THE STATE OF MAINE'S BOATING NEWSPAPER Volume 29 Issue 3 March 2016
US Postage Paid Permit, #454 Portland, ME
Maine Coastal News FREE More and More Rulings for Commercial Fishermen
The lobster boat WANDABOB a spectator at the 2015 Bass Harbor Lobster Boat Races.
NOAA Expands Critical Habitat for Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales Using new information not previously avail- able, NOAA Fisheries is expanding critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales to cover its northeast feeding areas in the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank region and southeast calving grounds from North Carolina to Florida. This fi nal rule, which was initially pro- posed in February 2015 and received 261 general comments over a 60-day comment period, does not include any new restrictions or management measures for commercial fi shing operations.
This rule is based on 35 years of air- craft and ship borne surveys of right whale distribution, research into foraging and prey availability to better understand right whale movements and life history. Together, these data provide a far more robust understand- ing of the factors critical to species recov- ery. Based on this information and public comments, NOAA scientists and managers determined a critical habitat expansion associated with feeding in the North and calving in the South is necessary for species recovery. “With two decades of new information and improved understanding since we fi rst designated critical habitat for the species, we believe the expansion will further pro- tect essential foraging and calving areas to further improve recovery of this animal,”
said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA ad- ministrator for NOAA Fisheries. “We’re making signifi cant progress in reversing the population decline of the species, and are seeing signs of recovery - up to about 500 animals from the estimated 300 in 1994. But we still have a long way to get to complete recovery.”
Under the Endangered Species Act, critical habitat within the range of the spe- cies consists of areas that contain physical or biological features essential to conservation of the species. The new designation does not create preserves or refuges or any other restrictions that directly affect the public. However, federal agencies conducting, funding or permitting activities in these ar- eas, and project proponents that need federal permits or funding for such activities, are required to work with NOAA Fisheries to avoid or reduce impacts on critical habitat.
Drones and Field Sampling Document Gray Seal Pups on Muskeget and Mono- moy Islands
For several days this month, scientists are gathering in the largest gray seal pupping area in U.S. waters to study weaned gray seal pups, aided by images from an airplane and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), com- monly called drones. The researchers hope to gather data from these sites and other breeding sites in Maine to move a step closer to answering a nagging question – how many
gray seals are there in Northeastern waters? – and expand their studies on the health of the animals.
The researchers, from NOAA Fisheries and a variety of federal, state, academic and private organizations, are working on Muskeget Island off Nantucket, the largest gray seal breeding and pupping colony in the U.S., and on the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, an island near Chatham on Cape Cod. Similar work was conducted in January 2015, when marine mammal researchers captured, tagged, sampled, and released 126 weaned gray seal pups on the two islands.
The aerial images will help document the number of pups on the breeding grounds as well as pup distribution. The images can also document adult seals, providing data on brand marks or entanglements. Biological samples collected from weaned pups will reveal information about stock health, gray seal ecology, and habitat use.
Mid-December to early February are prime pupping months for gray seals. Gray seal pups that have been weaned remain on the islands for several weeks until they molt or shed their white coat, known as lanugo, for a darker fur coat or pelage.
“This year some new elements have been added to the project,” said Kimberly Murray, coordinator of the seal research program at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) laboratory in
C o n t e n t s
Publisher's Note Calendar of Events
Southern Maine Marine Edgecomb Boat Works Sold Front Street to Build Ferries ERNESTINA-MORRISSEY
4 4 5 6 7 8
BOWDOIN Getting New Deck SNAME Presentations
Maine Maritime Academy News USCG/Electronic Charts
Commercial Fishing News
DELA Director's Report NOAA and Bycatch
Misc. Commercial Fishing News Boat Yard News 70s Memories
11 11 12 14 21
History from the Past Classifi ed Ads
Woods Hole, Mass. “We are using two types of unmanned aircraft systems, a fi xed wing system and a hexacopter, to take images of the populations, along with traditional aerial surveys using two different camera angles on the NOAA Twin Otter aircraft. This approach provides four different views of the animals and should help us get a better estimate of gray seal abundance on the island and where the animals are in the pupping season process. It also allows us to evaluate the pros and cons of various technologies available to survey wildlife populations.” Researchers are also expanding their health studies, with a focus this year on the seals at Monomoy. MIT researchers are con- ducting long-term studies of the infl uenza A virus, one of three types of infl uenza viruses, in gray seals to understand the prevalence of the virus in the population and if it potential- ly affects other wildlife populations. This year scientists are hoping to recap- ture and resample seals tagged within the season to learn more about the disease pro- gression and transmission between animals, and why some animals are more susceptible than others.
“Our goal this year is to resample 50 percent of the animals, but it has not been done before and we don’t know if it is pos- sible given all the challenges,” said Wendy Puryear of MIT, part of the Runstadler lab
Continued on Page 12.
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20
| Page 21
| Page 22
| Page 23
| Page 24
| Page 25
| Page 26
| Page 27
| Page 28
| Page 29
| Page 30
| Page 31