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In the News: May 2013

New elver bill goes into force The Maine Marine Patrol issued a summons on Tuesday, April 9 to Dale A. Boyington, 35, of Rockland for illegal possession of 11 pounds of elvers worth $22,100. Marine Patrol Sergeant Robert Beal was conducting surveillance at the York toll booth when he observed Boyington travelling north on interstate 95. Boyington was stopped near the Kennebunk exit on I-95 and cited him for possession of elvers without a Maine license. Illegal possession of elvers in Maine is now classified as a civil crime with a fine of up to $2,000. A new law LD 632, passed by the House and Senate, will criminalize all elver fishery violations. The bill requires an elver harvester to provide, upon request of a law enforcement officer or elver dealer, a government-issued identification with the harvester's photograph and birth date. The bill restricts the form of payment for the sale of elvers to a check. It also converts many elver fishing violations that are currently civil violations to Class D crimes, with the potential for jail time, and requires courts to impose the maximum $2000 fine for those Class D crimes.

2013 shrimp season a dud It wasn’t much of a shrimp season for Maine fishermen this year. The preliminary data released by the Department of Marine Resources indicate fewer than 600,000 pounds landed in the state during the season, which closed on April 12. One hundred and twenty-three shrimp trawlers brought in 529,260 pounds of Pandalus borealis; shrimp trappers landed just 32,252 pounds. The landings were the lowest seen since 1978, when the fishery was shut down entirely. In 2012, Maine fishermen landed 4,817,110 pounds.

Maine Fair Trade Lobster opening this summer Maine Fair Trade Lobster, a joint venture between Garbo Lobster and East Coast Seafood is ramping up to begin operations this summer. The plant is projected to start out processing 50,000 pounds of lobster a day, six days a week for up to nine months a year, which would put it on pace to process more than 10 million pounds each year. Garbo, based in Stonington, Conn., is the largest buyer of live lobster in Maine and has a live lobster storage and distribution facility about 20 miles away in Hancock. East Coast, based in Lynn, Mass., is a global distributor of Maine and Canadian lobster and owns and operates the Paturel lobster processing facility on Deer Island, just across the Canadian border in New Brunswick. A company planning to process lobster in the former Stinson Seafood plant is applying for a $500,000 federal grant to help renovate and equip the plant. The company then must demonstrate it can match the sought after Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollar for dollar. In this case, the project is tentatively estimated at a minimum of $2.6 million for the current phase with the company providing at least $1.6 million of its own funding.

The prodigal buoy returns

After traveling 186 miles over 48 days, buoy M has been recovered. The rescue mission took place aboard the OSV Scarlett Isabella, thanks to the University of Maine, and Boston Harbor Cruises, and Offshore Logistics.

Northeast Regional Association of Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) buoy M is owned and operated by the University of Maine’s Physical Oceanography Group and is routinely moored in Jordan Basin, approximately 60 miles southeast of Mount Desert Island. During winter storm Nemo in early February 2013, it broke loose from its mooring. During that storm buoys in the Gulf of Maine measured wave heights over 30 feet and wind gusts exceeding 55 mph.

Scientists at the University of Maine monitored the buoy daily as it drifted in the Gulf of Maine and worked diligently to coordinate the recovery, which required adequate weather and ship time. The recovery took place March 30 on the southern edge of George’s Bank where a crew gathered and recovered buoy M along with many of its instruments aboard the OSV Scarlett Isabella. The buoy and instruments have been returned to the University of Maine for inspection and repairs. A refurbished buoy will be deployed in Jordan Basin later this spring.

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