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.”

Rekord to carry spectators for Windjammer Parade

ROCKLAND — On Friday, July 16, members of the Sail, Power and Steam Museum can get a close up view of the annual Windjammer Parade at and around the Rockland Breakwater. The parade will celebrate Rockland’s windjammers and will be accompanied by a flyover of vintage planes from the Owls Head Transportation Museum.

The museum’s flagship, Rekord, will depart from the Museum at 75 Mechanic St. in Rockland at 2 p.m. for an approximately two-hour long cruise. The cruise will only be open to museum members. New members are welcome at any time.

Sharp’s Point South and the Sail, Power and Steam Museum are at 75 Mechanic St. in Rockland. For more information on this cruise, membership and the Sail, Power and Steam Museum, call 594-7627 or visit the Web site at sailpowersteam.org.

Marine Systems Training Center offers winter planning class

THOMASTON — The Marine Systems Training Center announced July 8 that it would offer a course in planning winter work for service yards, on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

The class, which is scheduled to take place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., will cover such topics as surveys, recommendations and estimates, as well as conducting inspections, and incentive invoicing

For more information contact the Marine Systems Training Center at 354-8803.

Wayfarer, Camden Yacht Club plan 2011 regatta

CAMDEN — Wayfarer Marine Chief Executive Officer Susan Howland said July 8 that she was working with the Camden Yacht Club to plan a sailboat regatta for the summer of 2011. Howland said a number of area boatyards were considering sponsorship of the event, which would probably offer race classes for large and small vessels.

Those interested in helping plan the regatta can contact Jon Watkins at 236-4378, ext. 234 or jwatkins@wayfarermarine.com.

Gulf of Maine Research Institute studies species interactions

PORTLAND — Marissa McMahan, a graduate student at the University of Maine and former Georgetown sternman, is working at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute as part of a team of five researchers who are taking a multi-disciplinary look at the interactions between herring, lobster and groundfish, with funding from the National
Science Foundation.

According to an article in GMRI’s spring/summer newsletter, when Gulf of Maine cod populations plummeted in the mid-1980s, lobster stocks took off and grew, until about five years ago when that population hit a plateau.

McMahan has been researching lobster behavior in the presence of predators, along with GMRI scientists Graham Sherwood and Jon Grabowski. They observed the movements of five lobsters in a pound at The Lobster Conservancy in Friendship, using state-of-the-art acoustic receivers.

Without predators present, the lobsters explored the perimeter, moved around frequently, set up territories, and tended to stay in the deepest and coldest parts of the pound. When three cod were released into the pound, the lobsters moved around significantly less.

The team is conducting a second phase of this experiment this summer and hopes to gain important insights about the relationship between lobsters and cod.

Science informs marine spatial planning

PORTLAND — The potential for new sustainable uses of the ocean is driving a lot of activity in the Gulf of Maine region, creating an increased focus on marine spatial planning, according to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

“The marine spatial planning process brings together diverse interests to create integrated, forward looking plans for managing resources into the future,” GMRI’s spring/summer newsletter stated. “This process has been under way in Massachusetts for the past two years, and it is beginning to gain momentum in Maine.”

One of the first steps in Maine’s involvement in spatial planning is the development of a Maine Coastal Atlas, a planning tool that will be a resource for integrated data.

GMRI’s Ocean Data Products Team (formerly the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System) is partnering on the project led by the Maine State Planning Office. The atlas will enable users to map out environmental and socioeconomic data, such as fishing grounds, sensitive habitats, shipping lanes, infrastructure, tourism areas, potential offshore wind and tidal power sites, and possible locations for aquaculture operations.

By overlaying layer upon layer of maps, the atlas will illustrate the dynamic, ever changing nature of the ocean, with usage that overlaps and shifts over time.

Inspector general releases critical report on fisheries enforcement

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Inspector General Todd Zinser has released his office’s report on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Enforcement Asset Forfeiture Fund.

According to a press release from The Project to Save Seafood and Ocean Resources, Zinser determined that despite the Office of Law Enforcement reporting a balance of $8.4 million as of Dec. 31, 2009, OLE officials could not provide evidence that the fund had ever been audited.

Accordingly, Zinser commissioned a major public accounting and auditing firm, KPMG, to conduct a forensic review of the collection of fines and penalties into, and expenditures from, the Asset Forfeiture Fund.

According to the press release, OLE has extensively used the fund to pay for materials and services such as vehicles, vessels, travel and training, while the Office of General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation uses the fund to pay for over 99 percent of its non-salary operating expenses.

KPMG was unable to discern the current balance of the fund because it found that NOAA did not have a consistent definition of the Asset Forfeiture Fund, and indicated the AFF was more of an abstract concept than a tangible entity within NOAA.

KPMG determined that no unit or individual within NOAA has a clear understanding of the AFF and how it functions from start to finish.

KPMG’s review showed a history of inattention within NOAA to a substantial and highly sensitive monetary function of the agency.

The complete report may be read at the Web site of the Office of the Inspector General.

Canadian company launches lobster caviar

RICHIBUCTO VILLAGE, N.B — A June 30 article by SeafoodSource contributing editor Nicki Holmyard at the Web site at seafoodsource.com reports that Village Bay Sea Products of New Brunswick, Canada, has a new product, lobster caviar.

The article states that the product is sustainably and legally extracted from non-berried female lobsters.

While the exact process is a carefully guarded secret, development chef Pierre Bouriaud said that a new technique enables him to extract eggs from female lobsters before they are released onto the body. “It is illegal to land a berried female, but we can work with lobsters landed to us for processing at an earlier stage,” he said.

The eggs are processed with salt, water and sodium alginate, and packed as a shelf-stable product in 50-gram jars that keep for up to five months in a refrigerator. The caviar is expected to retail for $25 to $30.

Bouriaud has also developed a number of other consumer and foodservice lobster products, including lobster butter, lobster pate, lobster oil and lobster spread. A lobster terrine is close to launch.

Hannaford develops Gulf of Maine sustainable seafood policy

SCARBOROUGH — Hannaford Supermarkets has asked seafood suppliers to demonstrate ways they are contributing to the improvement of seafood sustainability by March 2011.

Hannaford is working with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to review its suppliers’ sustainability efforts, using GMRI’s international research network to help identify sustainable seafood from around the world. Farmed seafood from outside the Gulf of Maine region must be Best Aquaculture Practices-certified, according to the new policy. BAP standards were created by the Global Aquaculture Alliance of St. Louis.

Hannaford is the first retailer to work with GMRI, which plans to launch a Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested program this month. Once the program gets under way, seafood products with the Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested label will likely be in other grocery stores and fish markets by September.

The science-based labeling program’s aim is for additional suppliers, retailers and other businesses to adopt sustainability initiatives. Meanwhile, seafood vendors are working with Hannaford on traceability.

In addition, many of Hannaford’s suppliers have already established seafood sustainability initiatives. Most of the chain’s seafood vendors have provided the chain with the required first round of documentation, explaining their sustainability and traceability policies.

New research model improves lobster population forecasting

ORONO — Managing the Gulf of Maine’s $300 million lobster industry has been a practice mostly reliant upon the physical size of adult stocks, a system called stock assessment and one that’s made policymaking largely reactive with little environmental input, according to a July 1 press release.

Now, a research team from the University of Maine School of Marine Sciences is developing a more science-based stock assessment model that can ingest information on lucrative lobster settlement areas and years, based on current patterns and density of drifting lobster larvae. The oceanographers have added real-time sea surface temperatures, detected by satellites, to the settlement assessment process. The data is important to better calculate “recruitment” populations of adult lobsters big enough to catch, keep and sell.

Working with a two-year, $430,000 grant from the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, a team led by researcher Andrew Thomas, the associate director in the School of Marine Sciences, says the new lobster stock assessment model will allow fisheries managers to include varying ocean environmental information in their forecasting. The result is much greater accuracy in determining which years and locations will likely be good or bad for lobstering.

Satellite surface temperatures not only help drive the circulation model, but water temperatures affect larval growth rate, which influences where they settle, Thomas said. Knowing the annual density of larval drift, currents, winds and water temperature enables researchers to create a model on which to base, for the first time, maps showing predictable lobster settlement locations.

Stock assessment in the past has been based solely on a population model reflected by surveys of adults and the size of the catch from year to year

Expanding the environmental factors in the forecasting model also allows scientists to include climate change variations in lobster settlement predictions. That helps the Atlantic States Fisheries Management Commission set policies based on more reliable expectations.

Fishermen to assist in herring study

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said July 7 that she has included funding in a major appropriations bill for a Maine project that would employ lobstermen and fishermen to conduct a much-needed study on the herring population that coastal industries depend on.

This year, herring quotas are 46 percent of what they were two years ago, a press release said. Without survey information of herring populations close to the coast, there is a wide margin of error in herring estimates and regulations cautiously side with the lowest projection.

Coordinated by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, the project would employ 10 lobster boats or fishing boats to use sonar equipment to count herring. With the boats surveying in different areas simultaneously, they will be able to get an accurate picture of the population.

Fishermen and lobstermen interested in participating in the study can contact the Gulf of Maine Research Institute at info@gmri.org or by calling 772-2321.

Cape Cod wind farm faces first lawsuit

WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to a June 26 article by Beth Daley at the Web site at boston.com, a legal challenge has been filed to the federal approval for construction of a 130-turbine offshore wind project in Nantucket Sound off Cape Cod.

Six groups filed the suit in federal district court in Washington, arguing that the controversial project will harm federally protected migratory birds and possibly whales. According to the article, the 30-page lawsuit claims federal officials “failed to collect data on the project’s impact on bird migration and whales and refused to adopt protective measures for the rare roseate tern and piping plover.”

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