In the News: November 2019

Newly-appointmed Captain Talbot. DMR photo.

Talbot promoted to new position
Matthew Talbot, an 18-year veteran with the Maine Marine Patrol, was promoted in October to the newly created rank of Captain. “This is a position that will be responsible for oversight and coordination of a broad array of critically important Marine Patrol functions,” said Colonel Jay Carroll. “Captain Talbot’s experience, personal initiative, and proven track record of success as a Marine Patrol Officer and leader make him an excellent choice for this new position.” Talbot will be responsible for all activities within Marine Patrol’s Special Services Division, which includes the Underwater Recovery Team, the Maritime Security Team, the Firearms Team, and the Whale Disentanglement Team. He will also oversee and manage technology, including cell phones, computers, radios, navigation software, and databases. He will supervise Marine Patrol’s Central Fleet service which maintains all Marine Patrol vehicles and will oversee maintenance and operations of Marine Patrol’s aircraft and watercraft fleet.

Stonington Center wins 3-year Penobscot River grant
The Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries (MCCF) was awarded a three-year $207,355 grant by NOAA’s Office of Habitat Conservation for research testing the effects of restoring fish passage in the Penobscot River on groundfish diet. The grant will support analysis of fish samples collected during the annual Sentinel Survey that MCCF leads in partnership with fishermen, the University of Maine, and The Nature Conservancy. The MCCF started the Sentinel Survey in 2010 with partial funding from NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, using longline and jigs to survey groundfish abundance from Penobscot Bay to Canada.

Making its way into the record books, 3Dirigo is introduced to the public. Photo courtesy of Maine Public.

Biggest object created by 3-D printer unveiled in Orono
In October, the University of Maine launched introduced a 25-foot, 2-1/2-ton boat made at the University’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. The Center’s giant printer used material composed of plastic and wood cellulose to create the record-breaking vessel over three days in September.
The boat was named the 3Dirigo. A Guinness World Records official certified three records: the world’s largest polymer 3-D printer, largest 3-D printed boat and largest solid 3-D printed item. The printer cost $2.5 million, but the machinery, along with funds for installation, research and development and other costs, was covered by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The technique holds promise in Maine, where wood cellulose is plentiful. The printer also can be used to make molds that boatbuilders can use when they make yachts and other watercraft, speeding construction time.

NOAA elevates right whales to “species in the spotlight”
NOAA Fisheries announced its latest comprehensive report on Recovering Threatened and Endangered Species FY 2017-2018 and noted that it had added the North Atlantic right whale to the Species in the Spotlight. As part of the Species in the Spotlight campaign, NOAA Fisheries will develop a five-year action plan to build upon existing recovery and conservation plans and detail the focused efforts needed over the next 5 years to reduce threats and stabilize the North Atlantic right whale population decline. This will also allow NOAA to focus discretionary funds, when available, to support identified recovery efforts. NOAA also published “Ten things you should know about right whales,” which can be found at www.fisheries.noaa.gov.

Lobster season a “mixed bag” thus far
In late October, Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher told the American Lobster Management Board, a board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, that as of the end of September, Maine lobstermen had landed less than 50 million pounds of lobster, 40% less than what had been landed by September 2018, according to an article in the Portland Press Herald.

Photo courtesy of Dorr Lobster.

However, many lobstermen remain confident that the season will end profitably. Jake Thompson of Vinalhaven said his catch was 25% to 30% less this summer, but has returned to normal this fall, according to the article. “I’m making about a dollar more a pound than this time last year,” Thompson reported.
John Drouin of Cutler delayed lobstering this spring because he did not think the volume of lobster he would catch would offset the cost of bait. Drouin said he is doing well on both volume and value in October. He still has seven weeks left in his typical fishing season and hopes to make up in price now what he lost in volume earlier.
“It’s definitely been a mixed bag for lobstermen this year,” said Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, said in the article. “While landings have been slow everywhere, stronger prices have helped to offset some of the loss of volume for many fishermen. And the slow pace of landings has lightened demand for bait so we seem to have dodged the worst of the anticipated bait crisis. There have been reports of a few good runs of lobster along the coast this fall, so we are hoping for a strong finish to the season.”