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Page 12. MAINE COASTAL NEWS November 2015

American Eel Population Remains Stable, Does not Need ESA Protection Conservation efforts should continue for long-term species health The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service an- nounced that the American eel is stable and does not need protection under the Endan- gered Species Act (ESA). Nonetheless, for the species’ long-term stability, the agency recommends continuing efforts to maintain healthy habitats, monitor harvest levels, and improve river passage for migrating eels. The life of the American eel begins and ends in the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean. Millions of adult American eels leave waters from as far north as Green- land and south to Venezuela to reproduce in the Sargasso Sea. Hundreds of millions of American eel larvae return from the sea to freshwater, estuarine and marine waters. Their random mating behavior makes eels panmictic, meaning the species is composed of one population worldwide. They are a culturally and biologically important part of the aquatic ecosystems in the Western Hemi- sphere. American eels have been harvested for thousands of years by Native American cultures, and were an important part of the diet of early colonial settlers.

The decision, also known as a 12-month

fi nding, follows an in-depth status review on a 2010 petition to list the eel as threatened under the ESA. The review was largely based on a biological species report peer-re- viewed by the National Oceanic and At- mospheric Administration-Fisheries, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Com- mission’s Eel Technical Committee and academia. After examining the best scien-


tifi c and commercial information available regarding past, present and future stressors facing the species, the Service determined the eel’s single population is overall stable and not in danger of extinction (endangered) or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (threatened). While American eels still face local mortality from harvest and hydroelectric facilities, this is not threatening the overall species. Harvest quotas and mechanisms restoring eel passage around dams and other obstructions have also reduced these effects. Dam removals, culvert replacements, night- time hydroelectric facility shutdowns, and updated passage structures have restored habitat access in many areas. The Service is working with partners across the range on conservation efforts to ensure long-term stability for the American eel and other migratory fi sh species. The agency’s North- east fi sheries program alone has removed or improved more than 200 barriers to fi sh passage since 2009, opening more than 1,200 miles and 12,000 acres of rivers for aquatic wildlife including the American eel. The Service has also secured $10.4 million in Hurricane Sandy resilience funding to restore fi sh passage through removal of 13 dams in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

American eels remain widely distribut- ed throughout much of their historical range, despite habitat loss and reduced numbers over the past century. New information reiterates their fl exibility and adaptability by indicating that some eels complete their life cycle in estuarine and marine waters, contrary to former research that suggested eels required freshwater for growing to

adulthood. This is the second time the Service has

evaluated the American eel for listing under the ESA and found listing not warranted. The fi rst decision came in 2007 after an extensive status review. This 12-month fi nding will be published in the Federal Register on October 8, 2015. The fi nding and supporting documents can be found at http://www.fws. gov/northeast/americaneel/.

Information contained in older news items may be outdated. These materials are made available as historical archival infor- mation only. No updates have been made to the information and we do not guarantee current accuracy or completeness.

River Herring Data Collection Standard- ization Workshop Scheduled for Novem- ber 18-20, 2015 in Linthicum, MD ARLINGTON, VA – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will conduct a River Herring Data Collection Standard- ization Workshop on November 18-20, 2015 in Linthicum, MD. The Workshop will bring together researchers from state and federal marine fi shery agencies, Tribal Nations, and Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans to evaluate current fishery-independent surveys for river herring and develop rec- ommendations to standardize survey meth- odologies as well as data collected by these surveys for use in future stock assessments. Workshop participants will also consider some fi shery-dependent sampling that col- lect river herring along the Atlantic coast. Standardization of river herring data collection methods and datasets was identi- fi ed as a priority for future stock assessments by the 2012 river herring benchmark stock assessment and peer review, the Commis- sion’s River Herring Technical Committee, and NOAA Fisheries’ River Herring Techni- cal Expert Working Group. The Workshop, which is being supported with funding by NOAA Fisheries, will begin at 1 PM on No- vember 18th

and end at 3 PM on the 20th , and

will be held at the Sheraton BWI, 1100 Old Elkridge Landing Road, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090. The Workshop is open to the public, with the exception of discussions of confi dential data, when the public will be asked to leave the room. Opportunities for public comment will be provided. For more information, please contact Kirby Rootes-Murdy, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at krootes-murdy@asm- or 703.842.0740.

News - Department of Ma- rine Resources


Royal River Dredging Project Update September 26, 2015: As a courtesy to Zone F and G lobster license holders, DMR is posting this notice regarding the upcoming dredging of the Royal River and the haul route. This is not a state project, and DMR’s authority is limited to providing comment via DEP permitting. DMR is sending this notifi cation out as a courtesy to the Army Corps.

7530 Olympic View Dr. Unit 105, Edmonds, WA 98026 · (425) 774-7595 NOTICE FROM THE ARMY CORPS

REGARDING THE DREDGE The New England District of the US Army Corps of Engineers will be dredging two small sections of the channel of the Roy- al River Federal navigation project (FNP) in Yarmouth, Maine. Dredging operations will commence on or about October 26, 2015. The dredged sediments will be placed at the Portland Disposal Site located approximate- ly 15 Nautical Miles from the mouth of the Royal River FNP.

Below is a link to a map specifying the Haul Route (dated October 3, 2014) to be used by the dredging contractor transiting to and from the dredged material placement site. A general newspaper announcement is going to be issued, pointing to the Corps’ web page where the Haul Route map (PDF fi le) is posted: ProjectsTopics/RoyalRiver.aspx All fi shing gear must be removed from within the specifi ed Haul Route to avoid damage to or loss of fi shing gear due to dredged material disposal operations. Individuals seeking additional infor- mation regarding this project or having inquiries regarding the loss of fi shing gear suspected to be the result of dredged material disposal may contact Mr. Michael Walsh, the Corps Project Manager, at (978) 318-8586. I encourage you to share this informa- tion with any and all individuals who might have an interest in the Haul Route being used by the Corps’ dredging contractor. Sarah Cotnoir, DMR

Maine Marine Patrol Recovers Body of Deceased Man from Circling Lobster Boat

October 2, 2015 - The Maine Marine Patrol recovered the body of a North Haven lobsterman who apparently died while un- derway today.

At approximately 3:15 pm today the Marine Patrol received a report of a lobster boat going in circles near Owls Head Light south of Rockland Harbor. The vessel, Leg- acy, was owned and operated by lobsterman Robert Staples, 78 of North Haven. Sergeant Matt Talbot and Specialist Corrie Roberts responded from Rockland in a Marine Patrol Protector vessel and found Staples’ vessel traveling in circles in 3-4 seas and 20 knot winds. They were met at the scene by members of the US Coast Guard who had confi rmed that an unconscious individual was on board. Battling diffi cult conditions, Sergeant

Talbot maneuvered alongside the circling fi shing vessel and, after several attempts Specialist Roberts was able to jump on board the Legacy and gain control of the vessel. Members of the US Coast Guard then board- ed and attempted to resuscitate Mr. Staples while Specialist Roberts brought the vessel to Rockland Harbor.

There they were met by members of the Rockland EMS who attempted to unsuc- cessfully resuscitate Mr. Staples. The State Medical Examiner has ruled that Mr. Staples’ died of natural causes.

The lobster boat CHARLENE GAIL sitting at her dock in Cutler.

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