JANUARY 2017

From the Director –

    Here we are, at the beginning of the 2016 lobster season.  Some of the inshore boats are starting to “hit the water” with shiny new paint and looking spiffy for the first few weeks.

As time goes, they start to show the wear and tear of all of the hard work that they do.

    The meeting season is starting to slow down, much like the end of the school year.

The Lobster Institute had their Board of Director’s meeting for the wrap up after the Canadian/US Town Meeting.  The Maine Fishermen’s Forum Board had their wrap up meeting that is always held after the Forum.  These meetings are actually very significant because we go over how the event went, feed-back from the public and how we can fine tune the event for next year.  As a matter of fact, if you have any thoughts or concerns about these events, feel free to contact us so we can also submit your feedback.  This is very important, so we can continually improve the events.

    We had our D.E.L.A. meeting on Thursday, May 12th at Jasper’s in Ellsworth with Sarah Cotnoir of the Department of Marine Resources, who gave an update on the last Legislative session.  There was a good crowd and a lot of constructive feedback.  It is always a pleasure to have Sarah attend our meeting.  We would like to thank her for explaining the newly passed bills and answering our questions.  We now all have a copy of the LD 1503 Legislative bill that was passed.  This was the bill concerning the waiting list and the limited entry for lobster licenses.

    Zone C has a follow-up meeting on Thursday, May 26th concerning the vote whether to keep the zone open or close it.  With the passing of LD 1503 and the explanation out for everyone to read, it could make the decision a little easier for everyone involved.  At this point, Zone C is the only Zone that is still open.  

    Twenty-seven license holders did not renew their licenses in Zone A which enabled nine to enter into the fishery.  Swan’s Island has a hearing coming up that involves a separate waiting list for entering their zone.  

    There was a time that you had to apprentice in the zone of the island that you wanted to fish from, now you can go with eight years of landings commitment to the island that you are moving to.  Monhegan and Frenchboro have openings at this time.  With this change in policy, this is in an effort to keep fishing alive on the islands.  We want to maintain our way of life and traditions to the best of our ability.

    In the 12-mile zone, we are supposed to shirt to high flyers, but we need a better definition of the law.  It is hard to enforce this law without a good clear definition.  Sarah has a meeting with NOAA to go over this law and come up with a crystal clear definition that we all understand.  

    There seems to be a problem with the lobster tags this year.  They seem to be quite brittle, which is definitely a problem once again.  Please let us know if you have had problems with your tags, so we can report back to the DMR and try to resolve the problem.

    Please also let us know if you are waiting for your halibut tags.  The DMR has been a little behind this year and needs to know if you are having a problem with waiting for your license and not having your halibut tags.  You can reach us at dassatt711@yahoo.com and 207 338-1406.  We will report back to the DMR and get back to you as soon as possible.

    The lobster boat races will also be starting once again in the month of June thru August.

This is always a great way to enjoy a little family time and friendly competition.  We are hoping that everyone has a safe and good season.  If you have questions, please contact Jon Johansen, the President of the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association.  His contact information is right in this publication, as he is the publisher of the Maine Coastal News.

    D.E.L.A. will continue to be busy working for our lobster industry during this season.

We make our presence available at the summer functions and will continue to have a follow-up meeting in July.  The next meeting will be Thursday, July 14th at Jasper’s in Ellsworth – 6:00 p.m.  We understand that everyone will be in the thick of the season at that time, but we want to be able to stay in touch with all that is happening.  Communications is the Key to representation.  

    Once again, be safe and we will see you this summer!

    Sheila

 

AUGUST 2016

From the Director –

    Here we are in the “heart of the lobster season” with everyone very busy going out to haul and having a good old fashioned season so far.  All of the worry and speculation about the early molt in the spring is behind us.  They say that worry is a lot of wasted energy and I think there is something to be said for that.  I certainly need all of the energy that I can muster!  This year, it seems that the lobsters are following their “traditional” pattern, which is usually right after the 4th of July, the New Shells start showing up.

    We have re-scheduled our July DELA Board of Director’s meeting due to about a 50% response of people that were able to attend.  This is OK, I was also having trouble making that date due to a medical procedure that Mike was having.  The meeting has been set for Thursday, July 21st at Jasper’s in Ellsworth at 6:00 p.m. with a discussion agenda.  Our biggest topic for this season is the bait availability.  We would like to discuss how everyone is dealing with their bait supply.  With speaking with some of the guys, they said they are using pogies, (menhaden), hard bait such as red fish and cow hide.  

    Mike just brought up a load of Bruneaux Bait which is the bait that he and Jim Black tested since the beginning of Steve Munsey’s project.  It has been three years in the making, but we all found that it is very good “extender” bait.  This allows your traps to keep catching when you can’t get out to haul and you can also cut back on the amount of herring that you use.  If you have any questions about this bait, please feel free to give us a call.  We are happy to answer any questions that you may have about this product.  The best way that I can put it is:  if we use it ourselves, we surely wouldn’t steer ourselves in the wrong direction……if we can help it, right?!  

    The DMR has issued an emergency bill:  Herring Management Plan, Chapter 36:01.  It goes as such: “For Management Area 1A, Sub-ACL Trimester 2 (June 1 – September30), all vessels landing herring caught in Management Area 1 in any Maine port will be limited to fishing for herring on three consecutive days only (6pm on Sunday night to 6 pm on Tuesday.  All vessels landing herring caught in Management Area 1A in any Maine port are limited to one landing per 24 hour period (6pm to 6pm).  The rule also defines harvester vessel and carrier vessel, and imposes reporting requirements for both types of vessels.  Seiners may transfer fish to another seiner (who is required to report the received catch as their own), but may only transfer fish to one carrier vessel per week.  Vessels operating as harvester vessels may not operate as carrier vessels on the same trip.  For these reasons, the Commissioner has determined that it is necessary to take emergency action under 12 MRS 617(3)(B) to prevent the depletion of the supply of herring.  The Commissioner hereby adopts this emergency regulation as authorized by 12 M.R.S. 617 (3).  Effective date:  July 9, 2016.”  If you have questions, please call Hanna Dean @ DMR, Hannah.dean@maine.gov or 207 624-6573.

    Giving you an update of the DMR Wait List, Sarah Cotnoir has sent out letters to the folks on the waiting list asking if they wish to stay on it or remove their name from the list. I believe there is a 90 day wait for reply, making it the beginning of September to reply. This will be the beginning of a process that will help the apprentice waiting list with the test of time.  We are glad that this process has begun, as I have heard that there were quite a few on the lists that went off.  Just bringing this awareness to the front will be a big help.

    We would also like to remind you that the Island Fishermen’s Wives Fishermen’s Day that was scheduled for last Sunday in Stonington; was cancelled due to rain showers.  Mike and I went down just in case and felt that if it was cancelled, we would spend some time there just to enjoy.  We wandered into Steve Robbin’s “Church” that he holds in his workshop on Main St. and had a great time! (lots of good "pickin' and grinnin' ”) I think that was just what we needed that day.

    Mike had just had a kidney stone “blasted” a few days earlier and wasn’t feeling real lively, so this was just the medicine that we needed.  Thank you Steve and everyone that welcomed us and made us feel right at home!  The Island Fishermen’s Wives are planning to re-schedule Fishermen’s Day.  Stay tuned for further notice.  We hope to see everyone there.

    DELA extends our heartfelt sympathy for the passing of Cappy Sargeant.  He will be greatly missed.  Rest in peace, Dear Friend.

    We would like to Welcome little Jackson Turner to the world.  He is the new son of our Director, Ethan Turner and Erin Hutchinson of Deer Isle.  Jackson also has made our President Hilton Turner and his wife Rhonda Turner new grandparents.  Congratulations!

    DELA also welcome new member, Clarissa Feltis of Waldoboro on board!  Clarissa has a son and daughter, as well as her husband that are all part of our lobster industry.

Thank you for your continued support!  We look forward to seeing you this summer. Please stay safe.       Sheila

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JULY 2016
From the Director-

     Here we are, at the beginning of another season!  The Maine Lobster Boat Racing has started up with some of the racers from the Old Heyday back for another round of fun and competition.  The offshore lobstermen are coming back to the three-mile area to fish closer to the rocks and the speculation of an early shed or a normal year is the big conversation on the docks.  As a matter of fact, I am writing this on the first official day of summer, which the days start getting shorter after today……so enjoy while you can.

     Mike and I went to Stonington to represent DELA at the Zone C Meeting that was held on June 9th.  It was good to see a quorum at this meeting and I want to say that I am very proud of all of the representatives that turned out for the meeting.  It had a lot of cancellations before this actual meeting could be held, but now it has been accomplished.

     The vote was 7 – 0 with the Zone C Council approving to send a survey that asks the Zone C license holders if they are in favor of switching to a limited entry zone.  By law, the vote closed the zone to new licenses until the survey is returned and the council votes in favor or changes back to re-open the zone.

     Sarah Cotnoir very carefully explained that the students working toward their commercial license are exempt from being placed on a waiting list if they complete the requirements of the student license.  She also stated that there is a separate waiting list for transfers and new entrants. 

     Mike Dassatt was asked to explain how his zone, which is Zone D operates under a closed system.  He explained that some zones are still using tags for an exit ratio and some of the zones have changed to licenses in and out.  Zone D is still using tags, but with the new law change, they will go by the original history of the fisherman’s purchase of the tags.  So if they started with 800 tags and are fishing 100 tags at the present, the 800 tags will be counted toward the waiting list.  He also stated that at the hearing, DELA submitted a letter with suggestions to help amend the bill and make it possible for most everyone to “live with the changes” in a positive manner. 

     Whether you are for or against the zone closure, it is at least a step toward getting the work accomplished.  I was surprised that with such an important issue as this, that there were so few fishermen there.  I know, I know……..but please, let’s stay involved with the destiny of our future.

     The landings and prices are also a big topic right now.  With lobster landings down 25% to 40% in PEI, harvesters hope that higher prices make a difference.  At this point in time, the prices are $6.50 for canners and $7.00 for markets.  The estimates are that some of the catches will be down approximately 25% from last season.  Right now, in Maine, the prices are ranging from $4.75, $5.75 and $6.25.

     The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative is asking that we call the catch “New Shell” instead of using the word “shedders.”  This makes a lot more sense from the angle of marketing a top quality product.  They have some great videos on their website update if you are interested in taking a look.  The titles are “Sustainability at Sea, What Is New Shell, An Integral Industry and Taste New Shell.”  The site is:  info@lobsterfrommaine.com or 207-541-9310 if you’d like to give them a call and speak to them “first hand.” 

     The new NERACOOS.org is now online!  This is the updated Integrated Ocean Observing System.  We find it a very good way to start your day and keep it as safe as possible.  You can go online and check the weather conditions on the water before you leave the house.  We always check out the weather on this website and find it to be very helpful.  The look of the new homepage is more fresh, modern and clean to go by.  The new site has new overall navigation to make it easier to access all of the data products.

     The Fishermen’s Forum Board is already working on the next season.  We have been busy getting everything in order once again.  Each year, we try to make improvements to the web communications and contact opportunities.  It is always a work in progress.

     The Island Fishermen’s Wives of Stonington have the date set for the 27th Annual Fishermen’s Family Fun Day, which will be July 17th, 2016 at the Stonington Fish Pier.

They want to be sure that we have a great time either as a spectator, booth holder or participant.  We always look forward to spending the day at the pier!  There is always a great variety of food……no one should leave there hungry, that is for sure.

     Our next meeting is set for Thursday, July 14th at Jasper’s in Ellsworth – 6:00 pm.
All are welcome to come along.  We’d love to have you “On Board!”

See you at the dock,
Sheila

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November 2015

From the Director –

    Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which brings a whole new awareness to what we are thankful for this year.  In the light of all that is going on around us, Paris, terrorists,

a tourist jet bombed down over Egypt, it can be a little difficult to focus on a holidays and festivities.  There is a lot to be thankful for this year at the end of our inshore lobster season.  We do not want to overshadow all of the hard work that we have been doing to make 2015 a successful lobster harvest.  The season was more like an “old fashioned” one with the prices holding up quite well in all areas.  The more recent saying is “save a turkey, eat lobster for Thanksgiving.”  Let’s try to continue on the best that we can.  If someone needs a helping hand to bring up their gear or their boat breaks down, working together will pull us through.  This time of the year, Mike and I are no strangers to having help from our fellow lobstermen.  I am forever thankful for people like Leroy Bridges, who came to Belfast with his vessel, “Miss Madison” from Deer Isle in 2006 to help us bring our gear in due to losing the engine.  When this happened, all of the guys in the harbor had already brought their boats up for the season and couldn’t help us out.  I also remember when Mike had his heart problems and was in the ICU, (the year 2000) the guys in our harbor had permission from Marine Patrol and brought our gear up for us.  I was beside myself because I was in no position to go out and bring it all in!  We are still forever “Thankful” for their help.

     These acts of kindness are all tradition, which I know that we work hard to represent in our industry.  I am saying this also because one of the big topics right now is the lobster licensing and waiting list.  A lot of people are quite concerned with the fact that our older generation is retiring or passing away.  We need to have our younger generation involved with the fishery, belong to associations and stay “in the loop” to know what is changing in the legislature and represent our lobster industry for the future.  Coming from a fishing family, when my parents passed on, it took me a while to accept the fact that we are left to carry on.  I know that they worked hard to raise us up and set the example to go by.  It wasn’t always easy. Most of us were raised by fathers that had come home from the war, so they went from being soldiers to being a parent.  We certainly understood what hard work and responsibility meant!  This statement also came to my mind because Veteran’s Day is also recently behind us.  I am also Thankful for all of our Veterans.  They also taught us respect and how to be thankful.

     D.E.L.A. would also like to welcome our new member, Garbo Lobster Company, Inc.!

We have also been working on updating the DELA website with pictures that we asked you all to send in to us.  Christy Perce (our daughter), has been working on this with successful results.  The pictures that have been sent in are also on our Facebook site.

I’d like to Thank Christy for her help and continued efforts to keep DELA up to date by inviting member and fisherman participation.  We love to hear from the wives, too!  Theresa Chipman is quite an accomplished photographer.  The new picture on the Facebook site was taken by John Chipman, Jr. and the website picture was sent in by Richard Hildings of Vinalhaven.  We have more pictures to post, from Karen Densmore (F/V Empty Pockets) Corea and more……Thank you to all! 

     We are also working on our Associate Member list that we want to post in the Maine Coastal News, as well as our Board of Directors.  This has all been a work in progress, but we plan to accomplish this as time goes on.  Also, don’t forget that we welcome your ad in the Maine Coastal News.  Our “staff” is rather limited, so we don’t always have an ad person going to each business, so if you are interested, please contact me at any time.  Your ad helps to support DELA which is a generous gift from Jon Johansen.  The ads are very similar to sponsorship, as you have seen in the MLA Landings that you receive in the mail.  Our Associate members are a very important part of our membership.  We work hard to represent their businesses to help their success in the industry.  When we work together with our businesses, it helps them to flourish as well.

     We also plan to carry on with the suggestions from our Board of Directors to contact our schools to inform them of our DELA Scholarship Fund.  We have successfully awarded two scholarships from this fund which is completely funded by donations from our membership.  We are very proud of the DELA Scholarship Fund and the participation of our members.  We couldn’t do it without you!  Thank you once again.

     I haven’t been very political in this report due to all of the circumstances that we are surrounded with and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  I think it is a good time to reflect on some of the good things that we have done for one another.  Please enjoy your families and friends this holiday season.  Christmas is also sooner than we think!

Thank you to all of you and have a Merry Christmas, too!

Blessings, Sheila

Our next DELA meeting is Thursday, January 14th at Jasper’s Restaurant in Ellsworth – 6:00 p.m. (weather permitting). I will post any changes on Facebook and downeastlobstermen.org.