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In The News - December

Gulf of Maine Research Institute Buys Portland’s Union Wharf

Photo courtesy: Dunham Group

Union Wharf, part of Portland’s working waterfront for 228 years, is being purchased by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) to maintain access for fishermen, oil spill responders, lobster wholesalers, and other maritime businesses. The wharf has been in private hands since it was constructed in the aftermath of Portland’s destruction in the American Revolution. Members of the Poole family have owned it outright since the 1950s. The Pooles – led by brothers Charlie and Malcolm – are selling to their immediate neighbor, GMRI, a marine research institution that purchased and rehabilitated Wrights Wharf just to the west as its headquarters. GMRI’s bid wasn’t the highest, but they chose to sell to the institute because of its commitment to remain long-term stewards of the pier as the anchor of the working waterfront. GMRI president Don Perkins said his organization decided to try to purchase Union Wharf when it became clear no private maritime commercial companies or nonprofits were coming forward to take on the challenging and specialized mission of owning and operating a working commercial pier.

Maine Investing $10 million in Seafood Infrastructure

Photo courtesy: Bangor Daily News

The state will invest $10 million in federal funds through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to allow Maine seafood dealers and processors to upgrade their infrastructure. The new Seafood Infrastructure Investment Program will launch early next year and will be administered through the Department of Marine Resources. It will provide grants to Maine seafood dealers and processors to upgrade buildings, equipment, and utilities. These grants will help seafood dealers and processors increase the supply of Maine-harvested seafood; strengthen their ability to deliver to markets in Maine, across the United States, and around the world; and create and sustain jobs throughout Maine’s iconic seafood industry. The Department of Marine Resources will begin accepting applications in the coming months. A range of funding will be offered, including smaller grants for facilities improvements and larger grants for capital projects.

Gouldsboro Adopts A 6-Month Finfish Aquaculture Ban

Gouldsboro residents overwhelmingly voted for a moratorium ordinance that immediately halts for six months the review and issuance of municipal permits for American Aquafarms or other proposed 10-acre-plus finfish aquaculture ventures seeking to base their operations in town. The ordinance gives the Gouldsboro Planning Board time to review, and possibly propose amendments to, the town’s comprehensive plan as well as its land use, site plan, subdivision, and shoreland zoning ordinances that currently do not address finfish aquaculture development.

The ordinance was created largely in response to American Aquafarms’ plan to convert East Coast Seafood Group’s dormant Maine Fair Trade complex in Prospect Harbor into a large-scale operation which would process 66 million pounds of Atlantic salmon per year and raise its own juvenile fish to replenish its stocks at a hatchery on site.

ASMFC Seeks Input on Lobster Vessel Tracking Requirement

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC) Lobster Management Board will meet via webinar on December 6 at 1pm to discuss the release of a draft plan to the public that would require electronic vessel tracking in the federal lobster and Jonah crab fisheries. This proposed action aims to address a critical need for high-resolution spatial and temporal data to characterize federal lobster fishing effort.

ASMFC has discussed potential specifications and requirements for tracking devices, harvesters, and states that will be necessary to ensure these data needs are met. ASMFC is planning to hold public hearings in January 2022 and adopt final measures in winter/spring 2022. For more information and to register to attend this meeting, go to

Maine's Fishing History Through One Family

A new book on a historic fishing family was published recently. The Nunans of Cape Porpoise was created by photographer Robert Dennis and writer Shelley Wigglesworth. It tells the story of the Nunan family's long history of fishing beginning in 1861 up to the present. The books is full of interviews with the current Nunan lobstermen in the Cape Porpoise fleet complete with photos of the Nunan fishermen, their boats, their forefathers, and of Nunan’s Lobster Hut, begun in 1953.

A portion of the proceeds from book sales benefit the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association. To learn more, visit


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