SOUTHWEST HARBOR— As the town looks to replace Harbormaster Adam Thurston, there will also be a deputy harbormaster position to fill when the season begins in 2021.
Replacing Thurston in the way he is currently scheduled would be ‘unique,’ Town Manager Justin VanDongen told selectmen during their meeting last week. After discussing the parameters of a deputy harbormaster position, which would include working weekends and on an as-needed basis, selectmen voted 4-1 in favor of creating the position. Selectman George Jellison opposed the motion.
VanDongen also told the board that there is money in the FY21 budget to pay for the position to begin the season next summer. As the FY22 budget is created, a line to continue the position will need to be included, he added.
NOAA awards $850,000
BAR HARBOR — Grant funds continue to flow into the Maine commercial lobster fishery on the heels of $2 million research grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Sea Grant American Lobster Initiative announced in September. NOAA is also behind these awards directed at monitoring the fishery:
- A grant of $250,000 to further test and develop vessel monitoring systems for lobster vessels. According to the Maine Department of Research, the funds will purchase 20 monitoring devices, cover staff verifying data generated by the trackers and fund integration of monitoring data with the new DMR harvester reporting application currently being created.
- A grant of $600,000 to meet the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASFMC) requirement to have 100 percent lobster harvest reporting in place by January 2024. The DMR plans to use the funds to support yearly maintenance on a new harvester reporting application, and to hire more staff.
There are approximately 6,000 harvesters who will be required to report daily trip-level information. The DMR’s goal is to have full reporting in place a year prior to the ASFMC deadline but “that date is dependent on securing additional funds needed to fully implement,” DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher noted in his November newsletter.
Scallop lottery winners announced
BAR HARBOR — The Maine Department of Marine Resources has announced the latest winners of the state’s scallop license lottery. Benjamin Murphy of Southwest Harbor (drag license) and Ailin Rafferty of Bernard (dive license) are among the 14 to receive one.
The new licenses are the result of a limited entry system established by the legislature and implemented through regulation in June 2018 that allows someone who did not hold a scallop license in the previous year to be eligible for one.
Lottery winners were chosen at random by InforME, an enterprise created in 1997 by state law to ensure access to public information through technological solutions.
Maine’s scallop fishery has rebounded since 2009, when landings were 79,923 meat pounds (without the shell), to 415,818 meat pounds harvested in 2019.