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In the News: January 2012

NERACOOS receives federal funding The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently allocated $1.8 million in federal funds to the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) in order to collect data for the benefit of the fishing and shipping industries. Funding will be distributed to the University of Maine Physical Oceanography Group; the Gulf of Maine Research Institute; the University of New Hampshire; the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth; the University of Rhode Island; the University of Connecticut; and the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Nova Scotia.

Irving Oil communications In 1992, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association drafted a gentlemen’s agreement with Irving Oil vessels regarding their shipping routes to and from Searsport and Portland. Recently, fishermen in the Bar Harbor area had noticed Irving tankers deviating from the agreed transit route. John Logan, a representative from Irving, explained there are “four product tankers under time charter that transit regularly down the Maine coast. We approached these ships about the concern you raised and it appears that one of them could have been occasionally going outside the prescribed routing. The ships are all clearly aware of the requested route.” He explained that circumstances do arise where routes change for safety reasons, but he encouraged the MLA to continue to communicate any issues. If fishermen in the region see Irving Oil vessels outside of the transit area, they are welcome to contact the MLA with that information. Email annie@mainelobstermen.org or call 207-967-4555.

Softer Canadian lobsters this season Warm water temperatures are being blamed for the comparatively high percentage of soft-shell lobsters this season in Lobster Fishing Areas (LFA) 33 and 34 in Nova Scotia. Lobster processors in Yarmouth, however, note that graders are seeing 90 percent hardshell product, according to a recent article in CBC News. Processors are concerned that early season reports are affecting the marketability of their product because of a public perception that the lobsters are sick. According to a 2011 pre-season report conducted in late October by the Atlantic Veterinary College Lobster Science Center in Prince Edward Island, “only Cape Sable Island Inside and Outside had over 80% of the sampled lobsters classified as ‘hard shell,’ while the Moose Harbour sample had less than 50% of the lobsters in hard shell.”

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