In the News – June 2022

Cod Landings Lowest Ever

image by Robert Michelson

One of the oldest fishing industries in the U.S. sank to a new low in catch last year. New England fishermen have caught Atlantic cod for centuries, but the catch has dwindled over the last decade due to overfishing, restrictive fishing quotas, and environmental changes. The vast majority of the fish come to the docks in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Maine fishermen brought fewer cod to the docks in 2021 than any other in recorded history, according to Department of Marine Resources data. The state’s catch, which was more than 20 million pounds in the early 1990s, was less than 50,000 pounds last year.

Environmental Groups Call for Impact Statement on Offshore Wind Farms

A wide coalition of New England conservation groups is calling on federal regulators for a rigorous review of the potential effects of offshore wind farms on Gulf of Maine ecosystems and fisheries. They want the review completed before specific wind sites are proposed, which was not done for wind lease areas in southern New England. Eighteen groups from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine signed on to the effort, ranging from the New England Aquarium to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, as well as national organizations like the Audubon Society. They are calling for a “Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement” — a comprehensive up-front review of the all the Gulf’s ecosystems, before any consideration of where the best wind lease sites might be.

Herring Industry Will Receive Federal Money

Photo courtesy of Maine Public.

The federal government will provide $11 million to commercial herring fishermen and shore-side processors in four states this year. A scientific assessment in 2020 found that herring are overfished and quotas for the fish were reduced dramatically. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared a “fishery disaster” in November 2021, clearing the way for financial assistance. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said that the herring industry in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island will get the assistance. More than $7 million is allocated for Maine.

Canada Extends Georges Bank Drilling Ban

The Canadian ban on drilling for oil and gas on Georges Bank has been extended again until the end of 2032. The moratorium was set to expire at the end of the year. Official notice of the extension was posted in May.
The joint federal-provincial moratorium prohibits “the exploration and drilling for and the production, conservation and processing of petroleum” from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2032.

Island Institute Aims to Electrify the Coast

The Island Institute in Rockland is working to electrify Maine’s working waterfront by electrifying the boats, wharves, and businesses. The non-profit organization calls the project a climate adaptation strategy that will reduce operating costs of fishing and lobstering over time. Among the project’s goals are to put at least 100 electric outboard motors on fishermen and aquaculturists’ skiffs by 2025; install solar-powered charging stations on docks and wharves; provide grants to fund clean energy projects for fishermen, marine-based businesses, and businesses critical to sustaining the working waterfront.

Head of Marine Patrol to Step Down

Colonel Jay Carroll, a 23-year veteran of the Maine Marine Patrol, will be retiring from the bureau soon. Colonel Carroll took his position as the head of Marine Patrol in 2019, replacing Jon Cornish in the position.
Carroll served as Lieutenant of Division II since 2014 and before that served for thirteen years as a field Sergeant in Hancock and Washington Counties, one year as a Boat Captain in Knox County, and four years as an Officer in the Port Clyde patrol area.
Carroll has a lifelong connection to Marine Patrol. His father, Jim, was also a Lieutenant in Division II. His uncle John Carroll and cousin Richard LaHaye Jr. both served as Marine Patrol Lieutenants, and his cousin Tim Carroll, currently the Sheriff of Knox County, also served in the Marine Patrol.

Col. Carroll with a photo of his father Jim behind. DMR photo.
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