Offshore wind protest
AUGUSTA—Several local lobstermen are planning to head to Augusta later this month to voice their displeasure over offshore wind issues.
The protest is scheduled for April 28 at the Augusta Civic Center, said Ginny Olsen, a Stonington lobsterman and board member with the Maine Lobstering Union Local 207.
“The fisheries have been included in the information on the (offshore wind) research array, but we really haven’t been a part of the discussion,” she said. “We don’t feel as if we’ve been heard very well.”
The state plans to apply for the country’s first research array in the Gulf of Maine to learn about potential impacts of floating offshore wind.
The proposal has many fishermen concerned.
“This is our livelihood,” Olsen said. “This is not like closing down a mill where you can go to another mill to work in.”
Local fishermen planned to meet up in Trenton over this past weekend before heading down to Augusta. Olsen said she wants the protest to be productive and not just a group of fishermen raging.
“Ocean Optimism” talk
STONINGTON—Nancy Knowlton, author of “Citizens of the Sea,” will give a Zoom talk titled Ocean Optimism on April 30 as part of the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries ongoing talk series.
A retired marine biologist, Knowlton has been coming to the Blue Hill peninsula since 2011 and became a full-time resident in 2018.
She’s a big believer in the importance of local collaborations to achieve sustainability and brings considerable expertise in ocean science and a strong interest in science communication.
“While the ocean has suffered many losses and huge problems remain, important progress is being made in marine conservation,” the center wrote.
She believes a great focus on solutions and successes will help them become the norm rather than the exception.
The talk will begin at 12:30 p.m. and be held over Zoom. For more information, go to the center’s website at www.coastalfisheries.org.
Right whale case
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Marine Fisheries Service says it is “working toward completion” of the court-ordered new rules to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whales by the court’s deadline.
The service told the U.S. District Court in Washington at the end of March that it continues to work to meet the May 31 deadline set by the court for a new biological opinion.
A biological opinion is a document that shows whether a federal action is likely to jeopardize an endangered species’ existence.
The court had previously ruled that the service had violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing the lobster fishery to continue to operate despite a record number of whale entanglements.
As the case continues, right whales have started to arrive in New England waters. In March, 89 right whales were spotted in Cape Cod Bay, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported last week that the whales seem to be getting to the region earlier and staying longer.
ORONO—The state recently published a shellfish handbook to help coastal towns create management programs and encourage sustainable stewardship of the $24 million industry.
Changing ocean temperatures, shellfish predation, land use and fluctuating markets all pose threats to the shellfish industry, which relies on sustainable management, the Department of Marine Resources wrote in a statement.
The 56-page handbook was put out with the help of Maine Sea Grant and the University of Maine and provides updates on previous guidance with information on the history and biology of soft-shell clams, northern quahogs, oysters and blue mussels.
It also supplies a “toolbox” with advice on how to conduct shellfish surveys, protect and enhance stocks and deal with environmental changes in the fishery.
The handbook is available at www.seagrant.umaine.edu/resource/the-maine-shellfish-handbook.