MCCF Monthly
July 2020
It's hard to believe the first half of the summer is behind us. While we’re still reeling from the current pandemic, life is slowly getting back to normal, but not without noticeable change. Seafood markets are still lagging from lack
of demand both internationally and throughout the country. Some lobstermen along the coast are holding out on setting all their gear. Others continue to push through and prepare for peak fishing season.

In this month's edition we provide an update on another challenge Maine fishermen are facing, the court case relating to the endangered North
Atlantic Right Whale. We also introduce three new fishermen participating
in our Sentinel Survey and we are excited to announce a celebration of
local seafood the first week of August.

Don't forget to check out our video series Ask Leroy! All episodes
can be viewed online on our video page. You can submit
your questions to Leroy any time by calling and leaving a
voicemail at 224.58.LEROY (224.585.3769).
North Atlantic Right Whale Update
We are grateful to be living, recreating, and working on the coast of Maine this summer. Such blessings come with their challenges, but we're not sure the denizens of this rural rocky coast would have it any other way. This year might be one for the record books however! Amid a global pandemic necessitating nimble shifts in seafood marketing strategies, the lobster fleet continues to contend with the ongoing regulatory uncertainty generated by the Federal Court Case (CBD vs Ross) that has yet to be decided. The lawsuit aims to reduce the risk of entanglement of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale with lobster fishing gear. We entered Remedy Phase 2 in May with Plaintiff’s opening motion and closed on July 10 with their reply to briefs from the ME and MA Lobstermen’s Associations, Maine DMR, NMFS, scientists, and offshore lobstermen provided to the Court in June.

Most of these brief’s concur that the best way forward for both the whale and the lobster fishery is to proceed with the NMFS rulemaking process already underway. Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey argued, “Because there is no evidence that the Maine lobster fishery has harmed right whales in the last 15 years, there is no reason to believe that interim injunctive relief or other mitigation measures in Maine waters would avoid or reduce the incidental take of right whales… as plaintiffs acknowledge, there is more carefully circumscribed relief available to protect right whales from harm in the American lobster fishery.” Such relief is best achieved through the NMFS rulemaking process with anticipated completion in May 2021. Frey and colleagues continue, “the court’s power is to be exercised as narrowly as possible.”

To learn more and donate to the Maine Lobstermen's Association (MLA) legal defense fund, visit their website .
Fish Foreveryone
Community Seafood Celebration
Join us the first week of August for “ Fish Foreveryone Community Seafood Celebration ,” a community-wide, week-long event honoring local seafood. Concurrent with celebrating local seafood, MCCF is using funds received from a recent $10,000 grant from the Maine Community Foundation to address food insecurity in the region caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restaurants and seafood retailers throughout Deer Isle, Stonington, and the Blue Hill Peninsula will join in on this effort by emphasizing the importance of local seafood and/or highlighting seafood-based dishes to their customers. A list of participating restaurants and seafood retailers can be found directly on our website , where you can find and enjoy locally sourced seafood.

While we encourage the community to support local seafood businesses, we also ask everyone to continue to practice social distancing to help keep our communities and neighbors safe. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter where we'll be sharing interesting seafood facts, recipes, and much more throughout the week!

We would also like to recognize the following organizations and businesses for collaborating and supporting this exciting event, including: Healthy Island Project, Healthy Peninsula - Magic Food Bus, Island Nursing Home and Care Center, Island Food Pantry, Tree of Life Food Pantry, Deer Isle-Stonington Chamber of Commerce, Island Fishermen’s Wives Association, and the Town of Stonington.
Survey Marks Ten Years
of Groundfish Research
The sampling season for the Eastern Gulf of Maine Sentinel Survey is well underway, with three completed trips and many more scheduled for the next couple of weeks. We welcomed three new fishermen to the project this year: Captain Matt Shepard on the F/V Alexsa Rose , Captain Josiah Rhys on the F/V Miss Brooke , and Captain Dominic Zanke on the F/V Tyrant . All three will be taking their first research trips in the coming weeks, so we wish them well. Part of the allure of the research trips is having the opportunity to explore new fishing grounds. Some of the locations sampled are chosen at random by a computer – part of the “Random Stratified” portion of the survey. The other sites are chosen by fishermen based on their own knowledge of fishing grounds and historical knowledge shared with them by veteran groundfish fishermen from the area. Both types of stations give fishermen the opportunity to fish in areas where they might not frequently go, and with gear they may not have access to. Preserving that generational knowledge of gear and grounds is an invaluable part of the project. Information from this study is helping to increase our understanding of the potential recovery of ground fish in this region as well as other features of the stock structure.
Upcoming Events
Lunch & Learn
Learning from Lobstermen:
Insights into Right Whale Conservation

Friday, July 31 at
12:30 pm via Zoom

Dr. Libby Jewett, Director, NOAA Ocean Acidification Program, will present on a project she led last December to interview Maine lobstermen and others associated with the Maine lobster industry to invite their perspectives and ideas on how to reduce the risks that the lobster industry poses to Right Whales. Full disclosure, she is neither a whale nor lobster expert!
Climate Change in the
Gulf of Maine

Wednesday, August 26 at
4:30 pm via Webinar
Chase Emerson Memorial Library, Deer Isle

There is an often used statistic in the popular and scientific press that the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 98% of the world’s oceans. Less often, do we read about what is causing this warming and why it appears to be happening so much faster here. Please join us as Dr. Carla Guenther, Chief Scientist, MCCF, describes the changes we are observing in the Gulf of Maine.
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 .