Maritime Shorts: Ocean acidification, whale entanglements, flooding trend

Gulf of Maine talk 

STONINGTON — The Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries is holding a talk at the end of the month about ocean acidification in the Gulf of Maine.  

The hour-long panel decision will delve into coastal acidification’s impact on scallops and softshell clams, methods of remediation and future projections for the gulf.  

The talk will be moderated by Libby Jewett, the director of the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program. Panelists include Samantha Siedleck with the University of Connecticut, Dr. Nichole Price with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and Dr. Robert J. Holmberg from the Downeast Institute. 

The event is scheduled for July at 12:30 p.m. It is free and will be held over Zoom. Those wishing to attend are asked to register on the center’s website. 


Whale entanglement  

NEW BRUNSWICK — Canadian officials confirmed that there was a right whale entangled east of Miscou Island in New Brunswick last week.  

Fisheries and Oceans Canada said it was tracking the and would try to disentangle it if weather and sea conditions allowed.  

The whale was identified as EG#4615, a 5-year-old male, and it appeared badly injured. According to Canadian officials, this was the first right whale entanglement in Canadian waters since 2019.  

The CBC also reported that the Campobello Whale Rescue team tried earlier this month to disentangle Snow Cone, a 16-year-old female right whale that was first spotted entangled off the coast of Massachusetts in the winter. She was most recently spotted by survey planes near Miscou Island.  


Flooding trend 

BAR HARBOR — Coastal communities across the U.S. saw record-setting high tide flooding in 2020, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a trend that is expected to carry on into 2022 and beyond without “improved flood defenses.” 

The news came in the 2021 State of High Tide Flooding and Annual Outlook, which is a report from the federal agency. The report documented changes in high-tide flooding patterns in the U.S. from May 2020 to April 2021, with 97 tide gauges along the U.S.   

One of those sites was Bar Harbor, which had 13 flood days, according to the data. The average number of flood days in 2000 was seven and the record number of flood days for the town is 30.  

NOAA projects Bar Harbor could have four to 14 flood days in 2021, 20 to 35 in 2030 and 45 to 90 in 2050, according to the report. 

High-tide flooding, also known as sunny day flooding, is increasingly common due to years of sea level rise. It occurs when tides reach anywhere between 1.76 to 2 feet above the daily average high tide and starts to spill onto streets or bubble up from storm drains.  

As sea level rise continues, damaging floods could become more frequent.   

Coastal communities saw twice as many high tide flooding days than they did 20 years ago. That trend is expected to continue. 

Ethan Genter

Ethan Genter

Former reporter for the Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander, Ethan covered maritime news and the town of Bar Harbor.

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