According to the website 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.”

Fox Island rowers win in Massachusetts

HULL, Mass. — Students from North Haven, Vinalhaven and Rockland’s Station Maine found themselves at the front of a pack of more than 200 young open-water rowers at the Icebreaker: Northeast Regional Youth Open-Water Rowing Championships in Hull, Mass., Nov. 20.

The three local teams placed in the top three in a number of heats and races, with Vinalhaven earning top honors on the nautical mile, finishing with a time of 7 minutes and 35 seconds.

Other teams in the event hailed from ports as near and far as Boston Harbor, Lake Champlain in Vermont, and New York City.

Marine weather class offered in Thomaston

THOMASTON — Meteorologist Ken McKinley will teach a two-day class in Understanding Meteorology and Marine Weather on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 at The Marine Systems Training Center in Thomaston. The course will provide mariners with an understanding of common weather systems and how they affect yachting and commercial boating activities. Participants will be given the opportunity to work with publicly available weather information to determine simulated safe routing decisions in real time and using historical hurricane data.

For more information, or to enroll, contact MSTC at 354-8803 or by e-mail at info@marinesystemstraining.com.

Coast Guard to offer drill conductor classes

The Coast Guard is offering several drill conductor classes. According to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, the training is required by the state of Maine for anyone wishing to receive a commercial fishing license.

Classes will be offered at McMillan Offshore Survival Training at 148 Waterville Road in Belfast on Saturday, Jan. 15 and Saturday, Feb. 12. An additional class may take place at the Ella Lewis School in Steuben.

To register or request further information about the classes, contact John McMillan at 338-1603, Garry Moores at 733-2054 or Kevin Plowman at 780-3256.

Maine lobster industry awaits sustainability certification

ELLSWORTH — An article by Stephen Rappaport at the website at fenceviewer.com reported that, two years after beginning the certification process, the Maine lobster industry is still waiting to hear from the Marine Stewardship Council.

According to Department of Marine Resources Commissioner George Lapointe, the last part of the process is a peer review, now under way.

Certification involves a review of the lobster fishery by an independent third party, in this case Great Britain-based worldwide technical services organization Moody International, to determine how well it meets MSC’s sustainability standards. A “pre-assessment” of the industry concluded that, with minor changes in management practices, the fishery would most likely qualify for certification, Rappaport’s story said.

The story said Maine’s lobster industry could expect to see the process completed by May, when the 2011 season is scheduled to begin.

Australian lobster market hits hard times

MELBOURNE, Australia — A Dec. 7 story by Kate Dowler, at the Australian website weeklytimesnow.com, said that thousands of rock lobsters await unloaded at port or processing plants due to the swift collapse of the Chinese market.

This followed the recent announcement that the Chinese market had closed.

Quoting one fisherman who said Australian lobstermen might have to take a cut in the price from processors, from an expectation of about $40 per kilogram to $25 for the same weight, Dowler’s article said government representatives in Beijing were investigating the issue with an eye to resolving any trade impediments as soon as possible.

Harpswell wharf retained for commercial fishing

HARPSWELL –– An important wharf in the Harpswell fishing community is the latest project to be protected under the state’s Working Waterfront Access Pilot Program, a Dec. 9 news release said. The wharf had been owned by Bob and Marolyn Bibber since the mid-1970s and has been known locally as Bibber Lobster. It is now owned by Jim Merryman, a Harpswell lobstermen with roots in the fishing community.

Located at the end of Ash Point Road on the Harpswell peninsula in Cumberland County, the 0.40-acre property includes 160 feet of deepwater shorefront with all-tide access, as well as a house that will be offered as a seasonal rental unit to help generate income to support the property.

Retail sales of lobster from the facility will continue as they have for years. The property is used by five lobsterboats. In addition to serving as a buying station, it will provide the following services to its patron boats: diesel fuel, bait, freezing/cooling space, and parking. According to the news release, Merryman hopes to utilize the facility to its maximum potential to allow better access for fishermen to unload lobsters and provide more storage space in the tanks for live product.

In exchange for an agreement to place a restrictive covenant on the property to keep the facility available for commercial fishing use in perpetuity, the WWAPP awarded Merryman $145,750 toward the purchase price of the property.

The Working Waterfront Access Pilot Program is jointly administered by the Land for Maine’s Future Program, the Maine Department of Marine Resources and Coastal Enterprises Inc. A November bond referendum recapitalized the WWAPP program with an additional $1.75 million and the state expects to solicit proposals for new projects in early 2011. For more information visit the website at wwapp.org.

Research facility opens Down East

GREAT WASS ISLAND — A Dec. 5 story by Sharon Kiley Mack in the Bangor Daily News reported that the Downeast Institute of Applied Marine Research, located on Black Duck Cove on Great Wass Island, has opened a new marine education center.

Formerly known as the Beals Island Regional Shellfish Hatchery, DEI has been conducting shellfish research for 20 years, the story said.

Public seminars, speakers, forums and classes can be held in the facility, along with research projects currently budgeted at $678,000. Those projects include:

  • $400,000 for research into multiple farming techniques for northern hard clams.
  • $90,000 for oyster farming research.
  • $163,165 to increase sea scallop harvests through stock enhancement.
  • $25,000 to spawn and seed surf clams in natural field plots.

The education center is part of a 9,000-square-foot facility that includes a commercial wharf and two working impoundments, Mack’s story said.

Ocean Classroom offers Cruise for a Cause

BOOTHBAY — Sam Moskowitz of Rockland was one of a group of high school students, from Maine and beyond, to travel last March to Luperon, a small village on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. The cruise aboard the Ocean Classroom Foundation schooner Harvey Gamage brought the students into contact with Village Mountain Mission and introduced them to the Salvador family, who had been living in inhospitable conditions. While they were in Luperon, the Ocean Classroom students built the family a new house, in just one week from the foundation to the roof. Prior to completion of the dwelling, one child in the Salvador family had to live in another town and two had been sharing a mattress placed on the dirt floor.

As a result of having worked for the mission, many of Ocean Classroom’s students plan on participating in future service projects, a news release said.

The Ocean Classroom Foundation would like to partner with the Village Mountain Mission on a regular basis so that building a home for a family in need would become an integral part of their high school semester at sea program. Funds are needed for the costs of the students’ transportation, food, and supplies while working on the building site. A fundraiser is being planned for the spring.

People can support this effort by joining Cruise for a Cause this winter. Ocean Classroom will offer a Caribbean voyage during February vacation week for adults who want to experience an abbreviated version of the same program students have been receiving since 1996.

To learn more about the cruise, contact Ocean Classroom Foundation’s Educational Director Alyson Graham at 633-2750. For more information visit the website at oceanclassroom.org.

Lobster shipper offers iPhone application

MILBRIDGE — Dorr Lobster, a family-run business since 1977, has developed the first application for Apple products that will allow consumers to order Maine lobsters right from their phone.

The new tool is designed for Apple products including the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPad and can be downloaded from Dorr Lobster’s website. It allows consumers to search a menu of items and order the company’s Maine seafood products such as a lobster dinner for two, Maine scallops and more. Once the order is placed the consumer gets a confirmation number and a tracking number for the lobster shipment.

Customers can download the application at dorrlobster.com. It is also available online at the iTunes website.

Dorr Lobster Company has been a family-run business since 1977. It began with a single fisherman and expanded to include a state-of-the-art coldwater seasoning and packaging facility. The company sells lobster, Maine crab meat, mussels, Maine sea scallops and Maine shrimp meat.

EnergyOcean conference returns to Maine

HOUSTON, Texas — Speakers are being solicited for EnergyOcean 2011, to take place June 14 through June 16 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.

EnergyOcean International is the premier conference and exhibition focused on offshore renewable and sustainable power including wind, wave, tidal, thermal, current, solar and hybrids, a Dec. 6 news release said. The 2011 EnergyOcean International Conference has issued an industry-wide call for participation. A government and industry-based committee has been formed to assist with programming the event.

Prospective authors are invited to submit 200- to 300-word abstracts for consideration by the program committee by Jan. 31.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Offshore wind
  • Wave energy
  • Currents and tidal
  • Hybrid methods
  • Economics
  • Regulations
  • Policy
  • Project development
  • Research
  • Utility involvement in offshore renewable power
  • Environmental issues

Abstracts should be submitted to Conference Coordinator Kayla Appelt at kaylaa@tradefairgroup.com no later than Jan. 31. The following information should accompany the submission.

  • Title of presentation
  • Author names
  • Presenter names
  • Full contact information
  • Topic of the paper

Abstracts should be sent as Word documents.

Learn more about the conference at energyocean.com.

Sport fishermen sue fisheries service

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Last week, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced a six-month delay in implementing closures on all bottom fishing resulting from the Amendment 17A management measure that would affect a 4,800-square-mile area in the South Atlantic.

According to a Dec. 6 news release, Recreational Fishing Alliance — Florida representative Dave Heil has filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court of Jacksonville, Fla., to overturn the red snapper closure and the bottom closure off of Northeast Florida.

The suit claims NMFS “was clearly in violation of the federal fisheries law on a number of counts.”

In an article in the Florida Times Union on Dec. 5, Heil called the South East Data Assessment and Review process flawed, and said it was based on the same historical guessing game as earlier studies going back more than 60 years.

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