MCCF Monthly
September 2021
Leroy and Team have welcomed folks to the Discovery Wharf all
summer-long here at Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries in Stonington, Maine. With exhibits such as our virtual reality experience and famous marine touch tank, we've had visitors from all over the country come to us to learn more about Maine's coastal marine life and communities. While we appreciate any opportunity to connect with the broader public in-person, we understand that not everyone can visit us, particularly during these times. So as Leroy says: "If you can't come to us, we'll come to you!" Join us as Leroy gives a virtual tour of all the critters we have inside the tank. He shares interesting facts and how they are all connected and important to Maine's coastal waters.

Have a question you want to ask about Maine's commercial fisheries or the coastal communities that depend on them? Ask Leroy! Call 224.58.LEROY (224.585.3769), you’ll hear Leroy’s voice and instructions for how to leave your question on the voicemail, and he'll answer it in an upcoming episode of “Ask Leroy!” Don't forget that all previous episodes can be found on our website.
Right Whale Updates
Last month, NOAA released new regulations for the lobster fishery intended to reduce risk to the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. The regulations will close a large area about 20 miles off Penobscot Bay in Zones C, D and E, between October 1 and January 31. NOAA believes this is a time and place where right whales may occur and so there will be no vertical (buoy) lines allowed in that area at that time. There is an option to use gear without vertical lines if a fisherman is approved for a special permit. 

The rules also include requirements for how many traps must be on a trawl (string of traps) in order to reduce the number of vertical lines. These trawl requirements vary in different sections of the coast and the distance from shore. There are also new requirements for marking gear. Some fishermen had already been marking gear based on past requirements and so this change is onerous for some.

The closed area takes effect this fall and the gear requirements will take effect in the spring of 2022. Although there is no precise number for how many Zone C fishermen use that area, it is probably upwards of 30 or more. The technology to fish without vertical (buoy) lines is still emerging and will cause many challenges to the fishermen and even to enforcement, not the least of which is being able to tell where the traps are on the bottom. The science on right whale migration, food webs, and overall health of the population is incomplete. A recently published scientific analysis suggests that the population has been adversely impacted by climate change for decades leaving whales more vulnerable to entanglements and ship strikes. MCCF will be helping fishermen to comply and continue fishing within these new constraints. We will also be pushing for better information about the whale population to test whether these regulatory measures are essential and whether they will help keep the whale population from further decline.
Spotlight on Maine Farmed Sea Scallops
Marsden Brewer, Stonington fisherman and member of MCCF's Board of Directors, was recently featured in the New York Times. The article, which can be read here, highlights the growing interest in small-scale aquaculture in Maine, specifically farmed sea scallops why they're making waves for being more than just a sustainable seafood option.
MCCF Gearing Up for Online Auction
MCCF's online AUCTION goes live Thursday, October 7 and closes Sunday, October 24! The auction is a great way to support MCCF's work to sustain our fishing communities. Mark your calendars and plan to bid early and often on the array of exciting experiences, unique gift items, and tasty treats. We'll share the link to the auction as soon as it goes live.

Items to bid on include: white water rafting at North Country Rivers, a week of dining out at local restaurants including Fin & Fern and Stonecutters Kitchen, one week of daycare from Snappers Childcare Center, private hikes & tours guided by IHT, BHHT and MCHT, artwork by several area artists, Maine-made jewelry, autographed books and so much more!

We’d like to thank this year’s online auction sponsors: Camden National Bank, Island Fishermen's Wives, Island Fishing Gear & NAPA Auto, Puzzlewood Builders, and Seaside Pharmacy.
Upcoming Events
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.

If you are able to give, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.

Together we can fish forever.