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In the News - January 2023

New publication offers tips on working waterfront life “Scuttlebutt: How to Live and Work in a Waterfront Community” is a new guide created by the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, featuring Harpswell and aimed at educating the community, and new residents in particular, about living and working near the ocean. The association partnered with the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, Holbrook’s Community Foundation, Harpswell Anchor and Cundy’s Harbor Library to create the guide.

Gentrification along the Maine coast has intensified in the last few years with an influx of out-of-state homebuyers, and work changes that are drawing families to Maine’s coastal communities. The new guide attempts to illustrate what it’s like to live in a fishing community. “Scuttlebutt” includes information about the different types of fisheries in Harpswell, ways that homeowners can minimize their impact on the town’s coastal environment, tips for cooking local seafood, and information about preserving waterfront access for future generations.

Courtesy Maine.gov

2023 scallop harvest will be sharply lower The East Coast scallop fleet is expected to land around 25 million pounds in the 2023 fishing year. Survey results in 2022 showed scallop biomass is at its lowest since 1999, according to the New England Fishery Management Council. Scallop biomass has been steadily decreasing due to lower recruitment since 2013.

Yet scallops officially are not overfished and the stock is healthy. The value of landings for 2023 is projected at $398 million – far less than $670 million that the 43-million-pound harvest fetched in 2021.

For two decades, scallop fishing has followed a management system of rotational area closures; the Council has set aside four closed areas for 2023.

Company pulls out of Massachusetts wind farm In mid-December, Avangrid told Massachusetts state regulators that it wanted to end its contracts with three major utilities to build a massive wind farm south of Martha’s Vineyard. The move, made in a filing with the state Department of Public Utilities, was not unexpected: Avangrid had been trying to renegotiate contracts for its 1,200-megawatt Commonwealth Wind project to no avail, arguing that the original terms became untenable because of unforeseen supply chain costs and disruptions and increased interest rates. The company said that it may return to bid on another contract later this year.

Massachusetts law requires the state to send offshore wind contracts out to bid every two years, with a goal of securing a total of 5,600 megawatts of offshore wind energy by mid-2027.

Jonesport aquaculture project ready to break ground In December Kingfish Maine received the final approval needed to establish a land-based aquaculture operation in Jonesport. The local planning board finalized the Dutch firm’s building permit application, the final step required for pre-construction design and engineering for the company’s $110 million facility on land at Natt Point, roughly 5 miles from the center of town. The project is now fully permitted by local, state, and federal agencies. Once the Jonesport facility is fully operational, it is projected to produce 6,000 to 8,000 metric tons of yellowtail kingfish. The plan is to build a 500,000-square-foot facility and hire 70 to 100 people through a phased build-out. Groundwork is expected to begin in 2023.

NEFMC releases new cod rebuilding plan The New England Fishery Management Council recently released a 10-year rebuilding plan for Gulf of Maine cod stocks which has a 70% probability of rebuilding the beleaguered stock by 2033. Under Framework 65 to the rebuilding plan, the strategy is to set a fishing mortality rate at 60%. The low fishing mortality level will force low annual catch limits during the 10-year rebuilding period. The acceptable biological catch for cod for the 2023 and 2024 fishing is 551 metric tons already and will not change under the rebuilding plan.

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