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.”

Shrimp season starts Dec. 1

HALLOWELL — Maine’s shrimp season will run this year for seven days a week from Dec. 1 until April 15, 2011. The 136-day season has been reduced from last year’s 180 days. An estimated smaller population of northern shrimp prompted a regulatory attempt to preserve the stock.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission estimated this year’s catch would be mostly 4-year-old females, smaller than the 5-year-olds harvested annually for the past few years.

Scallop rules under consideration

HALLOWELL — Public hearings are planned for a proposed Commercial Scallop License Limited Entry System.

The proposed rulemaking is designed to fulfill a legislative mandate by establishing lottery procedures for the commercial scallop license limited entry system. The system would allow for Maine residents who held specific licenses to become eligible for a commercial scallop license through a lottery.

The hearing schedule is as follows.

  • Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Yarmouth Town Hall Community Room, 200 Main St., Yarmouth
  • Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. at Ellsworth City Hall, One City Hall Plaza, Ellsworth
  • Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. at UMM Science Building, Second Floor, Room 207, 9 O’Brien Ave., Machias

Comments should be sent no later than Dec. 18 to the Department of Marine Resources, Attn L. Churchill, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor, ME 04575; or by e-mail to laurice.churchill@maine.gov.

Researchers from U.S., Canada to study watersheds

FREDERICTON, N.B. — A Nov. 12 article in the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal announced that two University of New Brunswick professors will work with U.S. researchers on a million-dollar project funded by NASA.

The collaboration will study three major watersheds in New Brunswick and Maine: the Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers, the Penobscot and St. John rivers, and the Gulf of Maine, the story said.

“Researchers will examine how much water, carbon and nutrients are moving through forested and agricultural lands, as well as wetlands, into the rivers and the coastal marine environment,” reporter Brett Bundale wrote. “The project has received a three-year US $1.1 million grant under NASA’s Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science program.”

The research team includes scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Yale University, Michigan Technological University and Bowdoin College.

Free workshop for seafood producers

STANDISH — A free workshop for seafood producers about ocean acidification’s effect on marine life will be held Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast.

Mark Green, an oceanographer who teaches environmental science at Saint Joseph’s College, will talk about his research over the last eight years tracking acidification’s effects on shellfish in the Gulf of Maine. He will talk about what has already happened to the gulf’s ecosystem, as well as what can be done to keep Maine’s seafood industry thriving. Seafood harvesters and crews are welcome to bring questions.

The Hutchinson Center is at 80 Belmont Ave. (Route 3) in Belfast. The ocean acidification workshop is co-hosted by Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. For more information call 893-7723.