- The New England District of the US Army Corps of Engineers recently dredged sections of both the channel and anchorages of the York Harbor Federal navigation project (FNP) in York, Maine. Dredging operations commenced on Nov. 1. The dredged sediments were placed at the Cape Arundel Disposal Site located approximately 2.8 nautical miles southeast of Cape Arundel. The dredging contractor was required to use a specific haul route when transiting to and from the dredged material placement site. All fishing gear had to be removed from within the specified haul route to avoid damage to or loss due to dredged material disposal operations. Individuals seeking additional information regarding the loss of fishing gear suspected to be the result of dredged material disposal may contact Matthew Tessier, the Corps Project Manager, at 978-318-8248.
- 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 per cent or more mature herring by number in a sample that have yet to spawn. As a result, the Eastern Maine spawning area re-closed for two additional weeks. Vessels in the directed Atlantic herring fishery cannot take, land, or possess Atlantic herring caught within the Eastern Maine spawning area 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.
- 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.
- 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-colour 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. Council Chair Lewis Pinkham says, “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.” DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb says, “Consumers have long recognized the Quality Maine Trademark because it represents the highest standards of product quality and safety. 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.” DMR Public Health Bureau Director Kohl Kanwit says, “Maine shellfish dealers meet an extremely high standard for health and safety and deserve credit for providing consumers with a consistently exceptional product. 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.