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In the News: July 2013

Lobster Industry Invests in its Future The Legislature approved a major expansion of industry funding for marketing of Maine lobster. The Maine Lobster Promotion Council will be replaced by the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative which will be funded by Maine’s lobstermen, dealers and processors at $750k in year 2014, $1.5 million in 2015, and $2.25 million in 2016 through 2018. The law establishes an 11 member board comprised of 4 harvesters, 3 dealers/processors, 2 public and 2 ex-officio members (Commissioner of DMR and Department of Economic and Community Development). The DMR Commissioner will appoint the board to serve during the transition period from 2013 through 2018. A third party audit to assess the effectiveness of the Collaborative’s work will be presented to the Marine Resources Committee by January 2018. The law will sunset in October 2018 unless it is reauthorized by the Legislature. A bill to appropriate $1million from the General Fund to support marketing of Maine lobster was not included in the Legislature’s budget.


New Marine Patrol Officers start work Two new Officers have joined the ranks of the Maine Marine Patrol. DeniAnne Dow of Potsdam, New York (2nd from left) and Brandon Bezio of Ticonderoga, New York (2nd from right) were sworn in Friday, May 24, 2013 at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy by Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Patrick Keliher (left). Welcoming the new Officers was Colonel Joseph Fessenden, Chief of the Maine Marine Patrol (right). “These new Marine Patrol Officers have a great career ahead of them as well as a tremendous responsibility,” said Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “They will develop a broad set of skills and knowledge that are unique to the Marine Patrol and will learn to work effectively in the dynamic marine environment and in Maine’s coastal communities.” Both officers will participate in the Marine Patrol’s three-week training program which covers a range of issues from law to navigation before starting patrol duty. After completing the training program Brandon will patrol out of Port Clyde and DeniAnne will patrol out of Boothbay.

VolturnUS revs up The VolturnUS 1:8, a 65-foot-tall prototype floating turbine prototype created by the University of Maine through the DeepCwind consortium, started producing electricity in June. The VolturnUS, which is anchored off Castine, is a 1:8th scale model of a proposed 6-megawatt (MW) turbine. The turbine, which was assembled at Cianbro’s facility in Brewer and towed nearly 30 miles from Brewer to Castine by Maine Maritime Academy, is now anchored in 80 feet of water. It is the first offshore wind turbine in North America connected by undersea cable directly the the electricity grid. Following the test run in June, the DeepCwind Consortium plans to build two 6 MW VolturnUS floating turbines to be moored off Monhegan Island in 2016. Design for these giant turbines is currently underway, funded in part though a DOE competition called the Advanced Technology Demonstration Program for Offshore Wind.


Portland lobsters on the move

Portland Harbor will undergo dredging this winter, according to Tom Robbins, chair of the Portland Harbor Commission. The dredging is due to begin sometime after November 1 and continue to April 1, 2014.

The area to be dredged runs from the inner harbor Veterans’ Bridge area to Bug Light at the tip of South Portland. “We haven’t picked a contractor yet,” Robbins said in early June.

The harbor commission will oversee the relocation of lobsters found within the planned dredge area. “We will use 300 specially-designed traps that have no escape vent and a little smaller mesh. Two weeks ahead of the time scheduled to dredge a particular spot, we will set the traps,” Robbins explained. After a two-day set, the traps will be hauled. The captured lobsters will be counted and their sex and size noted. Then they will be moved to a site somewhere nearby as designated by the Department of Marine Resources. “We will be out there every day for the two weeks, then jump to the next spot,” Robbins said.

The commission is looking for lobstermen to take part in the relocation project. It will pay lobstermen an hourly wage and cover the cost of bait and fuel. When dredging took place in 1998, the Casco Bay Estuary Project supervised lobster relocation, moving approximately 30,000 lobsters from the inner harbor to another site. “We’ve heard that the inner harbor population is down a bit compared to the last time,” Robbins said. He could not estimate how long the dredging would take to be completed. “We will know when the bids are opened. Last time the dredge scoop was the size of a trailer truck. It moved pretty fast.

After 26 years Portland Trap has a new home

Portland Trap, a division of Brooks Inc., has moved to 222 Riverside Street, Portland. The new location opened on May 7 . Portland Trap has been building lobster traps and servicing commercial fishermen for 26 years at a small location on Union Wharf. The new location is a much larger 2,400 sqare foot building, with a large outdoor parking area and storage space.

Portland Trap will now carry stock-traps and used lobster traps, as well as custom built traps. In addition, they will carry a full line of rope, buoys, and trap supplies. Their inventory of buoy paint, bottom paint, pumps, zincs, stereos, foul weather gear, boots, gloves, sunglasses, and other items has expanded to fill in the new space.

Brooks Inc. was started as Brooks Mill over 60 years ago by Michael Brooks, the grandfather of the current three owners. The present owners of Brooks, Inc. are Mark Brooks, Julie (Brooks) Russo, and Stephen Brooks, all three of whom are fully involved in managing the business. Brooks Inc. operates in four locations: Thomaston, Portland, West Bath, and Jonesboro. The company manufactures and distributes lobster traps, as well as shrimp, crab, fish, and other specialty traps throughout the eastern United States and Canada.

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