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In The News - August 2022

Seafood Processors, Dealers Receive More Than $15 million in Aid

More than $15 million was awarded earlier this summer to 107 Maine seafood dealers and processors to help increase the supply of Maine-harvested seafood, strengthen their ability to deliver to markets, and create and sustain jobs throughout Maine’s seafood industry. Businesses in every coastal county received awards, with more than half the awards above $115,000. The funds were made available as competitive grants through the Seafood Dealer and Processor COVID-19 Response and Resilience Program (SDPP) established by the Governor’s Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan. The program uses $10 million from the Governor’s Jobs Plan, $5 million from the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, and $850,000 from the USDA Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program. The Maine Technology Institute administered the program on behalf of the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

MLA executive director Patrice McCarron addressed the Portland Rotary Club in July. Her presentation on the right whale issue prompted numerous questions from the audience, many of whom expressed their worries about the lobster fishery's future. MLA photo.

Federal Funds Possible to Help Maine Lobstermen

If approved by Congress, Maine’s lobster industry could receive a majority of the $14 million to cover costs incurred by lobstermen complying with the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan in 2023. The funds would be apportioned among lobstering states through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Funds may be used to cover costs of gear modification, configuration and marking, in both federal and state waters. These funds are in addition to the $17 million slated to support the lobster industry in 2022, which includes $10 million to offset cost of compliance with new whale rules, $4million to cover costs of new electronic trackers for federal lobster boats, and $3 million for research and outreach.

Report Finds Lack of Accounting of Wind Projects’ Costs

A report on the threats posed to commercial fishing by offshore wind was released in July after an offshore wind conference held in Boston in May. The report, “Offshore Wind and New England Fishermen in the Gulf of Maine” was compiled by the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership, Massachusetts Seafood Collaborative, Northeast Seafood Coalition, and the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance. According to the report, multinational companies are fast-tracking offshore wind energy lease bids. In addition, the report found limited transparency in the lease process and that input from fisheries stakeholders has been ignored. “There has been no true accounting for the environmental, ecological, economic, or navigational concerns we have raised, nor have there been any robust studies or serious reports on those matters,” the report states.

New Whale-Safe Gear Mandates in 2023 for P.E.I.

Lobstermen on Prince Edward Island will be using different lobstering gear when they start their spring season in 2023. The gear includes ropes designed to break more easily so endangered whales won’t become entangled if they swim into them. The new requirements are causing some grumblings in the island’s fishing community. Lobstermen are concerned about the gear’s safety, the possibility of losses, and the cost to replace existing gear.

Lobster Center opens in Shediac, New Brunswick

The Homarus Centre in Shediac, N.B., opened to the public in July. The new Centre offers an immersive experience into the world of the Northumberland Strait marine ecosystem. Visitors to the center can learn all about lobster, from its biology to its global reach, in addition to facts about the local ecosystem and the fishery's sustainability. The new centre is part of the Maritime Fishermen's Union and complements Shediac's stature as a major lobstering port.

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