We have the same problem here with a proposed site off Damariscove Island. Well they have been trying to kill the lobster industry for years, first it was whale breaks for our buoys, then no float rope and they really want us to get all vertical lines out of the water. Now they can let the wind farms do the job for them. Also more lobstermen fishing the same area will result in trap wars on a grand scale not to mention overfishing. And of course if they say we are overfishing then they will put more restrictions on us to "save" the industry.
Meanwhile, the very essence of Maine's iconic "Quality of Place" is what?
It would be nice if they could make up their tiny minds. They can't have it both ways.
Maine AG investigates lobster price-fixing allegations
By Clarke Canfield
Associated Press Writer
December 16, 2009 12:45 PM
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine's attorney general is investigating allegations of price-fixing among some lobster dealers in the state.
... investigation... launched after the office received a letter signed by more than 50 lobstermen seeking a probe into the conduct of lobster dealers.
Investigators are focusing on whether lobster dealers violated the state's commerce and trade laws.
Naran, this is interesting wonder what they mean by price fixing, since the dealers are paying what they can and selling for what they can. I guess if they don't like selling to a dealer they could go it alone, some tried and I expect it wasn't as easy as they thought, they didn't get the big money they thought the dealers were making, some probably lost money and now that winter is here they have no market for their product, oh well. I will see if I can find out the dealers side of the story.
Here is another reason lobster prices are low, no market not lobster dealer price fixing.
With a little dissing of the Maine Lobster brand.
[Dean Ryer commented] "They’re still getting a lot of production out of Maine when the weather’s fit. So they’ll use their own product first. It’s cheaper, of course, and not as good a quality, but they will use their own."
The lobsters they buy from us are junk (non-shippable quality) and go to processing plants to be used as meat. We do have an equal product and I would expect my father who is a Maine dealer to say the same about Canadian lobster vs. Maine lobster. If my memory is correct Canada has a closed season and they only lobster in the winter months. They catch a good hard shell lobster and then basically store them in suspended animation until they are ready to be shipped, thus they have a supply of good shippable lobsters year round. I also believe they are paid not to lobster during the summer, which is why they buy our lobsters for processing.
1 dead after fall from Maine lobster boat
By Associated Press
December 31, 2009 10:18 AM
HARPSWELL, Maine - The Maine Marine Patrol says a man has died after falling from a lobster boat.
Sgt. Paul Joyce said the accident happened at about 6:30 a.m.Thursday. After falling from the stern of a boat off Harpswell, the man was rescued by his crewmates and crew from another boat that was in the area. Joyce said he was later declared dead.
Heartfelt prayers for the deceased, his family, and crewmates... horrible.
Don't downplay 'ghost trap' issue
January 3, 2010
The Associated Press
As a Maine lobsterman and the president of the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation, I would like to address a few points made by Sherman Hutchins in his letter regarding "ghost traps" in the Maine Sunday Telegram Dec. 13 ("Don't overplay 'ghost trap' hazards).
Mr. Hutchins' sons are fortunate if they lose only 10 to 15 traps in a season. Many lobstermen document losing ... more than 10 percent of their total number of traps.
We tend to lose between 5-10% of our gear each year, this year it may be more due to storms and someone molesting our gear. However they do breakdown over time (1-2yrs) and the escape vents may only last 6 months.
Islander - correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that many lobsters manage to find thei way in and out of traps quite easily, and stay largely because of the grub. Correct?
I would have to agree, there are videos on YouTube showing this. We just provide them with lots of free meals especially the short lobsters, females that have been notched, oversize and of course the ones that dine and dash. We like to average a 1-2lb/trap count but we have based our business plan on 1/2lb/trap. As my son says some days you are just lobster wishing, not lobster fishing :)
Exactly. One might even argue that obstering has become a form of aquaculture - you feed and protect juvies until they're big enough to keep.
You just hope you haven't been feeding them for someone else to catch. Years ago my Dad and another dealer tried to raise lobsters, they were put in an vertical tank with what looked like PO boxes, one lobster to a box. They were fed and monitored and then released after they figured neither one of them would live long enough to make this a viable alternative to trapping them. This may have even been part of a DMR research project, I am not sure since it was quite awhile ago.
Report: Fisheries enforcement flawed
Submitted by John Richardson on Thu, 01/21/2010 - 14:09
A government investigative panel has called for changes in the way federal agents enforce commercial fisheries rules in New England, saying inadequate management and other problems fuel complaints about arbitrary and unfair penalties.
Gee what a surprise about NOAA enforcement.
Snowe Blasts NOAA for Law Enforcement Mismanagement
New Report by Department of Commerce Inspector General Finds Widespread Issues in NOAA’s Office for Law Enforcement and Office of General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation
January 21, 2010
Washington, D.C. -
U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, today blasted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the egregious mismanagement by the Office of Law Enforcement for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). According to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce Inspector General, there are systemic nationwide issues adversely affecting NOAA’s ability to regulate the fishing industry. In addition, the report found that these same issues have “contributed significantly to a…dysfunctional relationship between NOAA and the fishing industry – particularly in the northeast.”
“I am appalled at the stunning breadth and depth of the Inspector General’s findings of gross mismanagement within all levels of NOAA’s law enforcement community,” said Senator Snowe. “That the Agency would allow its agents to continue running roughshod over hardworking fishermen, employing a law enforcement force consisting of 90 percent criminal investigators when the vast majority of its cases are civil in nature is by all accounts a travesty.”
“At her confirmation hearing before the Commerce Committee, Dr. Lubchenco pledged to help ‘rebuild the climate of trust’ between the National Marine Fisheries Service and our fishing communities. I understand she is directing her agency to take steps to rectify these deep flaws in its enforcement practice. I pledge to do all in my power, including pursuing legislative action, to ensure that our fishermen are treated fairly while necessary regulatory enforcement practices are carried out.”
Maine men sentenced for setting boat on fire
February 6, 2010
ELLSWORTH, Maine—Two Maine men will each spend a year in prison for setting a fishing boat on fire in 2008.
Forty-year-old Bradley Wilkinson of Winter Harbor and 39-year-old Avery Scott of Gouldsboro were sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to arson.
... both men received six-year prison sentences, with all but one year suspended.
Did anyone watch "Life by Lobster" on MPBN last weekend? It was an interesting documentry on lobstering in Stonington/Deer Isle. www.lifebylobster.blogspot.com/.
Also the State just had two cases of gear molestation dismissed, this does not bode well for the upcoming season.
I saw part of that program last night, Islander - what a great documentary! Excellent stuff, indeed.
BTW - the subtitles for some Mainahs who appeared on the program really cracked me up... I guess the producers figured otherwise, some viewers wouldn't be able to figure out what was being said.
More Info About "Life by Lobster."
Life By Lobster Facebook Page
(please note - you may need to be registered on Facebook to see the page).
Company to shutter sardine cannery
By MATT WICKENHEISER and BETH QUIMBY Staff Writers
PROSPECT HARBOR — Bumble Bee Foods said Wednesday that it will close the nation's last sardine cannery in April, putting 130 people out of work.
The company blamed the closing on the latest federal fisheries restrictions, which have reduced the herring catch by 50 percent in the five-plus years since Bumble Bee bought the plant here.
Bumble Bee Bummer.
Town eyes possible future in lobster processing for closing cannery
By Bill Trotter
GOULDSBORO, Maine — The sardine cannery has been here for more than a century, long enough to ingrain itself deeply into the fabric of the community.
Rice, a lobster dealer ... suggested Thursday that the site still might have a future in the seafood business.
... what might happen to the plant is largely up to Bumble Bee, which owns the property. ... it is remotely possible that operations of some kind could resume at the facility this fall.
“I do know for a fact there are people who are interested,” Rice said during the meeting. “It could happen.”
Mar 3, 8:09 PM EST
Inspector: US fishery officer shredded documents
By JAY LINDSAY
Associated Press Writer
BOSTON (AP) -- The inspector general for the U.S. Department of Commerce said Wednesday that the nation's top fishery cop destroyed documents while his office was under investigation for possible unfair enforcement of fishery laws.
Inspector General Todd Zinser said that Dale Jones... ordered up to 140 files destroyed after IG staffers met with him to explain the scope of their review.
It's taking a great deal of restraint, but somehow I will refrain from making the totally obvious bad jokes.
Mar 12, 8:09 AM EST
Maine gov to meet with Bumble Bee CEO at cannery
PROSPECT HARBOR, Maine (AP) -- Gov. John Baldacci is meeting with the top executive of Bumble Bee Foods to discuss potential future uses for the company's sardine cannery in eastern Maine that is slated to close next month.
The governor and CEO Chris Lischewski planned to meet Friday morning at the 100-year-old plant in Prospect Harbor.
Mar 12, 5:30 PM EST
Lobsterman acquitted in 'lobster wars' trial
ROCKLAND, Maine (AP) -- A Maine lobsterman and his daughter have been acquitted of all counts stemming from the shooting... in a feud over lobster traps off Matinicus Island.
Sixty-eight-year-old Vance Bunker was charged with elevated aggravated assault and other charges for shooting 44-year-old Christopher Young in the neck on a wharf on remote Matinicus Island last July.
Police thwart raffle aimed at helping nonprofit
By Heather Steeves
ISLESBORO, Maine — Josh Conover thought he was being generous by auctioning off his old lobster boat and giving some of the proceeds to the Maine Lobster Institute... but Maine State Police notified the institute this week that his actions were against the law.
Conover now has to give back the money from the 35 tickets he sold for $150 each.
“They treat it like I was going to open high-stakes bingo or a racino or something,” Conover said Friday.
Everything Not Compulsory is Forbidden.
From Henry Clay's other thread:
BOSTON — The nation's top fisheries cop has been fired after a federal review detailed mismanagement at his agency and found that he ordered files destroyed during the review.
Group retrieving 'ghost' lobster traps
The Associated Press
BAR HARBOR — The Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation's two-day effort to recover lost lobster traps has yielded about 400 traps from Frenchman Bay.
...a similar number of traps were recovered off Jonesport. Next week, the group plans to spend two days dragging ... for traps off Stonington.
The foundation is using a $200,000 grant to address the issue of so-called ghost traps. Those traps are lost on the ocean floor but continue to trap lobsters.
I'd be curious to know how many lobsters they've found in the 800+ traps pulled up from the deeps.
Hard to tell how many if any lobsters were caught. The bigger qiestion would be if there were lobsters who gets the money? Depending on the condition of the trap, where it was etc I wouldn't be surprised if they caught 50 lbs or so. We have found traps after a year with a lobster in them. Having dragged for traps I have to say I am amazed that they recovered so many. It really is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Hope the lobstermen that lost them get them back if they are in fishable shape.