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In the News: February 2014

Lobster processor expands capacity Maine Fair Trade Lobster, the lobster processor that last year took over operations at the former Stinson Seafood and Live Lobster plant in the local village of Prospect Harbor, is expanding its processing capacity. It closed the plant in January in order to do work within the storage and distribution portion of the facility. Maine Fair Trade Lobster said the project is expected to increase capacity at the plant by 50 percent. The Prospect Harbor plant employed more than 130 people and processed more than 4 million pounds of lobster during its first year of operation last year. The company is a joint operation between Connecticut-based Garbo Lobster and East Coast Seafood of Topsfield, Mass.

Gap between U.S., Canada lobster landings lessening Canada and the United States lobstermen have seen rising landings on both sides of the border in recent years. A new report by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans details this increase and the rate at which U.S. landings have grown relative to Canada’s. Back in 2003, Canada landed 49,837 metric tons of lobsters and the U.S. landed 32,515 tons for a combined catch of 82,352 metric tons. However, by 2012, Canada landed 71,528 metric tons with the U.S. close behind at 67,829 for a record high total of 139,357 metric tons. Based on a 10-year average, 56 per cent of total lobster landings come from Canada and 44 per cent from the United States. The report noted, however, that the U.S. has been gaining rapidly. By 2012, the percentage had changed to 51 per cent of total landings came from Canada and 49 percent from the U.S. The background document noted that Nova Scotia accounted for 76 per cent of the value of all Canadian live lobster exports in 2012. In terms of value, 81 percent of Canadian lobster exports were shipped in 2012 to the United States, followed by 8 percent to Europe (primarily Belgium, France and Germany), 4 percent to China and 3 percent to Japan.

Marine Patrol officers promoted The Maine Marine Patrol has recently announced the promotion of Matthew Talbot, a 12-year veteran of the bureau, and Tom Hale, a 16-year veteran, each to the rank of Sergeant. Talbot has taken over the position previously held by Lieutenant Marlowe Sonksen and is serving out of Rockland. Hale fills the York County post previously held by Sergeant Rob Beal and is based out of Scarborough. Sergeant Hale has served as a Marine Patrol Officer since 1997. The majority of his career has been spent in the Portland and western Casco Bay patrol. His new responsibilities as Sergeant include overseeing the five Marine Patrol Officers and Specialists as well as all Marine Patrol assets in Section I, which stretches from Kittery to Portland. Sergeant Hale holds a U.S. Coast Guard Captain license for 50-ton vessels. Sergeant Talbot began his career as an Officer in the Marine Patrol in 2001 and was promoted to Specialist in 2007. As Sergeant, his responsibilities include overseeing Marine Patrol Officers and assets in Section IV, which extends from Thomaston to the Penobscot River. Sergeant Talbot holds a U.S. Coast Guard Captain license for 100 ton vessels and a Mate license for 200 ton vessels.

New director at Aquaculture Research Institute Paul Anderson, director of Maine Sea Grant, has been appointed the new director of the Aquaculture Research Institute (ARI) at the University of Maine. ARI is a statewide resource for research, faculty expertise and facilities dedicated to informing the development of sustainable aquaculture. Anderson has directed the Maine Sea Grant since 2001, and will continue in that capacity. During his two-year appointment as ARI director, which began December 1, 2013, Anderson will oversee a strategic planning effort, an external review of the institute, and will work to align the faculty, student and facilities that are involved in aquaculture-related research towards common goals. “This is an important time in the evolution of aquaculture in the world and strong science is needed to help ensure that aquaculture is integrated in the working waterfront and into the food systems in an ecologically sustainable manner,” Anderson said. UMaine has aquaculture research facilities at three locations in the state: the Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research in Franklin; the research laboratory at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, and the Aquaculture Research Center in Orono.

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