BAR HARBOR—Last week, Governor Janet Mills issued a letter to all commercial fishing license holders outlining a series of actions to protect coastal fisheries from the impacts of offshore wind development.
These actions include a proposal for a 10-year moratorium on new wind projects for state-controlled waters, a review of offshore wind regulations and an extension of the permitting timeline for the Gulf of Maine floating offshore wind research array.
Her office is seeking input from commercial and recreational fishermen on “how and where fishing activities occur within the area of interest for a proposed offshore wind research array.” A survey to provide input that will be used in decisions for locating the proposed site can be found at arcg.is/LLfWj.
Lobster Advisory council meeting
BAR HARBOR — The next Lobster Advisory Council virtual meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. The meeting will take place remotely using Microsoft Teams and participants can access the meeting by telephone or computer.
Register for the meeting at http://bit.ly/3ps6poa by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10.
While this is not a hard deadline in order to participate, it is necessary for the Department of Marine Resources to be able to plan for the number of participants. Advanced registration is required to receive the link to the meeting.
Downeast Trout Unlimited meeting scheduled Feb. 17
ELLSWORTH — Downeast Trout Unlimited will present speakers from The Nature Conservancy in Maine at its online meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
A business meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., followed by the speakers.
At 5:45, Josh Royte will provide an overview of the conservancy’s projects in Maine. That will be followed at 6:15 by a talk by Ben Matthews, “River Restoration Techniques for Preserving Habitat.”
Royte is senior conservation scientist for The Nature Conservancy in Maine. His work encompasses large forest and river networks conservation planning, restoration and monitoring to detect change. He facilitates partnerships to implement conservation actions across broad ecoregions or site-specific locales on behalf of natural resources and the people who depend on them.
Matthews is a watershed restoration scientist for the conservancy. With a focus on reconnecting diadromous fish migration routes, he works with state and municipal officials to restore fish passage and increase flood resiliency in critical geographies across the state. He is heavily involved in the full spectrum of this work, from the development of decision support tools to providing construction oversight for project implementation.
The meeting is free and will be held via Zoom at the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEudOCsqTojHdAxim2W0csIvfqcodFc9joC. Registration is required.
Trout Unlimited is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and conservation of North American cold water fish species and their habitat. Membership is open to all. Go to tu.org/intro to join and use chapter code 305 for Downeast Trout Unlimited.
Contact Tammy Packie at 288-5442 or [email protected] for more information.
Hearing scheduled on Salt Pond lease
BLUE HILL – Tightrope Seafarms President Evan Young has applied for another aquaculture lease in the Salt Pond. A public hearing is scheduled for March 2.
Young is requesting two tracts, totaling 7.01 acres, for the bottom culture of American oysters. One is a 3.24-acre parcel south of uninhabited Carleton Island and the other is 3.77 acres southeast of the island. In between would be a navigation channel in the deeper water.
Oysters would be planted directly on the sea bottom from mid-summer through late fall and harvested throughout the year with divers, hand tools, and/or a small dredge except when there is ice on the pond. No surface gear is proposed.
“I am basically moving from growing oysters to market size in cages to transferring juveniles from cages to the bottom until they grow to market size,” Young wrote in his application.
Tightrope Seafarms holds three leases in the Salt Pond, totaling about 17 acres. At the time of the application, originally filed in March 2019, the company had approximately 600,000 oysters at various stages of growth in the Salt Pond.
In a site review prepared by the state Department of Marine Resources, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologist Becca Settele stated that “minimal impacts to wildlife are anticipated for this aquaculture site.”
A virtual public hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. March 2 via Microsoft Teams. To register, visit maine.gov/dmr/aquaculture/meetinglist.html.
MMA hosts free climate series
CASTINE — A spring seminar series hosted by Maine Maritime Academy’s Corning School of Ocean Studies got underway Jan. 18. The third session in the six-part virtual series is set for Feb. 8.
The presentations are by experts in climate impacts on lobster fisheries and mercury pollution; oil spills and environmental compliance; fuel-efficient vessel design; and operation of scientific equipment aboard large-scale research vessels. Each session is free and open to the public.
For more information about the series, including a list of upcoming topics and links for joining live, visit https://mainemaritime.edu/ocean-studies/seminar-schedule/. Recordings of past sessions also are available.
Intelligent vessel navigation
CASTINE — Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) has partnered with SailPlan, a maritime technology startup based in Reston, Va., to accelerate the development of an intelligent vessel’s development navigation platform and shoreside vessel control.
MMA will equip its fleet, including the R/V Quickwater, an autonomous 41-foot workboat, with SailPlan’s intelligent navigation platform. SailPlan will provide real-time fleet location and health monitoring to MMA’s Shore Control Center resulting in vessel telemetry being made available shoreside. SailPlan’s cloud-based route exchange capability will allow autonomous vessels to mitigate collision risks while optimizing routing for efficiency.
Sailplan’s navigation platform increases safety by capturing and analyzing data around vessel traffic, weather, berth availability and geographic awareness to provide situational awareness, resulting in the ability to optimize voyage plans, avoid congested waters and separate from potential collision scenarios to a far greater degree than is possible with current market solutions.