Herring spawning ground closure
BAR HARBOR — Maine’s eastern herring spawning grounds are closed to fishing due to a lack of female herring in the gonadal stages, according to federal regulators.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced this week the closure of the fishery from Aug. 28 through Oct. 9.
The commission’s herring board requires a minimum of three samples of at least 25 female herring at the certain stage of development. If there are insufficient samples, closures can be triggered.
Vessels are not allowed to take, land or possess any herring in the spawning grounds. All vessels in the spawning area must have all seine and mid-water trawl gear stowed.
AUGUSTA — The Department of Marine Resources is taking comments on the proposed 2021-2022 scallop fishing season rules.
The daily possession limits of 15 gallons for Zone 2, the area that Hancock County is in, remains unchanged. Zone 2 would have a 70-day season for draggers that would start on Dec. 1 and the last day would be March 31, 2022. The 70-day diver season would start on Nov. 19 and end on March 26, 2022.
New limited access areas would include Gouldsboro/Dyers Bay and West Moosabec Reach. Territorial waters around Machias Seal Island and North Rock would be open to harvest all days from December through the end of March.
Individuals may not enter both lotteries for scallop dragging license or hand harvesting.
Limited access areas would include Western Penobscot Bay, Muscle Ridge, Whiting and Denny’s Bay and existing closures of Lower Muscle Ridge, Upper Sheepscot River, New Meadows River, Card Cove and Beals-Jonesport Bridge would be maintained.
Public hearings on the season will be held on Sept. 13 at University of Maine at Machias, Sept. 14 at the DMR’s office in Augusta and Sept. 16 at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer. All the meetings will be held at 6 p.m. Masks will be required regardless of vaccination status in Machias, and for those who are not fully vaccinated in Augusta and Brewer.
Comments on the proposed season are due by Sept. 26.
Oyster farm application approval
SORRENTO — The Department of Marine Resources approved a local oyster farmer’s application for a 20-year, 5.82-acre lease off Ingalls Island in Sullivan Harbor.
The department’s decision on Graham Platner’s Frenchman Bay Oyster Company was approved last week. Platner already had smaller licenses at the site.
The company plans to have suspended and bottom culture American and eastern oysters. The DMR found that the operations would not unreasonably interfere with fishing, navigation or riparian access.
No one spoke out against the lease at a public meeting earlier in August.
Demand for oysters has exploded during the pandemic, with local growers selling almost everything they have.
“This season has been gangbusters,” Platner said.
Platner, who runs a raw bar at his mother’s Ironbound restaurant in Hancock, said the bulk of his shellfish go there, but he also does small-scale direct-to-customer sales.
The farm has been around for about 10 years and the new, larger lease will make the venture more commercially viable.
“We needed more space to actually make money,” he said.
Platner plans to get the anchors and longlines for the farm in the fall.