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In the News: February 2015

Fifteen tons of old rope purchased in January Recent rope buybacks in Jonesboro, Hancock, Rockland, Harpswell and Cape Elizabeth, Maine, removed over 28,000 pounds of old, used and retired lobster fishing line from the waste stream and secured its future as part of a massive rope sculpture by New York artist Orly Genger. Additional line collected from Fall River, Massachusetts, and West Kingston, RI, contributed another ton to the load. Twenty-two lobstermen participated in this round of the rope buybacks, and were paid fifty cents per pound ($.50/lb) for rope which met the artist’s criteria. These regional buybacks are part of a two-year-long series of collections to procure 3 million feet or approximately 180,000 pounds of rope for Genger, who will transform it into a monumental outdoor public sculpture to be permanently installed in South Korea in 2016. Since 2009, site-specific works by Genger have been created from hundreds of thousands of pounds of retired rope from the Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island inshore and offshore lobster and crab fisheries. To complete the South Korean project, another 80,000 pounds of rope will be needed before September 2015. Additional rope buyback dates and locations will be announced in the spring of 2015.

NOAA survey ship returns The Gulf of Maine is the first area to be surveyed by NOAA ships in 2015, with a hydrographic project scheduled for about 142 square nautical miles in January and February. NOAA ship Ferdinand R. Hassler will conduct the survey from January 5 to February 13, subject to weather and operational conditions, to acquire data for nautical chart updates. The Hassler will survey areas from Fletcher Neck to Moody Beach, and from Taylor Reef to Woody Island, which are heavily trafficked by commercial fishermen and are priority areas for NOAA chart updates. After the Hassler acquires the soundings and other observations with her multibeam echosounder and sidescan sonar, the data goes to NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey hydrographic processing team in Norfolk, and then to cartographers who will update charts by this summer. You can track the ship’s route on the Marine Traffic Web site http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/details/ships/shipid:457316/mmsi:369970091/imo:9478559/vessel:FERDINAND_R_HASSLER

Renowned lobster restaurant, business up for sale Cook’s Lobster House is on the market. The Bailey Island waterfront restaurant is listed for sale at $1.79 million. Current owner Curt Parent promises to open in the spring for the restaurant’s 60th year despite being for sale. The propertyincludes a 5,320-square-foot, one-story building on 1.37 acres. The restaurant is popular among Maine residents and tourists for its views of Merriconeag Sound and Garrison Cove. It also includes a large lobster shipping operation. Cook’s Lobster House has had two owners since 1955. Parent started as a dishwasher at the restaurant in the 1970s and then later bought the business.

2014 catch, value up on Prince Edward Island A big jump in fall catches helped push P.E.I.’s 2014 lobster numbers past 2013 totals. While spring landings dropped slightly, fall landings were up 16.3 percent. That spike in fall landings pushed overall P.E.I. landings in 2014 up 1.2 percent over 2013. The increase in landed value was even more significant. Spring fishermen in 2014 received, on average, about 75 cents more per pound for their catch than they did the previous year, and fall fishermen saw their average price increase by 86 cents. The fall fishery landings jumped nearly three-quarters of a million pounds to 5,554,881 pounds and that, coupled with the price increase, saw the value of the fall catch increase more than 51 per cent to $20,711,185 in the season that closed in October, 2014. The value of the Island’s total catch of 29,116,206 pounds was $114,751,870, an increase of more than $23 million.

N.S. Penny-a-pound proposal goes to the public The Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture will hold a series of 16 meetings with lobstermen and seafood processors throughout February to discuss creation of a “penny a pound” levy on lobster to pay for increased marketing and promotion of Canadian lobster. Both processors and lobstermen would each pay one penny for each pound of lobster landed. The meetings will allow both sectors of the fishery to share views on the proposed fee, talk about what the money could be used for, and how the fund could be collected and administered.

Two win Rockland Lobster Trap Tree raffle Two lobstermen were winners in Rockland’s annual Lobster Trap Raffle sponsored by Rockland Main Street, Inc. The traps are used to construct the Lobster Trap Christmas Tree that is on display from Thanksgiving through the first week of January at Mildred Merrill Park overlooking Rockland Harbor. Donald ‘Jib’ McMahan, Jr. of Owls Head, and Billy Bob Faulkingham of Winter Harbor each won 50 of the traps when their tickets were drawn by Rockland Mayor Frank Isganitis on January 5. The traps were manufactured by Brooks Trap Mill in Thomaston. The winning tickets were both purchased at Brooks, which was one of the sales outlets for the raffle tickets. In addition to Brooks Trap Mill, Camden National Bank branches in Rockland, Thomaston, Vinalhaven and Waldoboro, and Hamilton Marine in Rockland, also served as sales outlets for the raffle. Of the maximum number of 300 available tickets, 269 tickets were sold. The proceeds of the raffle, after expenses, go to Rockland Main Street, Inc., a non-profit, advocacy organization whose efforts are centered on economic development and historic preservation.

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