According to the Web site wordorigins.org, “Scuttlebutt is an early 19th century nautical term for an open cask of water kept on deck for use by the crew. The term comes from scuttle – to cut a hole in – and butt – a large cask. Sailors would gather about the cask and trade stories and gossip, much like modern office workers do at the water cooler or coffee pot. By the turn of the 20th century, American sailors began using the term scuttlebutt to refer to these sea stories and gossip. Eventually the term became associated with any gossip or rumor.”

Funding released for University of Maine tidal energy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, announced Jan. 11 the release of $951,000 in funding through the Energy and Water Appropriations bill for the University of Maine for research into tidal energy, currently under way off the coast of Eastport.

According to the University of Maine, the funding will be used to advance efforts to develop Maine’s tidal power resource. A research collaborative led by university scientists has begun evaluating the potential environmental impact of harnessing tidal energy off Maine’s coast, and an environmental impact assessment is a key component of this research, according to a press release from Michaud’s office.

The press release said that tidal power is created by submerged turbines with foils that are turned by the ocean’s currents similar to the way that wind moves turbines on land. Before full commercialization occurs, researchers and developers need to understand how the turbines will fit into the ocean environment. Estimates show that in the next five to seven years, tidal energy has the potential to be a billion dollar industry in Maine, creating several hundred jobs, the press release said.

Pingree praises America’s Great Waters Coalition

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, congratulated national, regional and local environmental groups Dec. 8 for forming a new coalition to protect the Gulf of Maine and other major bodies of water. The America’s Great Waters Coalition will bring together over 30 organizations to focus public and political support on protecting nine of the largest water ecosystems in the country, including the Gulf of Maine, the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, according to a press release issued by Pingree’s office.

Rule proposes to deny entry to illegal fishing vessels

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is seeking public comment on a proposed rule that would allow the NOAA assistant administrator for fisheries to deny a vessel entry into a U.S. port or access to port services if that vessel has been listed for engaging in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by one of the world’s international fishery management organizations, a Jan. 11 press release said.

The rule would also prohibit people and businesses from providing certain services to, and engaging in commercial transactions with, listed illegal, unreported and unregulated vessels. Those services would include processing fish harvested by a listed vessel or processing fish using a listed vessel; joint fishing operations; providing supplies, fuel, crew, or otherwise supporting a listed vessel; and entering into a chartering arrangement with a listed vessel.

Current U.S. law has largely discouraged illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing vessels from arriving in U.S. ports. However, there have been a few instances when transport vessels identified on IUU lists have reached U.S. ports, the press release said. The proposed rule would clarify actions that the U.S. can take to deny these vessels access to the United States.

IUU fishing activities include fishing in an area without authorization; failing to record or declare catches, or making false reports; using prohibited fishing gear; and re-supplying or re-fueling IUU vessels.

Comments on the proposed rule, identified by RIN 0648-AW09, may be submitted electronically by Feb. 25 via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Comments may also be mailed to Mi Ae Kim, Trade and Marine Stewardship Division, NOAA’s Fisheries Service Office of International Affairs, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Md. 20910.

Links to relevant conservation measures and IUU vessel lists can be found at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ia.

EnergyOcean conference calls for speakers

EnergyOcean International, the premier international conference and exhibition focused on offshore renewable and sustainable power, issued an industry-wide call for participation.

Prospective authors are invited to submit 200 to 300 word abstracts for consideration by the program committee by Feb. 15 on topics such as offshore wind, currents and tidal energy, regulations, policy, and project development. For more information, contact conference coordinator Kayla Appelt at kappelt@tradefairgroup.com. To learn more about EnergyOcean International, visit energyocean.com.

Send scuttlebutt to Herald Gazette reporter Shlomit Auciello at sauciello@villagesoup.com or call 207-236-8511.