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Keeping pace with maine’s lobster stocks: DMR’s sea samplers

I am 33 years old and I grew up in Freeport, Maine.Whose boats were you on this summer, what part of the coast?

So far this year, starting in January, I’ve been out of Spruce Head, Bar Harbor, Milbridge, Cutler, South Bristol, Friendship, New Harbor, Vinalhaven, Corea, Boothbay Harbor, Wiscasset, Gouldsboro, Southport and Northeast Harbor, 19 trips total. I also sample the Ventless Trap Survey Trips with Billy Bob Faulkingham in Winter Harbor, Sam Hyler out of Northeast Harbor and Mike Dawson in New Harbor. I’ve done 10 trips total with them. I typically sample zones A thru E, but there are many other samplers who cover the same area and zones F and G. We all work as a team to get the sampling done. What caused you to get involved with sea sampling?

I have always been interested in marine biology, which is why I attended the University of North Carolina in Wilmington for my Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Biology. After college, I joined the Peace Corps and lived in Western Samoa for two years working for the Ministry of Fisheries collecting data on the fish reserves around the islands. After my time in the Peace Corps was over, I took a job in Alaska as a North Pacific groundfish observer, where I worked on commercial vessels out of Dutch Harbor and Kodiak.

Traveling back and forth from Maine to Alaska for almost four years became exhausting so I decided I wanted to come back home to Maine. I knew I wanted to continue working on the ocean and collecting data for research. I also wanted to interact with the men and women of the lobster industry whom I respect and admire for working extremely hard, day in and day out. My goal when I’m sampling is to work accurately and as quickly as possible. The largest number of lobsters I have measured in a day was more than 5,400, so it can be a bit overwhelming at times. I also try to help out when I can with baiting and banding to make the day easier. That’s the goal anyway!How would you characterize generally the lobsters you’ve seen in your sampling?

During our June Ventless Trap Survey trip, Billy Bob and I had 3,795 lobsters in 93 traps. With Mike and Sam, the numbers were over 3,000 as well. July and August trips had high numbers too. So for me, this summer season I’ve been seeing a lot of juveniles, but since the Ventless Survey is focused on this population, it makes sense!What was the weirdest thing you saw in a trap this year?

I’ve seen some great lumpfish like this bright red one in the Sheepscot. I’ve seen calico lobsters, lobsters with strange mutations, really old lobsters. Not really weird stuff, but some pretty great things!What will you be doing when the sea sampling season is over?

I sample during the winter as well, so I’ll be doing the same thing, I’ll just be a lot colder!

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