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In the News: December 2015

New rain gear tailored for female fishermen


Monhegan wind power project receives grant The DeepCWind consortium, led by the University of Maine, received a $3.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in November. The money will allow the consortium to compete for a $40 million federal grant to install two six-megawatt wind turbines in deep water off Monhegan. The new federal money is in addition to funds awarded in 2014 to the Maine Aqua Ventus pilot project when it was named as an alternate to offshore projects in New Jersey, Virginia and Oregon. With the renewed funding, the consortium will accelerate development of its semi-submersible offshore wind turbine platform, which uses a lower-cost concrete foundation in addition to a lighter-weight composite tower which researchers contend will be higher performing, more efficient and cheaper to build than traditional platforms. Aqua Ventus will have until May 1, 2016, to meet additional milestones set by the DOE. The federal agency then will decide on May 31 which pilot offshore wind projects will receive additional funding under the federal Offshore Wind Advanced Technology Demonstration Project.

Researchers worry about green crab parasites New research is raising more concerns about the potential transfer of diseases from the invasive green crab to lobster in Nova Scotia waters. Dalhousie University research scientist Fraser Clark released a study earlier this year showing that high levels of a parasite found in green crabs are being seen off southern Nova Scotia where the crab has been introduced as a lobster bait. Clark said a bacteria lethal to lobsters has now been found in green crab along the province’s Northumberland Strait, the presence of which was only recently confirmed by genomic testing. Feeding trials are the next step to establish whether in fact infected green crab are passing diseases to lobsters. He noted that the connection remains unproven but that it justifies caution in using green crab as lobster bait. Lobsters with high loads of green crab parasites have a higher metabolism causing them to burn fat much faster, perhaps decreasing their ability to survive in holding tanks.

Canadian research finds lobster stocks genetically diverse The Canadian Fisheries Research Network, a collaboration between academic researchers, the fishing industry and government, wrapped up several research projects that began in 2010. One of those projects included an exhaustive look at lobster stocks in 17 locations from Newfoundland all the way to Rhode Island. There were five components to the research, including a genetic study — the first of its kind in the world — in which researchers sequenced more than 10,000 little stretches of DNA from lobsters from each of the 17 locations. They found 11 distinct variations of lobster, findings that contradict a previous study which concluded that there were only two distinct groupings of lobster, those in the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy region and those from the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Scientists expressed surprise at the varied genetic differences across the region. The five-year research project involved five provinces, 17 fishermen’s associations, five Department of Fisheries and Oceans offices, the Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and five universities.

Greenhead Lobster Co. expanding Buoyed by this year’s strong lobster season, high prices and increased Chinese demand for live lobster, Greenhead Lobster of Stonington is considering entry into processing to expand its business. Dan Phillips, a Greenhead salesman, said that the company is pursuing plans to create a small operation to cook lobster meat amid growing demand for lobster rolls in the U.S. market. Greenhead Lobster anticipates completion of a 20,000 square-foot processing and shipping plant in Seabrook, New Hampshire, by January, 2016. The processing venture would be an extension of that venture, Phillips said. The New Hampshire facility, located 30 minutes from Boston’s Logan International Airport, will make it easier to ship live lobsters worldwide, including to China, where demand for lobster continues to grow. The company’s sales into the China market currently focus on sending live lobsters to major cities such as Shanghai and Beijing as well as smaller eastern cities like Qingdao.


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