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In the News: November 2015

Prospect Harbor processor expanding again Maine Fair Trade Lobster, which has been processing lobsters in Prospect Harbor for three years, formed a new partnership with Forum Capital Group of Jacksonville, Florida, in October. Maine Fair Trade Lobster, which includes Garbo Lobster, East Coast Seafood and now Forum Capital, expects to more than double its production this year to 9 million pounds from 4.3 million pounds in 2013. The size of Forum Capital’s investment was not disclosed, but Maine Fair Trade Lobster said the funds will enable the company to add products, improve logistics and increase operating efficiencies. Maine Fair Trade Lobster also is looking at building employee housing to expand its work force from 150 to possibly as many as 225 employees. Employee dormitories would be built on a hillside the company owns that overlooks the plant. The company’s customers include, among others, Legal Seafood and Costco.

Liberal Party wins big in Canada Justin Trudeau will be Canada’s next prime minister after leading the Liberal Party to a majority government win, dashing the hopes of Conservative Stephen Harper, who has been in power since 2006. This will be the second time for Canada to be led by a Trudeau, as the 43-year-old Liberal leader follows in the footsteps of his father, the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who served as prime minister for almost 16 years before retiring in 1984.

Monitors on vessels starting December 1 New England groundfishermen will have to start paying for at-sea monitors on their vessels beginning December 1, unless emergency measures are taken. NOAA officials said the money the agency had been using to pay for monitors who work in New England will run out around that date. The monitors will cost more than $700 per trip. The new cost is almost certain to put people out of work in a struggling fishery that is already challenged by declining fish stocks and tough quotas, said Ben Martens, executive director of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association. The At-Sea Monitoring requirement to be paid by fishermen was adopted as part of Amendment 16 to the Northeast (NE) Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). This program is separate from the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program (NEFOP) which is funded by NMFS to collect biological data on both target and bycatch species for federal fisheries. The New England lobster industry experienced a major expansion in observer trips under the NEFOP program in 2015.

Exploratory drilling to begin in Canadian waters Shell Canada Ltd. has received the go ahead from the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board to begin exploratory drilling off the coast of Nova Scotia. One authorization allows the company to begin preparatory work offshore at an exploration site 250 kilometers from southwestern Nova Scotia. A second permit lets Shell begin drilling the first well, called Cheshire. Cheshire would be the first well drilled off the province’s coast in a decade. The drill ship will remain offshore for 10 to 11 months, the company said. Shell also plans to drill a second well during that time.

American Eels are Not Endangered On October 7, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the American eel is stable and does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The decision, also known as a 12-month finding, follows an in-depth status review on a 2010 petition to list the eel as threatened under the ESA. After examining the best scientific and commercial information available regarding past, present and future stressors facing the species, the Service determined the eel’s single population is overall stable and not in danger of extinction (endangered) or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (threatened). Nonetheless, for the species’ long-term stability, the agency recommends continuing efforts to maintain healthy habitats, monitor harvest levels, and improve river passage for migrating eels. This is the second time the Service has evaluated the American eel for listing under the ESA and found listing not warranted. The first decision came in 2007 after an extensive status review.

Have a tailgate party with lobster tails Tailgating celebrations have taken on a life of their own off the field, with more chefs and home cooks creating unique dishes to serve to their guests. To drive demand for Maine lobster tails and leverage the existing interest in tailgating, the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative took action on social media to engage fans and followers with clever football-related visuals and recipe inspiration. They also engaged media and food industry leaders by sharing Maine lobster tail recipes perfect for any tailgate gathering, whether at the game or at home with friends and family.

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