Discovery Wharf to reopen
STONINGTON—The Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries will reopen its marine education center later this month.
The Discovery Wharf in downtown Stonington will be open to the public starting June 22. The interpretive center will have a limited schedule and a new reservation system.
Discovery Wharf was closed due to the pandemic and the new booking system will let staff follow health guidelines and follow proper cleaning procedures between visitors.
Some of the attractions at the center include a marine touch tank, an interactive display wall and a virtual reality exhibit.
“We are looking forward to meeting visitors at our location on Stonington Harbor so we can continue to help people understand fishing and the seafood economy of eastern Maine,” said executive director Paul Anderson.
The wharf will be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations can be made online.
Mask requirement for commercial fishermen
LEWISTON — U.S. Rep Jared Golden (D-Maine) has asked the Coast Guard and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to drop the mask requirements for commercial fishing vessels, according to a statement from Golden’s office last week.
“I write in response to feedback from Maine fishermen who report that the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is enforcing a mask mandate on commercial fishermen that applies at all times when they are onboard a fishing vessel,” he wrote. “While I understand the importance of masking for COVID-19 mitigation, I respectfully urge your agencies to collaborate to update masking requirements for commercial fishermen.”
Golden said he’s heard from fishermen who say they’ve been stopped by the Coast Guard for violating the mask requirements and he wanted to see the guidance updated so it does not apply to small commercial fishing vessels.
The CDC currently requires masks on “public modes of transportation,” including “public maritime vessels, including ferries.” The CDC and USCG, according to Golden, have interpreted that to include commercial fishing vessels, even though those boats are not open to the public.
“Since the start of the pandemic, many in the fishing industry quarantined together to keep crews and families safe,” said Ginny Olsen, a Stonington lobsterman and executive board member of the Maine Lobstering Union. “Fishermen see their crew more time than their family some days, and for the Coast Guard to disrupt their work like this is extremely unfair.”
Right whale calf
NOVA SCOTIA—A new right whale calf was spotted by a naturalist on a whale watch boat off Brier Island, Nova Scotia, last month. The calf, identified as the offspring of the whale known as “Lobster,” is the 18th right whale of the season, according to the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life.
Calving in the 2010 decade has been well below the annual average of 23 from the previous decade, and while 18 is still relatively low, it is the highest calf count since 2013, according to the center.
With fewer than 400 North Atlantic right whales left on earth, each birth is critical.
“The increase in calving is encouraging as it shows us that these whales are resilient and will not only survive, but thrive if we effectively eliminate human-caused injuries and mortalities,” the center wrote.