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In the News: January 2011

Karl Brooks passes away Karl M. Brooks, 84, longtime proprietor of Brooks Trap Mill in Thomaston, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, November 30, 2010, at his home. Born in Rockland, August 17, 1926, he was one of nine children of Michael and Hilma Erickson Brooks. Both his parents were born in Finland. Speaking Finnish at home, Karl learned to speak English while attending Thomaston schools. A junior in high school in 1944, he joined the Navy and served in the South Pacific until being discharged in 1946. Returning to Maine, Karl completed high school and attended the University of Maine under the GI Bill. In the mid-1950s, he moved to Eastport where he worked as a scallop/lobster fisherman on his own boat. He also worked building boats with his friend, Preston Kinney. During this same period, Karl developed an interest in nutrition. He returned to the University of Maine, earning a Masters degree in psychology. From 1959 to 1966, Karl continued his studies at the University of Florida, earning his PhD. in physiological psychology. Brooks Trap Mill started in 1946 as a trap stock mill, begun by Karl’s father Michael. Karl and his brother Lawrence expanded the business during the 1970s. He became sole owner of the company in 1986. Brooks Trap Mill expanded again in the 1990s and developed several specialized wire mesh cutting machines for cutting wire trap parts. Brooks Trap Mill currently operates in Thomaston, Bath and Portland. Karl is survived by his wife Sally of Thomaston, two sons, Mark F. Brooks and his wife Jody of Cushing, Stephen T. Brooks and his wife Janelle of Thomaston; his daughter Julie B. Russo and her husband John of Thomaston; his brothers, Raynold Brooks and his wife, Jean of Owls Head, Lawrence Brooks and his wife Kay of Cushing, Michael Brooks and his wife Diane of Warren; his sisters, Irene Williams, Eleanor Trump and her husband Ronald, all of Maryland, Florien Simons of Florida; seven grandchildren, Hayley, Erika, Sydney, Makenna, Jillian, Kelsey, Lindsey, as well as many nieces and nephews.

South Thomaston lobsterman lost at sea David Mahonen, 38, of South Thomaston, died at sea on Sunday, December 12. Mahonen was one of the crew aboard the Timothy Michael out of Newport, Rhode Island, when he became tangled in gear and fell overboard as the vessel was fishing approximately 30 miles south of Matinicus Island. Crew members tried to get a life ring to Mahonen in the water, but were unsuccessful. Seas at the time were running 12-18 feet and winds were 30 to 40 knots with gusts to 45 knots.

Downeast Institute expands On Saturday, December 5, Downeast Institute of Applied Marine Research (DEI), located on Black Duck Cove on Great Wass Island, opened its new education center. DEI is a nonprofit organization that has an understanding with the University of Maine to provide hands-on marine research opportunities. The new marine education center is the culmination of a 10-year-old idea, said Brian Beal, director of the institute, said. “This will improve educational opportunities for children, community members, fishermen and students at the university. This is now a year-round facility for learning.” Public seminars, speakers, forums and classes can be held in the facility, which abuts the lab where Beal now conducts his research on clams, scallops and lobsters. DEI now has $678,000 in research projects under way. They include $400,000 for research into multiple farming techniques for northern hard clams; $90,000 for oyster farming research; $163,165 to increase sea scallop harvests through stock enhancement; $25,000 to spawn and seed surf clams in natural field plots. The new marine education center is part of a 9,000-square-foot facility that also includes a commercial wharf and two working impoundments. “We believe that stock enhancement and other programs here at DEI will result in new economic opportunities for downeast Maine,” Beal said.

By-catch loophole closed The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) finalized a new rule for the Atlantic herring fishery that would require all fish caught inside a critical spawning ground for cod, haddock and other groundfish to be brought onboard and documented by federal observers. A former loophole allowed for the dumping of catch before observers could inspect it, violating the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The rule is the result of a lawsuit Earthjustice filed in 2009 against NMFS on behalf of commercial fishermen Peter Taylor and Stuart Tolley of Chatham, Massachusetts, and Bob St. Pierre of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts. Herring industrial trawlers were initially banned from fishing in groundfish spawning areas, but in 1998 federal regulators re-opened them to midwater trawlers. As a result of significant groundfish bycatch documented in 2008 in Closed Area 1, a protected groundfish nursery area southeast of Cape Cod, protocols were instituted to require all catch to be brought on board the trawlers. The rule issued by NMFS in November 2009, however, contained a loophole that allowed for the dumping of catch before observers could inspect it. The new rule eliminates the loophole that allowed trawlers to dump the fish left in their nets after fish pumps used to bring most of the catch on board were turned off. This change will restore the intent of the original rule to require that all fish be brought on board and accounted for. “This rule will make it so midwater trawlers fishing in Closed Area I are held to rigorous standards like those that groundfish fishermen face every day,” said Ben Martens, policy analyst for the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association.

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