Maritime Shorts: New chairman, draft budget, applications complete

ASMFC gets new chairman 

BAR HARBOR — Maine Department of Marine Resources commissioner Patrick Keliher’s two-year term as chairmanship on the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission has come to an end. He was replaced by Spud Woodward of Georgia.   

“I want to thank outgoing Chair Pat Keliher for his steady hand on the tiller during a tumultuous two years, when he faced challenges unlike those of any of his predecessors,” Woodward said in a statement.   

Under Keliher’s leadership, the commission made strides to end overfishing of Atlantic striped bass, added management tools for Atlantic menhaden and achieved a positive stock status for four tautog populations. Most of Keliher’s time as chairman came during the pandemic.   

Woodward, now retired, worked for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for over 34 years. Joseph Cimino, Marine Fisheries Administrator for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, was elected vice-chair.  


Draft budget includes money for lobster industry 

WASHINGTON — The first draft of the federal fiscal year 2022 budget includes $15 million to support Maine’s lobster industry.   

The largest piece of that pie in the draft budget is a proposed $10 million to help the lobster industry comply with new right whale rules, according to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Collins also said that $4 million has been put into the draft to help with right whale research, monitoring and conservation efforts that would help lobstermen in the state.   

With several challenges ahead, the budget also included $765,000 to help the lobster industry plan for the future and $300,000 to help improve scientific understanding of right whale migration patterns.   

The bill must be voted on by the full Senate and House.   


Shellfish and algae application deemed complete 

STONINGTON — Robert Brewer’s application to grow shellfish and marine algae off Andrews Island in Stonington has been deemed complete, according to the state Department of Marine Resources.   

The application is to grow sea scallops, mussels and sugar kelp on a 3.26-acre plot for 20 years. Lobstering goes on around the site but because of the soft, muddy bottom at the plot, there’s been little fishing at the site, according to the application.   

Brewer proposed to grow the sugar kelp on long lines and the scallops in lantern nets and the Japanese ear-hanging method. The latter method is also being tested out in other parts of the state as scallop farming becomes more prevalent.   

DMR sent a notice out on Oct. 20 saying the application was completed. The agency will visit the site of the proposed lease and a public hearing will be scheduled after a report on the site visit is issued.   

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