as they pursue a career in Maine’s lobster industry,” said Commissioner Keliher. “This will not only provide a more reasonable timeframe for young people to get into the fishery, it will benefit the industry as entrants will bring a well-rounded perspective into the profession.”

Individuals who believe they have fulfilled the new requirements and are interested in applying for a commercial license are directed by the Department of Marine Resources to visit their website for detailed instructions on the application process.

Family-Owned Wharf in Tenants Harbor Receives Working Waterfront Protection, Provides Commercial Fishing Access

The Miller family

The Millers

April 8, 2016 - A significant property in Tenants Harbor was today added to the growing list of commercial waterfront properties protected by Maine’s Working Waterfront Access Protection Program, part of Land for Maine’s Future Program. Millers’ Wharf is nestled at the head of Tenants Harbor and owned by four brothers, all of whom are commercial fishermen. The wharf currently serves lobstermen, scallopers, urchin boats and seaweed harvesters. Over the years, landings have included shrimp and ground fish.

With the ink not yet dry on the working waterfront covenant, Hale Miller, who spearheaded the effort to secure the Working Waterfront protection on behalf of his brothers, had returned to his shop where he was readying his seaweed harvester for launching. “With the working waterfront funds, my brothers and I can now be assured that this property will be kept as commercial working waterfront for fishermen in the community as well as generations of Millers who want to continue in the commercial fishing business,” said Miller. “My parents worked hard to keep this property as a working waterfront, now, despite increased pressure along the coast from developers, this property will continue to provide access for commercial fishermen for generations.” Four generations of Millers have fished from the wharf. Since the four brothers inherited the property from their parents in 2002, they have undertaken considerable improvements to the wharf including dredging to provide access for loading bait and unloading catch regardless of tide and the addition of four hydraulic hoists to increase efficiencies. Millers’ Wharf currently supports over 100 people engaged in commercial fishing activities including lobstermen and sternmen, urchin divers and student license holders.

“Fishing is a big part of the community in this area,” said Victor Cole who fishes off the wharf. “I’ve fished off quite a few wharves over the years and this is one of the best maintained wharves I’ve seen. The fact that it will be here for future commercial use is significant – much of the economy on the peninsula is tied to commercial fishing and that can’t happen without access.” In exchange for the working waterfront covenant, which ensures the wharf owners cannot develop or use the property for anything other than commercial working waterfront activities, the state will pay $250,000, an amount determined by a standardized working waterfront property appraisal. “Those funds will allow us to increase the operating efficiency of the business on the wharf,” said Miller. “That will bring the operating costs down which will benefit all the fishermen who use the wharf,” Miller noted.

The Working Waterfront Access Protection program is administered by Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), which provides technical assistance to owners of commercial fishing access properties applying to the Working Waterfront Access Protection Program. “We have worked with the Miller family for over a decade on a variety of projects,” said Dick Clime, Project Developer for CEI. “Having Millers’ wharf preserved as working waterfront is a significant win for this small fishing community. It’s these communities that, when you string them together, make up Maine’s coastal economy and create thousands of jobs.”

The Department of Marine Resources administers the program for the state. “I’ve come to know and admire this family during my time as Commissioner. Their commitment to maintaining this property for commercial access is just another testament to their dedication to this critically important industry,” said Patrick Keliher, DMR Commissioner and Chair of the Land for Maine’s Future Board.

With 25 projects in the program, the protected commercial fishing properties total more than 42 acres and occupy almost 1.5 miles of Maine shorefront. Cumulatively the properties service 940 boats, 1680 fishermen, and provide economic support for at least 1,730 families. Nearly 21.4 million pounds of seafood are landed at the properties annually and are worth about $49.2 million dockside. “Protecting the working waterfront is critical to our state and coastal economies,” said Josh Miller, a third generation Miller who also is chair of the Lobster Advisory Council. “I learned to fish from my grandfather and my father off this wharf, and now I’m teaching my two young girls the trade. It’s reassuring to know this wharf will always remain an active fishing wharf not only for my girls, but for the community as a whole.”

Maine Marine Patrol Arrest Gardiner Man for Illegal Possession of Elvers

Dana Wayne Holmes

Dana Wayne-Holmes

April 7, 2016 - The Maine Marine Patrol arrested Dana Wayne-Holmes, 61 of Gardiner on Satuday April 2 for illegal possession of elvers. Illegal possession of elvers is a criminal offense and is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2000 fine.

Holmes was arrested in Waldoboro after an investigation by the Marine Patrol revealed that he was attempting to purchase and sell elvers without a license. Holmes held an elver dealer license in 2015, however he does not hold a current dealer license.

Also charged in the investigation was licensed harvester Irving Banks, 47 of Jefferson. Banks was charged with exceeding his individual elver quota, also a Class D crime punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2000 fine. In addition to fines and jail time, Banks faces possible one-year administrative suspension of his current license while Holmes faces possible one-year suspension of his right to obtain a dealer license in the future.

“It is a privilege to have an elver license in Maine,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner. “This is one of the most lucrative fisheries we have, and one that has required a great deal of work by the Maine DMR and law abiding members of industry to sustain and manage. I will use the full extent of my authority to investigate and bring to justice anyone who violates laws that help us protect this valuable fishery.”

The Marine Patrol investigation involved eight Marine Patrol Officers including Lieutenant Jay Carroll, Sergeant Russell Wright, Sergeant Rob Beal, Sergeant Matt Talbot, Specialist Matt Sinclair, Officer Brian Brodie, Officer Jon Luellen, and Officer Chris Hilton. The Marine Patrol seized thirteen and half pounds of elvers from Holmes worth an estimated value of more than $18,000 based on per pound value at the time of the violation.

Maine Marine Patrol Recognized with Joint Resolution of the Legislature for Rescue and Lifesaving Actions

Marine Patrol Personnel gather prior to receiving recognition from the Maine Legislature.

April 1, 2016 -Seven Maine Marine Patrol Officers were recognized yesterday by the Maine Legislature for saving a life while on duty. Both House and Senate passed the Joint Resolution honoring them for the importance of their profession, the knowledge and skill their job demands, and for putting their own lives at risk to save the lives of others.

Marine Patrol personnel honored included Sergeant Russell Wright of Lubec, Officer Brian Brodie of Lubec, Specialist Mark Murry of Marshfield, Officer Wesley Dean of Warren, Officer Brian Tolman of West Rockport, Specialist Corrie Roberts of Lincolnville, and former Officer Benjamin Burnes of Wells. Each has also received or will receive a Marine Patrol Lifesaving Award for their actions.

In 2000 Specialist Murry rescued a sea kayaker who capsized in 10 to 20 foot seas and spent 15 hours clinging to a navigational buoy. In 2012, Sergeant Russell Wright, then a Specialist, saved the man whose canoe had capsized on Whiting Bay. In 2014, Officer Dean saved the life of an 18-month old baby who was choking by performing the Heimlich maneuver.

In 2015, Sergeant Wright and Officer Brodie saved the lives of two urchin fishermen in separate incidents two months apart. In the first, they rescued a fisherman whose skiff had overturned in the turbulent and frigid waters of the Lubec Narrows. In the second, they rescued two fishermen whose boat had overturned, leaving them clinging to a ledge near Cutler.

In July 2015, former Marine Patrol Officer Benjamin Burnes rescued a man who was near drowning as he tried to swim ashore in swift current of the York River after his boat capsized. In August 2015, Specialist Corrie Roberts and Officer Brian Tolman performed first aid on a man with a life threatening laceration.

"It is my honor to be able to recognize the fine men and women of the Marine Patrol,” said Representative Walter Kumiega of Deer Isle, the lead sponsor for the resolution. “The lifesaving and rescue actions that we cited in the Joint Resolution are examples of the important work that Marine Patrol does every day. Their professionalism and dedication is remarkable."

“Each of the honorees has shown the instinct to react when needed, and the training to perform extraordinary feats of skill and courage in often difficult and dangerous circumstances,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “This is an honor that recognizes how indispensable the Maine Marine Patrol is for the safety of Maine’s coastal communities.”

“I’m extremely proud of these Officers,” said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish. “Each one of them has given someone the gift of life through their actions. While every day they protect and preserve a half billion dollar industry, the lives they have saved are priceless.”

Law Changes for 2016 Maine Elver Season Improve Opportunity for Harvesters

March 15, 2016 - A recently passed bill will improve Maine elver harvesters’ chances of landing all of the state’s 9,688 pounds of quota. The changes come just in time for the 2016 elver season, which starts on March 22, 2016.

“Last year Maine left over 4,400 pounds of quota in the water,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “That represents more than $9,600,000 in potential income that Maine harvesters could not access.

“While a cold, dry spring in 2015 made it hard for harvesters, in-season closures and the length of the season compounded that problem. This year the management improvements we have put in place will allow us to provide more flexibility and better opportunity for Maine elver harvesters.”

One provision within the law will eliminate the 48-hour closures each week while another will lengthen the season by a week.

“The 48-hour closures were established at a time when there was no limit on the amount harvesters could land,” said Commissioner Keliher. “Because this is now a quota based fishery, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s technical committee and eel management board voted unanimously to allow Maine to eliminate in-season closures.”

“Now, with the quota system and the ability to monitor the harvest in near real-time with swipe cards, both of which we implemented in 2014, we can manage this fishery with precision. That means better prospects for fishermen and better protection for the resource.”

The new law will also provide an additional week of harvesting opportunity. Previously the season went from March 22 to May 31. This year it will last until June 7. “Last year, migration started late because of the cold spring, so there were elvers running strong at the end of the season. But unfortunately we had to close it on the statutorily mandated date. The combined success of our quota and swipe card systems allows us to extend the season a week and provide more opportunity for fishermen,” said Commissioner Keliher.

This season harvesters will also have an opportunity to choose their gear type rather than continue to use the type they were previously authorized to fish. “While the law will not allow harvesters to choose more gear than they are currently authorized to use, we want to provide people with the flexibility to fish the gear type they prefer.”

The new law also authorizes Commissioner Keliher to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with Maine’s tribes if they request a waiver of the requirement to allocate individual fishing quotas. The agreement would allow tribal members to fish under an overall tribal quota, rather than an individual quota. “This compromise acknowledges the unique interests of the tribes while maintaining the important measures that have allowed Maine to protect and preserve this valuable fishery for all license holders.”

Andy Mays Honored with Maine DMR Award of Excellence

Andy Mays

Andy Mays (right) receives the first annual Maine DMR Award of Excellence.

March 14, 2016 - Andy Mays a scalloper and lobster fisherman from Southwest Harbor has received the first annual Maine Department of Marine Resources Award of Excellence. The award, presented by DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher during the Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport, recognizes industry members who participate with the Department to ensure a sustainable future for Maine’s commercial fisheries. Mays was honored for his long-term service on DMR advisory councils. “Through his work on DMR advisory councils over the years, Andy has set an exemplary standard of engagement and active participation for industry," said Commissioner Keliher. "As Commissioner I have come to rely on Andy for his informed, colorfully blunt and straightforward opinions and ideas. His advice and input is always a welcome and valuable contribution to the fisheries management process. There is no one more deserving of this first annual award.”

New Approach to Scallop Monitoring Results in Re-Opened Fishing Grounds

March 9, 2016 - A new approach to scallop monitoring in Maine state waters has led to changes in scallop abundance estimates that will result in the reopening of three important fishing grounds this season.

The areas opening are Inner Machias Rotational Area, Wahoa/Jonesport Reach and Gouldsboro Bay and Dyers Bay, which were closed through emergency rulemaking by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on December 13, 2015. The Department will open the areas the week of March 14 by allowing the emergency regulation to lapse.

“The Maine scallop fishery has seen significant advances in both science and management in recent years,” said Maine DMR Science Bureau Director Carl Wilson. “In 2012 the DMR, working closely with industry, implemented rotational management and targeted in-season closures. These new management tools were developed to continue rebuilding the resource in areas that had been closed for three years, while supporting a sustainable fishery.”

Under the new management strategy, pre-season dredge surveys were used by the DMR to estimate abundance and harvestable biomass in areas likely to be subject to heavy harvesting pressure. DMR staff uses estimates of scallop biomass removed from these areas based on port sampling, sea sampling, and industry feedback to make decisions about timing of in-season closures. Closures occur when 30%-40% of the harvestable biomass in an area has been removed.

To further improve understanding of the scallop resource and the impacts of the fishery, the Department piloted in-season dredge surveys in Cobscook Bay during the 2014-15 fishing season. Results from the 2014-15 in-season surveys allowed Cobscook Bay to remain open two weeks longer than the pre-season survey originally supported. “This is a valuable tool that we are using to validate our initial projections,” said Wilson.

During the current 2015-16 season, in-season surveys have been used in Cobscook Bay as well as Machias Bay, Gouldsboro Bay and western Vinalhaven. After comparing results of the pre and in-season surveys, DMR scientists found discrepancies that needed further investigation to fine-tune biomass estimates and projections.

As a result of this indepth analysis, Department scientists determined that there remains approximately 13,500 pounds in the Inner Machias Rotational Area and 4,500 pounds in Gouldsboro Bay to be harvested.

Corrected projections of harvestable biomass and in-season surveys both revealed that less than the targeted 30% of the harvestable biomass had been removed from these areas, both of which were closed by emergency action in December 2015. As a result, these areas along with Wahoa/Jonesport Reach and Dyers Bay will temporarily re-open to fishing the week of March 14.

“The in-season surveys allow DMR scientists to better evaluate pre-season estimates and to more effectively assess the scallop resource in specific areas,” said Wilson. “This in turn enhances the timeliness and precision of management decisions. This season, the additional analysis has provided Maine scallop harvesters with late season fishing opportunity.”

Marine Patrol Officer Jeff Turcotte Receives Maine Lobstermen's Association Marine Patrol Officer of the Year Award

Jeff Turcotte

Marine Patrol Officer Jeff Turcotte receives the 2016 MLA Officer of the Year Award

March 6, 2016 - Marine Patrol Officer Jeff Turcotte, who serves in the Southwest Harbor Patrol, receives the 2016 Maine Lobstermen’s Association Maine Patrol Officer of the Year Award. The award, presented Saturday night at the Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport, is an annual recognition of Marine Patrol Officers who provide outstanding service in support of the Maine lobster industry. Pictured with MPO Turcotte is MLA Board President David Cousens (left), MLA Executive Director Patrice McCarron (2nd from left) and Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish (right).

Maine’s 2015 Commercial Marine Resources Top $600 Million for the First Time

March 3, 2016 - Maine’s commercially harvested marine resources topped $600 million in overall value in 2015, according to preliminary data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources. The total, $631,768,531, reflects an all-time high and an increase of more than $33 million over the previous record set in 2014.

The largest single increase in value was in Maine’s lobster fishery. The fishery saw the overall landed value jump by more than $37 million and the average per pound value increase by more than 10 percent, going from $3.70 per pound in 2014 to $4.09 per pound in 2015.

The overall value of Maine’s lobster fishery was again by far the highest at $495,433,635. When factoring in bonuses paid to harvesters as reported by 11 of Maine’s 19 lobster co-ops, the overall landed value of Maine’s lobster fishery reached $510,680,048.

2015 marked the fourth year in a row and the fourth year ever in which Maine lobster harvesters landed over 120 million pounds, with landings totaling 121,083,418 pounds. “Maine’s lobster fishery continues to be a major engine for our coastal economy,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher.

“This past year saw a continuation of steady and historic lobster landings throughout the season. The increase in value reflects growing demand for Maine lobster.

“While this year’s value and landings are great news for our coastal economy, we also recognize that lobster represents more than 81 percent of the overall value of our commercial fisheries,” said Commissioner Keliher. “It shows that we all must be working hard to build and sustain our commercial fisheries and to create more diverse opportunity, be it with traditional commercial fisheries or an expanding the role of aquaculture. This work is critical to ensure we can adapt to changes in landings and value in future years."

Maine’s softshell clam industry retained its second place standing in overall value at $22,536,086, a record for the fishery. The jump in value came on the strength of a 47 cent per pound increase over 2014. At $2.46 per pound, 2015 landings netted harvesters a 23 percent increase in per pound value over 2014 despite a drop in landings of one million pounds.

At $2,171 per pound, Maine’s elver fishery was by-far the most lucrative of Maine’s commercial fisheries on a per pound basis. Despite a season in which landings were well below the state quota due to a cold, dry spring that slowed elver migration and challenged harvesting, overall value increased by nearly $3 million. At $11,422,381, the elver fishery was Maine’s fourth most lucrative behind herring at $13 million.

DMR officials consider 2015 a continuation of the successful rebuilding effort for Maine’s scallop fishery despite a decline in value and meat pounds landed. “We expected 2015 to be lean in terms of landings,” said Commissioner Keliher. “But considering that Maine scallop harvesters landed more than ten times the amount harvested in 2005, this fishery is on the right track.”

Maine’s DMR to Issue Third Round of Federal Disaster Relief Funds for Groundfishermen

March 1, 2016 - The Maine Department of Marine Resources will soon be issuing the third and final payment to thirty-two Maine-homeported commercial Northeast Multispecies (groundfish) permit holders who are eligible to receive direct assistance under federal disaster relief funding. To be eligible, Maine-homeported groundfish permit holders must have landings of over 5000 pounds in any one Fishing Year from 2010-2013. In addition, permit holders must have landed a minimum of 5000 pounds of groundfish in either Fishing Year 2013 or 2014. “The intent of these criteria is to focus disaster relief efforts on permit holders who have historical dependence on groundfish and have had continued reliance on the groundfish fishery during the disaster years,” said Maine DMR Deputy Commissioner Meredith Mendelson. “We know that Maine’s groundfish industry has seen declines in many years preceding this disaster declaration. However, the Secretary of Commerce’s declaration was made based on what were, at the time, prospective revenue losses from the major reduction in Gulf of Maine cod quota available for the 2013 fishing year. Accordingly, our allocation of relief funds reflects the impact of that specific reduction.” The amounts allocated to eligible permit holders were based on a formula developed by the Maine Department of Marine Resources after several outreach meetings with industry. Amounts issued will reflect landings in Fishing Years 2013 and 2014 individually and combined. Awards under this formula will range from approximately $9,100 to $44,044. The funds are a portion of the $3.3 million allocated to Maine from the $75 million allocated by U.S. Congress to help with six fishery disasters, including the disaster declared in 2012 by the Secretary of Commerce as a result of significant quota cuts for key New England groundfish stocks. Of the $75 million, $32.8 million was allocated to the Northeast groundfish industry. The allocation of those funds was negotiated among the state fisheries agency directors and announced in June, 2014. The agreement split the $32.8 million evenly, allocating a third of the funds to each of three areas. $11 million was paid out as direct aid to permit holders in the northeast who have landed a minimum of 5000 pounds of groundfish stocks in any one fishing year since 2010. In October, 2014, fifty-two of Maine’s federal groundfish permit holders received $32,500 each. In 2015, the DMR distributed $640,005 to help Maine’s groundfish fleet and related shoreside industries by rebating dealer landings and handling fees.

Maine Operation Game Thief Offers $11,000 Reward for Information on Major Lobster Trap Molesting Case

February 26, 2016 - Maine Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of $11,000 for information that helps authorities bring the person or people responsible for a major lobster trap molesting case near Jeffrey’s Ledge to justice.

A Maine Marine Patrol investigation, which began Monday, February 22, 2016, revealed that approximately 200 lobster traps had been hauled by someone other than the license holders, the lobsters stolen, and the traps lowered to the bottom, some of which were not retrievable.

Jeffrey’s Ledge is located in the western Gulf of Maine located approximately 30 miles off the New Hampshire coast.

Maine Operation Game Thief (Maine OGT) is a private, non-profit organization that works with the Department of Marine Resources, Maine Marine Patrol, Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, Maine Warden Service, and Wildlife Crime Stoppers to pay rewards to citizens who provide information that helps bring violators of Maine’s game and commercial fishing laws to justice.

“The OGT program is committed to helping maintain our state’s valuable game and commercial fishing resources,” said OGT Chair Greg Sirpis. “Maine’s lobster industry works hard to protect and sustain this important resource and to have people undermine our state’s proud heritage of hard work and conservation is unacceptable and we will support efforts to bring whoever did this to justice,”

“This is an extremely serious violation involving multiple victims, and we would appreciate any help from the public,” said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish. “The money for this reward comes both from the Operation Game Thief program and from lobstermen committed to bringing this person or people to justice. I’m grateful for the support of OGT and these lobstermen and for their dedication to the work of the Maine Marine Patrol.”

People with information on this case are encouraged to contact Marine Patrol Sergeant Rob Beal by phone at 207-479-3931 or to call the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-ALERT-US (1-800-253-7887). February 26, 2016 - Maine Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of $11,000 for information that helps authorities bring the person or people responsible for a major lobster trap molesting case near Jeffrey’s Ledge to justice.

A Maine Marine Patrol investigation, which began Monday, February 22, 2016, revealed that approximately 200 lobster traps had been hauled by someone other than the license holders, the lobsters stolen, and the traps lowered to the bottom, some of which were not retrievable.

Jeffrey’s Ledge is located in the western Gulf of Maine located approximately 30 miles off the New Hampshire coast.

Maine Operation Game Thief (Maine OGT) is a private, non-profit organization that works with the Department of Marine Resources, Maine Marine Patrol, Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, Maine Warden Service, and Wildlife Crime Stoppers to pay rewards to citizens who provide information that helps bring violators of Maine’s game and commercial fishing laws to justice.

“The OGT program is committed to helping maintain our state’s valuable game and commercial fishing resources,” said OGT Chair Greg Sirpis. “Maine’s lobster industry works hard to protect and sustain this important resource and to have people undermine our state’s proud heritage of hard work and conservation is unacceptable and we will support efforts to bring whoever did this to justice,”

“This is an extremely serious violation involving multiple victims, and we would appreciate any help from the public,” said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish. “The money for this reward comes both from the Operation Game Thief program and from lobstermen committed to bringing this person or people to justice. I’m grateful for the support of OGT and these lobstermen and for their dedication to the work of the Maine Marine Patrol.”

People with information on this case are encouraged to contact Marine Patrol Sergeant Rob Beal by phone at 207-479-3931 or to call the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-ALERT-US (1-800-253-7887).

New Lobster Scientist Hired by Maine Department of Marine Resources

February 18, 2016 - Katherine Thompson has been hired by the Maine Department of Marine Resources as the lead lobster sampling program scientist. Thompson, a Ph.D. student in Marine Biology at the University of Maine, will be responsible for the coordination, implementation, and participation in the lobster sea sampling program in all seven-lobster management zones as well as the juvenile lobster ventless trap survey.

Thompson’s responsibilities will include supervision of DMR scientific staff and contractors who participate in the sea sampling and ventless trap survey programs.

The DMR sea sampling program places trained observers onto commercial lobster boats to gather data on the near shore lobster fishery. The ventless trap survey uses specially modified traps distributed along the coast to help the DMR characterize the juvenile lobster population in Maine waters.

Thompson will also manage the lobster research program database, oversee data entry compilation and annual summary statistics/reports for publication and will assist in writing grant reports. In addition, she will present survey results at lobster zone council meetings.

Thompson brings to the position experience both in commercial fishing and fisheries research. Raised in a fishing family in New Harbor, Thompson served as a sternman for a Round Pond lobster fisherman during summers while she pursued a degree in Biology from Smith College. The vessel she worked on participated in DMR’s ventless trap survey, providing her first experience with cooperative research. After graduating, Thompson completed an internship in lobster research through Bigelow Laboratory focusing on the settlement index survey conducted by Dr. Richard Wahle.

In 2013 Thompson received her Master’s degree in Living Marine Resource Science and Management from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology. Her Master’s thesis project provided the first conclusive evidence of semiannual scallop spawning in U.S. waters on Georges Bank, which has important implications for management of the fishery.

From 2013 to 2014, Thompson served as a Supervisory Research Biologist for Coonamessett Farm Foundation, a scientific research and education foundation based in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

In January 2015 she began her doctoral studies at the University of Maine focusing on northern shrimp reproduction and distribution.

“I’m excited about working closely with industry, especially here in my home state,” said Thompson.

“Katherine’s experience in scientific research of multiple fisheries provides a strong foundation for her work here at DMR,” said DMR’s Lead Lobster Biologist Kathleen Reardon. “She has the strong academic and practical experience in marine science and commercial fishing to help move our monitoring programs forward.”

Maine DMR Hosts Visitors from People's Republic of China for Fisheries Talk

February 1, 2016 - As part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, the Maine Department of Marine Resources hosted visitors from the People’s Republic of China’s State Oceanic Administration on Thursday, January 28, 2016. The visitors included Ms. Danhong Chen with the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration (3rd from right), Mr. Jilu Wu with the China Institute for Marine Affairs (2nd from right), and Mr. Antao Wang with the Department of International Cooperation (far right). Discussing Maine and U.S. fisheries enforcement were (left to right) U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant J.G. Pierre Spence, Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher, NOAA Supervisory Enforcement Officer Eric Provencher, U.S. Coast Guard Commander Jamie Frederick, and Maine Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish.

Emergency Regulation Supports Continued Rebuilding Effort in Maine Scallop Fishery

The Maine Department of Marine Resources today announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

Department dredge surveys along with direct industry reports indicate that harvesting activity in both areas warrants this conservation closure. “Harvesting activity in these areas has triggered these closures by removing more than thirty percent of the harvestable biomass,” said DMR Resource Management Coordinator Trisha Cheney. “We have used this trigger mechanism since 2012 as a method to ensure that a sustainable volume of biomass remains on the bottom,” said Cheney.

“Combined with the use of limited access areas, where harvesting only occurs one day a week, and rotational closures, which are similar to crop rotations, the DMR’s management approach has resulted in a steady increase in landings and value for Maine’s scallop fishery,” said Cheney.

The fishery experienced an all-time low in 2005, landing 33,141 meat pounds of scallop meats from Maine waters valued at $272,703. Working closely with the Scallop Advisory Council and members of the industry the Department has worked to rebuild this once lucrative fishery. The combination of conservation measures appears to be effective as demonstrated by 605,224 meat pounds being landed in 2014 valued at $7,665,815, an eighteen-fold increase in landings and an almost twenty eight-fold increase in value from 2005, while the fishery has experienced a significant increase in active participation in recent years.

“This season was developed with the understanding that its length far exceeds what the resource can sustain, and that the Department will need to use emergency rulemaking authority during the season to prevent overfishing,” said Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “The industry, through the Scallop Advisory Council, requested that the Department provide a season that extends into April and make adjustments in-season with emergency rulemaking as necessary rather than shorten the season.”

“The Department was willing to take this approach in part because this fishery is prosecuted in the winter months, and proposing a very limited season could create an incentive to fish in unsafe conditions,” said Commissioner Keliher.

“The Department will continue to closely monitor harvesting activity and use the trigger mechanism and emergency rulemaking to ensure that a sustainable amount of scallop biomass remains on the bottom so Maine can provide maximum opportunity and flexibility for industry while continuing to rebuild this important fishery,” said Commissioner Keliher.

Maine scallop fishery information including a link to the notice of emergency rulemaking can be found here.

Former State Trooper Andrew Foss Joins Ranks of Maine Marine Patrol

Marine Patrol Officer Andy Foss

Lubec native Andrew Foss (center) recently joined the ranks of the Maine Marine Patrol after a 10 year career with the Maine State Police. Officer Foss was recently sworn in by Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher (left). Also pictured with Officer Foss is Major Rene Cloutier (right).

January 12, 2016 - Andrew Foss, a ten year veteran of the Maine State Troopers has joined the ranks of the Maine Marine Patrol. Foss, a lifelong resident of Washington County, was sworn in by Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher in January and began serving in the Lubec Patrol of Section 6, which stretches from the Hancock Bridge to the Canadian border.

Marine Patrol Officer Foss fills a vacancy created by the promotion of Russell Wright to Sergeant of Section 3, which runs from the Kennebec River to the St. George River.

Foss began his career in law enforcement as a Police Officer in Lubec where he served from 1986 to 1987. He also served as a Washington County Sherriff’s Deputy between 2001 and 2005. In 2005, he joined the Maine State Police and served from Machias until 2015. “Officer Foss’ extensive experience in law enforcement and knowledge of the people and places in Washington County will serve him well in his career in the Marine Patrol,” said Major Rene Cloutier.

Foss also brings to the position knowledge of the working waterfront in Washington County. Between 1991 and 2005 he worked for several aquaculture operations including Maine Pride Salmon, Treats Island Fisheries and Atlantic Salmon of Maine. His duties included site work, boat operation, scuba diving, and operation of computerized feeding systems. “Officer Foss’ experience on the water, operating boats and dealing with a commercial operation gives him unique insight into the challenges and opportunities of the working waterfront in downeast Maine,” said Major Cloutier.

“I like working on the ocean and I feel lucky to have been hired by the Marine Patrol,” said Officer Foss. “Working in Lubec is like going back home. I probably know 80 percent of the local fishermen and I look forward to getting to know fishermen in the area better.”

The Maine Marine Patrol is a bureau of the Maine Department of Marine Resources and provides law enforcement, search and rescue, public health, and maritime security on Maine's coastal and tidal waters.

Northern Shrimp Test Tows & Traps for 2016 Samples

Purpose

Vessels and captains have been selected from qualified applicants to collect northern shrimp samples during the winter period when the shrimp are in inshore waters, to collect information on the timing of the egg hatch and the size, gender, and developmental stage of the shrimp. Samples will attempt to mimic those that would have been collected if there had been a commercial fishery, continuing a long time series of winter sampling data.

Trawlers

Four shrimp trawling vessels and captains were selected to collect northern shrimp samples in four regions of the Gulf of Maine (Eastern Maine, Midcoast Maine, Western Maine, and Massachusetts/New Hampshire region), beginning in mid- to late January, 2016, fishing approximately once every two weeks, until the shrimp are no longer carrying eggs, perhaps near the end of March. Trawl participants will be allowed to land and sell up to 1,800 pounds of northern shrimp per trip.

The four trawlers are:

MA/NH Trawler: Norman “Neal” Pike (Seabrook NH) Western Maine Trawler: Marshall Alexander (Biddeford ME) Midcoast Maine Trawler: Dana Hammond (New Harbor ME) Eastern Maine Trawler: Gary Libby (Port Clyde ME)

Trappers

In addition, two shrimp trapping vessels and captains were selected to collect northern shrimp samples in the midcoast Maine area, beginning about February 1, 2016, approximately once every two weeks, until the shrimp have hatched off all their eggs. Trappers will be allowed to fish up to 40 traps each, hauled as often as necessary during the project, with a 600 pound weekly catch limit per vessel. Trapped shrimp catches may be sold.

The two trappers are Bill Sherburne (Boothbay ME) and Rodney Genthner (Friendship ME).

Inflatable Vessel to Help Maine Improve Whale Disentanglement Efforts

December 14, 2015 - With recent funding from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, the Maine Department of Marine Resources has taken another step forward in its ability to lead whale disentanglement efforts.

The $20,000 grant will be used by the DMR to purchase a soft bottom inflatable boat that can maneuver more safely and effectively when Maine Marine Patrol, along with key DMR staff, respond to entangled whales.

“Often, responders have to pull alongside an entangled whale which might surface underneath the boat,” said DMR Scientist Erin Summers, who is coordinating the purchase. “A soft bottom boat will move and form to the body of the whale, making injury to the whale less likely. A hard bottom boat is also more likely to tip when hit from below, which could endanger the responders.”

“This boat will help Marine Patrol significantly improve our ability to respond to entanglements,” stated Major Rene Cloutier, Marine Patrol’s Field Commander. “Our fleet of vessels is built to respond to law enforcement issues, but is not ideally suited for disentangling whales. We need a boat that is smaller, more stable, is more maneuverable when we work on large species like humpbacks and right whales.”

“This work is conducted very close to the whale and a soft bottom boat will allow us to maneuver into positon so the responders can more easily move around in the boat and handle the specialty tools which are mounted on the end of a long pole and used to cut lines from the whales,” said Summers.

The approximately 17 foot soft bottom boat, purchased in consultation with partners at National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), will provide a much needed resource for fast and effective response by the Maine Marine Patrol.

Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine are currently the only states on the East Coast with the authority and training from NMFS to respond to large whale entanglements. One DMR staff member and nine Marine Patrol officers are trained and authorized as first responders for entanglements. The network of responders on the east coast, known as the Atlantic Large Whale Disentanglement Network, is coordinated by NMFS out of the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

“This boat will help Maine continue to improve our efficiency and performance in disentanglement response,” said Summers.

The Body of Passamaquoddy Man Recovered

November 25, 2015 - The body of Majik Francis was recovered this evening at approximately 5:15 p.m. by volunteer divers with the Passamaquoddy Tribe. His body was found approximately 50 feet off the western tip of Carlow Island. Francis, 23 of Pleasant Point, had been missing since approximately 12:30 p.m. Sunday when a canoe he was in over turned 200 yards from shore near the Old Eastport Road in Perry. The Maine Marine Patrol had been searching the area by water, land and air, since Sunday. Many members of the Passamaquoddy Tribe had also been participating in the search with boats, shoreline searches, and divers.

Francis’ body has been released to a local funeral home.

DMR Policy Director Joins Governor LePage to Highlight Maine Lobster during Asia Trade Mission

Asia Mission

Governor Paul R. LePage, DMR Policy Director Deirdre Gilbert and Senior Trade Specialist with the Maine International Trade Center are pictured during the recent trade mission to Asia.

November 16, 2015 - The notion of sustainable harvesting practices translates well into Chinese and Japanese, according to Deirdre Gilbert, Policy Director for the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Gilbert, who travelled to Tokyo and Shanghai on a trade mission with Governor Paul R. LePage late last month, provided an overview of Maine’s lobster industry management and conservation measures to dozens of chefs, buyers, government officials, and media in both cities.

“This mission was a success on many fronts,” said Governor LePage. “But I was especially pleased see how receptive people were in Tokyo and Shanghai to Deirdre’s presentation on the management and character of Maine’s lobster fishery. I believe this will help our dealers continue to grow markets in China and Japan for Maine lobster in all its forms.”

Gilbert’s presentations in each city preceded a reception in which hundreds of attendees had a chance to sample Maine lobster prepared by local chefs.

The mission, hosted by the Maine International Trade Center, included several Maine lobster dealers who had a chance to network with prospective buyers and importers.

Several Maine dealers participating in the trade mission expressed appreciation for Gilbert’s presentation. “I was told that a lot of buyers didn’t necessarily understand the fishery before the presentation,” said Gilbert. “The dealers valued the chance to educate their buyers about the many attributes that make Maine lobsters unique.”

“People in both cities wanted to understand Maine’s conservation measures,” said Gilbert. “I believe they came away with a strong appreciation both for Maine’s conservation laws and industry’s longstanding commitment to sustainable harvesting practices.”

Gilbert’s presentation included a brief geography lesson with an overview of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and a description of the remote coastal communities and the harvesters who live and work there. She also highlighted the conservation laws and monitoring work that underpin Maine’s abundant lobster resource.

“I believe they appreciated the fact that Maine lobster fishermen are small scale operators and the license holder is doing the actual fishing,” said Gilbert.

While in Tokyo, Gilbert and Governor LePage were interviewed by a reporter with Minato-Tsukiji.com, a web-based daily news service that specializes in fishery and seafood industries. “The reporter was interested not only in conservation but also in the importance of Maine’s lobster industry to our state’s economy.”

Gilbert feels this trade mission provided an opportunity for the Maine dealers in attendance as well as others who did not attend to capitalize on improved appreciation for Maine lobster in both Japan and China. “There was a very positive response to Maine’s lobster fishery in both cities. It should help our dealers as they continue to grow Asian markets.”

Vessel Allegedly Operated by Missing Cape Elizabeth Man Found on Parsons Beach in Kennebunk

November 13, 2015 - The vessel allegedly operated by missing Cape Elizabeth boat captain Adam Patterson has been located without Patterson on-board on Parsons Beach in Kennebunk.

The boat, a 24 four foot white vessel which Patterson operated for Portland Express Taxi was discovered over turned and partially buried in the sand by a resident walking the beach at 7 a.m. this morning who reported it to the Kennebunk Police Department.

The Marine Patrol was notified at approximately 7 a.m. and Marine Patrol Officer Ian Anderson, Charles Tetreau, along with Sergeant Tom Hale and Sergeant Rob Beal arrived on scene to secure and search the capsized vessel.

According to Marine Patrol reports, the vessel’s super structure including its roof and windshield were destroyed and debris from the vessel was found along the beach.

No evidence of foul play has been found among the wreckage however the vessel’s debris has been removed from the beach by the Kennebunk Public Works Department and transported to a secure location for further inspection by Marine Patrol.

The Maine Marine Patrol had searched Wednesday and Thursday for Patterson, 30 of Cape Elizabeth, an employee of the Portland-based water taxi service Portland Express Taxi who had been missing since early Wednesday morning.

Security video from a camera located at Dimillo’s Marina in Portland showed the vessel leaving the marina at 3:25 a.m. Wednesday. While the video shows the vessel underway, it does not show Patterson, however details of the investigation led the Marine Patrol to assume that Patterson was operating the vessel at the time of its disappearance.

The search had been suspended Thursday night however the Marine Patrol planned to continue looking for Patterson during routing patrols on water and in the air.

The search for Mr. Patterson will continue however it is now considered a recovery effort. The Marine Patrol airplane, with assistance from a Coast Guard Helicopter out of Cape Cod are participating in the search.

UPDATE: Marine Patrol Suspends Search for Missing Cape Elizabeth Man

November 12, 2015 - The Maine Marine Patrol has suspended the search for Adam Patterson, 30 of Cape Elizabeth, an employee of the Portland-based water taxi service Portland Express Taxi reported missing early Wednesday morning.

Marine Patrol was notified that Patterson was missing at 9 a.m. Wednesday and conducted a search from shore between Portland and Yarmouth, Phippsburg and Harpswell Sound, and South Portland and the Kennebunk River. Marine Patrol also conducted a search by water of Casco Bay.

On Thursday, the Marine Patrol resumed searching at 6 a.m. between Portland and Seguin Island and at approximately 10 a.m. began searching between Portland and Harpswell for the 24 four foot white vessel with a 150 horse power Yamaha outboard motor which Patterson operated for Portland Express Taxi.

A Marine Patrol Protector vessel along with the Patrol Vessel Vigilant were involved in yesterday's search along with airplanes operated by the Marine Patrol and the US Coast Guard.

The Marine Patrol investigation revealed that Mr. Patterson was last heard from during a conversation with a family member Wednesday morning at approximately 1:30 a.m.

An employee of the water taxi company determined that the vessel Patterson regularly operated for the company was missing at approximately 5:50 a.m. Wednesday.

A review by Marine Patrol of security camera footage owned by Dimillo’s Marina shows Mr. Patterson leaving in the vessel at 3:25 a.m. Wednesday.

According to Marine Patrol reports, both of Mr. Patterson’s cell phones were found aboard a sail boat docked on Long Wharf in Portland which he had been staying on for about ten days. Mr. Patterson’s vehicle was also found parked in Dimillo’s parking lot.

Kyle Jacobs, a co-worker at Portland Express Taxi, stated that he was the last operator of the missing water taxi which he secured at around 11 p.m. Tuesday with an estimated 30 gallons of gas on board.

Involved in the search were Marine Patrol Sergeant Rob Beal, Sergeant Tom Hale, Pilot Steve Ingram, Officer Chris Hilton, Officer Clinton Thomson, Officer Charles Tetreau, and Officer Rebecca Kavanaugh.

The US Coast Guard and the Portland Police Department also assisted in the search.

American Eel Population not Listed Under Endangered Species Act: Statement from Maine Department of Marine Resources

October 7, 2015 - The Maine Department of Marine Resources was pleased to learn today that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has decided not to list the American eel under the Endangered Species Act.

Among the factors considered in the decision was the adequacy of existing regulations.

The 2012 benchmark stock assessment, conducted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), indicated that the American eel population in U.S. waters is depleted. While the stock has declined in recent decades it is not at level that would suggest that it is either threatened or endangered. It is for these reasons that the ASMFC Eel Management Board moved to curtail the harvest of glass and yellow eels and all but eliminate the harvest of silver eels.

Causes of decline are likely due to a combination of historical overfishing, habitat loss, food web alterations, predation, turbine mortality, environmental changes, toxins and contaminants, and disease. In recent years, the Maine DMR has made several regulatory changes which have significantly improved our ability to manage the elver fishery. These advances will support the future health of all life stages of the American eel. In 2014 the DMR implemented the swipe card system which dramatically decreased the incidents of illegal harvesting. The DMR also instituted an individual quota system which drastically reduced the black-market for illegal eels caught and transported to Maine. It also helped ensure that Maine would not exceed its statewide quota, established by the ASMFC.

The Department has also been working hard to improve passage for all life stages of American eels, which is intended to improve access to habitat.

“The elver fishery has become, in recent years, a major component of Maine’s coastal economy and is relied upon by hundreds of Maine fishermen,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “I am pleased to learn that the hard working men and women who have partnered with the Department to sustain our American eel population will continue to have a chance to harvest this important and valued species.” “We appreciate the careful deliberation of the US Fish and Wildlife in reviewing the status of the American eel, and remain committed to continued efforts to regulate, manage and improve all life stages of American eels in Maine waters,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher upon learning of the announcement.

Marine Patrol Sergeant Troy Dow Completes National Leadership Training

Sergeant Dow

Maine Marine Patrol Sergeant Troy Dow, left, recently completed the prestigious National Conservation Law Enforcement Leadership Academy. The program brings together conservation law enforcement leaders from around the country for three-weeks of intensive training. Pictured with Sergeant Dow is Maine Warden Service Lieutenant Kevin Adam, who also completed the training.

October 5, 2015 - Maine Marine Patrol Sergeant Troy Dow has recently completed the National Conservation Law Enforcement Leadership Academy (NCLELA). The prestigious program brings together conservation law enforcement leaders from around the country for three-weeks of intensive training.

The goal of the NCLELA, conducted by the National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs, is to prepare conservation law enforcement professionals to effectively adapt to a rapidly changing world. The focus of NCLELA, held at the National Conservation Training Center in

Shepherdstown, West Virginia, is to provide the practical skills and knowledge needed by those in conservation law enforcement leadership roles in state or federal agencies. Attendees must be employed in one of the highest tiers of senior leadership in the applying law enforcement agency, be employed by a state, federal, tribal or international conservation law enforcement agency, and have the endorsement of the agency’s Chief Executive.

“Sergeant Dow has shown tremendous initiative during his career and continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to professional development,” said Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish. “That is why we decided to send him through this program. We believe strongly in supporting the efforts of our Marine Patrol professionals to advance their knowledge and skills. This kind of training will help the Marine Patrol continue to adapt to change and to evolve as a conservation law enforcement bureau.”

Attendees took part in programs on adaptive leadership, leading change, resource management, personnel management, shaping organizational culture, strategic planning, surviving and succeeding as an executive, liability, establishing a leadership legacy, and more.

“There were a lot of topics covered that you hadn’t thought about before,” said Sergeant Dow. “This program has made me a better leader - more able to make the people around me better.”

The program also provided an opportunity for attendees to learn from each other and the unique approaches to conservation law enforcement each brought to the table. “I talked about the relationship Marine Patrol has with industry and how we join the Commissioner for outreach meetings to build those connections. Colleagues from around the country were impressed with the way we actively engaged industry.”

The program also gave Sergeant Dow a chance to build connections with members of other agencies around the country. “Hardly a day goes by that I don’t get contacted by one of the people I attended with.”

The training he received and the contacts he made will also allow him and the Marine Patrol to continue to benefit from the training. “If I have a problem, I’ll be able to reach out to colleagues around the country for assistance,” said Sergeant Dow. “This program will last me the rest of my career.”

Sergeant Dow oversees six Officers and one Specialist in Marine Patrol Section 5, which stretches from the Penobscot River to the Hancock Bridge.

Maine Marine Patrol Recovers Body of Deceased Man from Circling Lobster Boat

Staples Recovery

Specialist Corrie Roberts prepares to jump from a Marine Patrol vessel operated by Sgt. Matthew Talbot into a boat owned by Robert Staples

October 2, 205 - The Maine Marine Patrol recovered the body of a North Haven lobsterman who apparently died while underway today.

At approximately 3:15 pm today the Marine Patrol received a report of a lobster boat going in circles near Owls Head Light south of Rockland Harbor. The vessel, Legacy, was owned and operated by lobsterman Robert Staples, 78 of North Haven.

Sergeant Matt Talbot and Specialist Corrie Roberts responded from Rockland in a Marine Patrol Protector vessel and found Staples’ vessel traveling in circles in 3-4 seas and 20 knot winds. They were met at the scene by members of the US Coast Guard who had confirmed that an unconscious individual was on board.

Battling difficult conditions, Sergeant Talbot maneuvered alongside the circling fishing vessel and, after several attempts Specialist Roberts was able to jump on board the Legacy and gain control of the vessel. Members of the US Coast Guard then boarded and attempted to resuscitate Mr. Staples while Specialist Roberts brought the vessel to Rockland Harbor.

There they were met by members of the Rockland EMS who attempted unsuccessfully to resuscitate Mr. Staples.

The State Medical Examiner has ruled that Mr. Staples’ died of natural causes.

DMR Staff Recognized with Awards at Annual Meeting

DMR Annual meeting

September 14, 2015 - Pictured at right, Department of Marine Resource staff pose with Commissioner Patrick Keliher (2nd from left) after receiving awards during the Department's annual meeting on Friday, September 11 at the Department's Boothbay Harbor facility. From left to right, Marine Resource Scientist Heidi Bray received the Employee of the Year Award for work implementing a new online licensing system; Secretary Specialist Jessica McKay received a Special Commendation for organizing the Department's move to its new location; and Marine Resource Scientist David Libby received the Manager of the Year Award for serving as Interim Bureau of Marine Science Director after the retirement of previous Director Linda Mercer.

Two Deceased Individuals Recovered Near Jonesport Identified

August 2, 2015 - The two deceased individuals recovered by the US Coast Guard with assistance from the Maine Marine Patrol have been identified as Roy Carlile, age 58, and his wife Judith Carlile, age 53, of Warrington, Pennsylvania.

The Coast Guard recovered the body of Mr. Carlile late Saturday morning entangled in lobster gear near Sandy River Beach, Jonesport. The body was reported by a lobsterman who notified the Coast Guard. Members from Coast Guard Station Jonesport and Air Station Cape Cod, with officers from the Maine Marine Patrol, responded to the scene to assist in the search for the second person, identified as Judith Carlile. Mrs. Carlile’s body was recovered this morning by the Coast Guard at approximately 5:50 a.m. north of Roque Island at the heads of Chandler and Englishman Bays. Both individuals were found wearing lifejackets. A green canoe they were reportedly using on Friday night remains missing. Marine Patrol will conduct patrols in the area today to attempt to locate the missing canoe. According to Marine Patrol, the two own a camp in Jonesport. Both bodies have been released to the Maine Medical Examiner’s Office for confirmation of cause of death.

Marine Patrol Assists US Coast Guard Recovery of Second Body near Jonesport

August 2, 2015 - A second missing person was recovered by the Coast Guard with assistance from the Maine Marine Patrol Sunday morning. The body of a female was located at approximately 5:30 a.m. off Roque Island, Jonesport, Maine by a Coast Guard search and rescue crew from Station Jonesport. The Coast Guard recovered the body of a deceased male late Saturday morning entangled in lobster gear near Sandy River Beach, Jonesport. The body was reported by a lobsterman who notified the Coast Guard. A green canoe that the individuals were reportedly using on Friday night remains missing. Members from Coast Guard Station Jonesport and Air Station Cape Cod, with officers from the Maine Marine Patrol responded to the scene to assist in the search for the second person. Both individuals were found wearing lifejackets. Their names will not be released until positive identification and 24 hours after the next of kin have been notified.

Kathleen Reardon Promoted to Lead Lobster Biologist for Maine Department of Marine Resources

Kathleen Reardon

Kathleen Reardon.

July 21, 2015 - Kathleen Reardon, who has coordinated the Maine Department of Marine Resources’ lobster monitoring programs for the past ten years, has been promoted to the position of Lead Lobster Biologist. Kathleen succeeds Carl Wilson who previously held the job until he was promoted to Director of the DMR Science Bureau in February.

As Lead Lobster Biologist, Kathleen will be responsible for directing and coordinating a comprehensive lobster fishery monitoring program, including the lobster sea sampling program and the ventless trap survey.

In addition to lobster, Kathleen will oversee management, coordination and supervision of the scallop, urchin, shrimp and large whale research and monitoring programs, and she will manage the department’s GIS (Geographic Information System) and oil spill response coordinators.

She will also represent the department at state, interstate and federal lobster technical committee meetings and will advise department leadership on lobster science issues. Kathleen will work with other state, academic and non-government organizations on lobster science and management issues as well.

Prior to the promotion Kathleen coordinated the DMR’s lobster sea sampling program and the ventless trap survey and managed the department’s GIS database. She also coordinated sampling and survey staff and volunteers, and contractors, and was responsible for data analysis and reporting for the two programs.

Kathleen has also represented Maine on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Jonah Crab Fishery Management Plan Plan Development Team.

Kathleen achieved a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Williams College in 2000 and a Dual Master’s Degree in Marine Biology and Marine Policy from the University of Maine School of Marine Science in 2006.

“Kathleen brings a diverse skill set to her new position, including fisheries expertise, database management, GIS, marine policy and supervisory experience,” said Marine Science Bureau Director Carl Wilson. “She has exemplified hard work, motivation, and leadership over the past ten years and I am certain that she will continue to ensure that rigorous science is the basis of management decisions.”

Right place at the Right Time – New Marine Patrol Officer Saves Life of Fisherman

Benjamin Burnes

Benjamin Burnes

July 20, 2015 - Marine Patrol Officer Benjamin Burnes, who graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in May, has already put his training to good use, saving the life of a man whose canoe capsized while fishing recently on the York River.

At approximately 4 p.m. last Thursday, Officer Burnes and Sergeant Tom Hale had both just come ashore from routine patrol near the York River. They were crossing the Route 103 bridge, heading toward Route One. At that moment Officer Burnes looked out the window and saw a capsized canoe floating in the swift ebb tide current. “I happened to look downriver at the right moment,” said Burnes.

He then saw a man floating in the current. “He was clinging to a cooler floating downstream of the bridge,” said Officer Burnes. The man, Paul Carr of Massachusetts, had been fishing for striped bass with a friend when their canoe over turned. Carr managed to swim to shore while Officer Burnes boarded a skiff operated by a local lobsterman and retrieved the canoe.

As Sergeant Hale and Officer Burnes helped the man to shore they heard another man yelling for help from under the route 103 bridge. “We weren’t there for more than a couple of minutes when I heard someone yell help, help, help up by the bridge,” said Officer Burnes

The second man, Gerard Centrella also of Massachusetts, had been clinging to the Route 103 bridge piling but was attempting to swim ashore despite the five knot current. “I tried to swim for the shore but I couldn’t make it,” said Centrella. “I was so close to the edge. I couldn’t feel my arms or legs. I was yelling for help but I couldn’t see anyone.”

Although weighted down by his gun belt, boots and ballistic vest, Officer Burnes ran to the bank and moved toward the struggling man without hesitation. “I knew he didn’t have much time in that current so I didn’t really think about it and jumped in,” said Officer Burnes. The water survival training he had received months earlier gave him the confidence to react swiftly. “It prepared me for that situation.”

As he swam toward the man, it became clear to Officer Burnes that Centrella was struggling for his life. “He was saying - I can’t get out of the current. He kept asking me to help him,” said Officer Burnes.

“When I saw him,” said Centrella,” I thought - I’m not going to die in this river.”

“I reached out my hand to him and told him to keep his head above water,” said Officer Burnes. “I grabbed his hand and swam on my back toward shore. He keeled over when he got to shore. He was exhausted from fighting that current.”

Once on-shore, Centrella expressed gratitude to the young Marine Patrol Officer who had saved his life. “I said you saved my life. I told him I’m never going to forget your face. I’ll forever be grateful.”

Both victims were checked by local EMS personnel and were not taken to a hospital.

“Officer Burnes showed extraordinary instinct and skill in performing this daring rescue,” said Sergeant Hale. “We teach the skills to handle your self in the water, but the instinct to act without hesitation came naturally to this young Officer and will serve him well throughout his career.”

Three weeks into his new job and Officer Burnes is pleased he chose to become a Marine Patrol Officer. “I think it's great. I couldn’t imagine having a career that started out like this. Being able to help people is very rewarding. If this is what the first three weeks is like, I look forward to the next 25 years.”

Maine DMR Strongly Encourages Online License Renewals before July 16, When Transition to New, More Efficient System Begins

June 18, 2015 - The Maine Department of Marine Resources encourages all current license holders planning to renew their license online to do so before July 16, 2015 when the DMR begins transitioning to a new, more efficient system. After July 16, license holders will need to use paper applications or wait until September to purchase a license or permit with the new online system.

Known as LEEDS (Licensing, Enforcement and Environmental Data System) the new system will provide easy-to-use online tools for license application, renewal, and landings reporting. Available 24-hours-a-day, the system will allow new information to be automatically integrated so license holder data is always up to date.

“This inconvenience to our customers will be temporary, lasting less than 60 days,” said Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “It was cost prohibitive to run two systems simultaneously, so we have timed the transition to occur during our slowest license sales period of the year.”

Starting July 16, 2015, the DMR will begin the transition by temporarily disabling the current online license renewal system. To avoid any inconvenience, DMR is urging all current license holders who renew their license online to do so before July 16, 2015.

Customers and license holders should be aware that the DMR Licensing Division office at 32 Blossom Lane, Augusta will be closed on July 9, 10, and 20, 2015 as the agency transitions from the old system to the new Maine LEEDS system.

New license applications will continue to be available only on paper during the transition, from July 16, 2015 until the new system is launched. DMR will accept paper license renewals either in person at the Augusta office, or by mail. Applications can be found on the DMR website.

License renewals and new applications will be available through the new LEEDS system after DMR has conducted internal testing in the coming months. DMR will communicate directly with license holders when the system launch date is confirmed, and will include links to the new online LEEDS system.

Agencies Respond to Report of Deceased Fisherman

June 4, 2015 - The Maine Marine Patrol and the US Coast Guard responded this morning to a report of a recreational fishing vessel with a deceased individual on-board. The Maine Marine Patrol was notified by the US Coast Guard Sector Northern New England at 5:15 a.m. that they were towing a fishing vessel, registered in Maine, into York Harbor with one deceased individual aboard. One other individual who had notified the Coast Guard was also on board Marine Patrol Sergeant Tom Hale responded by truck and went to York Harbor Town Dock where the 28 foot recreational fishing vessel had been towed by US Coast Guard. According to initial investigation conducted by Coast Guard, the two were fishing approximately 13 miles off York Harbor near Jeffrey’s Ledge last night when they experienced engine problems and dropped an anchor. One individual on-board fell asleep and when he woke in the morning he found the other individual deceased near the open engine compartment. He then contacted the Coast Guard by VHF radio about the deceased individual and explained that the vessel had become inoperable, at which point the Portsmouth Coast Guard responded. The names of the two individuals, who are both from Vermont, are not being released until notification of next of kin. The details of what caused the engine failure and the cause of death are under investigation.

JUNE 5, 2015 UPDATE: The deceased individual has been identified as Forest Woodruff, 59 of Jamaica, Vermont. The other individual is Russell Smith, 57, also of Jamaica, Vermont.

Maine’s Elver Fishery Increases in Value by Nearly $3 Million

June 2, 2015 - The 2015 Maine elver harvest season, which ended officially Sunday, May 31 at noon, netted Maine fishermen nearly $3 million in additional value over the 2014 season. Preliminary data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources indicate that, despite a decline from the previous season of 4,445 pounds landed, the overall value paid to Maine’s 920 active harvesters in 2015 was $11,389,864 compared to $8,474,302 in 2014. Total pounds landed in 2015 were 5,242 compared to 9,688 in 2014. This year’s total quota, set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, was equal to the total landings in 2014 and will remain in place through 2017. The ASMFC will next re-evaluate Maine’s quota in 2018. The per-pound average for elvers harvested in 2015 was $2,172 compared to $874 in 2014. “This year’s harvest represents a success for Maine’s elver industry,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “The swipe card system, which we unveiled last season, again worked flawlessly and provided the Department with real time data on landings and value. We also implemented a dealer-to-dealer swipe card requirement and a new elver exporter license, both of which allowed us to more effectively account for elvers at all points in the chain of custody which is critical for the effective management of this resource.” Landings this season declined due to a number of variables which are outside the control of resource managers and regulators, according to Commissioner Keliher. “The cold spring depressed the migration of elvers. The spring was also extremely dry and levels in Maine’s streams and rivers were low so elvers were able to swim in the middle where they could not be caught because of restrictions on fishing the middle third of rivers and streams.” “Fortunately, though, the value of Maine’s elvers remained at historic high levels which resulted in an additional $2.9 million in the pockets of Maine’s elver fishermen.”

Three New Marine Patrol Officers Join the Ranks

Marine Patrol Grads

May 22, 2015 - Pictured at right with Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher (far left) are the newest Maine Marine Patrol Officers (from left) Benjamin Burnes of Falmouth, Adam Madore of Saco, and Rebecca Kavanaugh of Wiscasset. Marine Patrol Colonel Jon Cornish is at right. MPO Burnes will serve in the Kittery-York patrol, MPO Madore will serve in the Stonington patrol and MPO Kavanaugh will serve in the Biddeford patrol. They were among 60 law enforcement officers who graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy on May 22, 2015.