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In the News: August 2011

Haddock by-catch limit changed In mid-July the National Marine Fisheries Service proposed an increase in the permissible haddock bycatch for the Atlantic herring fishery. The proposal would increase the bycatch limit to 2 percent of the acceptable biological catch for haddock. The New England Fishery Management Council fixed the limit at 0.2 percent in 2010. The haddock bycatch limit has been a thorn in the side of herring fishermen since then. Midwater trawlers in particular have been fighting for a revision of the rules since last fall arguing that the bycatch limit effectively curtailed their fishing season.

Kennebec River dredging still scheduled for August The state Board of Environmental Protection in late July denied a slate of appeals seeking to modify a state permit for a controversial dredging project in the Kennebec River in August. August is a peak time for local lobstermen in the Small Point and Phippsburg areas. Historically, dredging work in the Kennebec has taken place between November and the end of April. Local lobstermen, Phippsburg selectmen, business owners and others argue that the unusual August timing of the dredging will have significant impacts on lobstering, shellfish harvesting, tourism and other summertime river uses. Those arguments are to be heard in federal court as well. The Army Corps of Engineers and Bath Iron Works said that any delays in the start of the dredging could jeopardize the departure of the destroyer Spruance from Bath on September 1. The project would clear buildup of river bottom sand and ensure enough water depth for the ship to get by Doubling Point and Popham Beach. The Army Corps plans to remove 70,000 cubic yards of sand and silt between the two locations and dump the spoils in an in-river site known as the Kennebec Narrows and south of Jackknife Ledge, off the shore of Popham Beach. Opponents say that the Army Corps could remove less than 16,000 cubic yards of material at Doubling Point, and none at all at the second proposed location near Popham Beach, and it would be enough for the Spruance to pass.

DMR evaluation due in August By mid-August, an evaluation of the Department of Marine Resources conducted by three independent reviewers will be sent to Governor LePage.  The review of DMR and other state agencies is designed to determine the department’s strengths and weaknesses, priorities, and organizational structure. The evaluation team is composed of David Borden, former chief of the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife and for 26 years a member of the New England Fisheries Management Council; Peter Jensen, former deputy secretary of Maryland’s Natural Resources Department; and David Wallace, founder of Wallace and Associates, a consulting firm in Salisbury, Maryland.

Farewell to Hunky Verlan "Hunky" Porter, 76, a lifetime resident of Cutler, passed away unexpectedly July 18, in Bangor, during open-heart surgery. Hunky was born Oct. 18, 1934, in Cutler, to Frank and Marjorie (Peabody) Porter of Cutler. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Maxine (Dennison) Porter and by MLA board of director member Kristan Porter, as well as many other children and grandchildren. He is also survived by longtime friend and business partner, John Farris. The two men were well-known in the Downeast region through their business,  Farris-Porter Construction.

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