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In the News: April 2023

Jonesport Aquaculture Facility Good To Go

Proposed design for the Jonesport facility, Kingfish image.

Kingfish Maine’s permit to build a recirculating aquaculture system facility in Jonesport has been upheld by the town’s board of appeals. A loan insurance request has been approved by the Finance Authority of Maine for project preparation. In a unanimous vote, the board of appeals denied the nonprofit organization Protect Downeast’s appeal of the planning board’s approval of the building permit. The company also received unanimous support from the Finance Authority of Maine for loan insurance on a direct loan by Machias Savings Bank relating to the $110 million land-based aquaculture facility. Groundwork is expected to begin sometime this year on the 50,000 square foot facility.

NOAA Conducting Economic Survey of Fishing Businesses

NOAA’s Social Sciences Branch is collecting commercial fishing business cost information from federally permitted vessel owners that were active in 2021 or 2022. The survey, last conducted in 2016, tracks trends in costs over time, assesses economic fishery performance, and ultimately informs management decisions. CLICK HERE for the online survey. The survey ends September 1. The survey is also available via phone interview or by responding to a hardcopy of the survey that will be mailed to each vessel owner by NOAA’s survey firm, ICF. You may request a phone interview by calling 508-495-2015.

New Ingredient in P.E.I. Bait Alternative

A P.E.I. company is adding seal meat to its bait sausages, hoping to capitalize on the abundance of seals in Maritime waters while helping fill the gap left by dwindling numbers of herring and mackerel. Bait Masters started producing bait sausages in its $1.4-million facility in Nine Mile Creek in April 2021, using a mix of fish, fish oil and other organic matter in a biodegradable casing. The new bait sausages are half seal and half mackerel and are meant for lobster traps and crab pots. The company’s site says a sausage will last four to five days in the water, compared to two to three days for traditional bait. Bait Masters made 2,000 new seal-mackerel sausages which were pre-sold to lobstermen, and will be asking for feedback during the spring fishery.

NOAA Approves 1/2” Weak Rope for Offshore

On March 13, NOAA Fisheries announced that it has approved 1/2-inch rope manufactured by Neocorp rope for use as weak rope in the LMA3 offshore lobster fishery. The rope is a braided rope with a breaking strength of 1870 lbs and must be attached to other rope with a double sheet bend to allow for a clean break. The rope is white with a black tracer and can be purchased at Ketcham Supply in New Bedford.

Help for Towns Assessing Working Waterfront

The Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association and Tidal Bay Consulting have created a tool for towns to collect data on their working waterfront’s infrastructure and economic impact in an effort to keep them operating. The Working Waterfront Inventory Template is designed to be especially useful for small coastal communities in the face of increasing shoreline development. “Before towns can address issues and plan for the future, they need to know what they have for working waterfronts,” said Jessica Joyce, principal of Tidal Bay Consulting, a nonprofit based in South Freeport. CLICK HERE for the template.

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