MCCF Monthly
February 2021
As we settle into a new year, all of us here at Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries continue to keep a close eye on important issues taking place in Maine’s commercial industry. These include the recently announced plans to
develop offshore wind power on important fishing grounds and
on-going developments related to the North Atlantic Right Whale
populations in the Gulf of Maine. We're working closely with those in the industry and promoting all opportunities available for Maine fishermen to have a seat at the table and engage in the discussions and decisions surrounding these topics that affect their work directly.
The Saudi Arabia of Wind?
Or a Sticky Wicket?
The Governor’s Office of Energy is moving ahead rapidly on a plan to apply to the federal government through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for permission to site in offshore wind energy turbine array in the Gulf of Maine. The plan would identify an area up to 16 square miles located between 20-40 miles off Maine’s coast somewhere in the vicinity of the mouth of the Sheepscot River. This research array could include 12 floating wind turbines that would be connected to the electric grid either at Wyman Station in Yarmouth or at the former Maine Yankee site in Wiscasset. This idea is understandably causing a huge uproar for fishermen in that region who might be displaced either by the turbine array itself or by the undersea cable route depending on the connection point. There are important unanswered questions about how these installations might affect fishing, wildlife and the ecosystem. The turbine design being proposed is based on the prototype that the University of Maine has been developing as part of the Maine Aqua Ventus partnership and there are developers with very deep pockets looking to deploy even larger arrays in the future in the Gulf of Maine. MCCF is tracking this issue and we’re learning what we can about the technology and plans through a recent series of webinars. If you have concerns and questions, we urge you to get involved. There’s a lot of information that can be found on the state's Governor's Energy Office website. You can also subscribe to the list serve by sending them an email. Photo Credit: Maine Aqua Ventus
Winter Sampling Program Underway
Last month we kicked-off our first winter sampling effort with participating fishermen hoping to collect 40 adult cod over the next few months to be evaluated by their diets through stomach analysis and a laboratory analysis of muscle tissue that will be conducted at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

One question we have is what role the return of river-run fish species, like alewife, might play in the possible recovery of marine fish in the area. Improved fish passage in many coastal rivers and streams in eastern Maine have resulted in enormous increases in the numbers of returning alewife populations in the spring. Are these adult and juvenile fish an important part of the diet for cod, haddock, Pollock and other marine species? That’s one of the questions this study is trying to answer. Although the Sentinel Survey takes place in the summer and fall, many fishermen have reported seeing larger cod in the winter months in this region. These larger cod are probably of breeding age, and are large enough to be feeding on vertebrates like Alewife.

Organizing and leading this winter sampling program is Collaborative Research Specialist, Pat Shepard. Participating fishermen that fish in the region around Stonington will be eligible for prizes based on their level of participation and successful delivery of large cod to MCCF.
February Online Lunch & Learn
Join us on Friday, February 26 at 12:30pm for "The Sweet and Salty of Maine's Sea Scallop Fishery." This free, one-hour, virtual event dives into one of the state's winter fisheries. Maine’s Sea Scallop fishery is a modern day success story as landings have rebounded in recent years with an estimated landed value of $4.5M in 2019. During this webinar, we’ll hear about the current status of the science, policy and markets for the fishery and its prospects for the future.

Learn more and register today!
Be inspired. Fish forever.
Every day, Maine fishermen are working in unpredictable elements to bring fresh seafood to the tables of many. Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries continues efforts to secure a sustainable future for fisheries and fishing communities in Eastern Maine and beyond. We are taking collective actions that include the knowledge of fishermen, the findings of scientists and partnerships with regulatory authorities, at all levels, to make sure we can
keep fishing alive for today and for tomorrow’s fishery stewards.

We know that these are unprecedented times. If you are able to give,
please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.

Together we can fish forever.