Wednesday, June 14 was National Lobster Day, but to residents of the Midcoast, Maine’s trademark crustacean is part of the fabric of everyday life.

According to the Department of Marine Resources, more than 93 million pounds of lobster were caught in Maine’s waters in 2010 valued at more than $308 million. In addition, there are nearly 6,000 licensed commercial lobstermen in Maine.

Of the more than 93 million pounds of lobsters caught in the state last year, 31 million were landed in Hancock County and 25 million in Knox County, with a combined value of $181 million, and accounting for 60 percent of the total catch in Maine. Washington County landings were 16 million pounds, with a value of more than $52 million.

Apprenticeshop graduates two, launches six

ROCKLAND — On Friday, June 17 at 12 p.m. The Apprenticeshop will celebrate the graduation of apprentices Justin McAnaney, Kelly O’Sullivan and Thor Hubble.

Following graduation the public is invited to share the celebration as the school launches its our latest apprentice and intern built boats.

With the high tide at noontime the following boats will be launched.

  • An 18-foot Buzzard’s Bay sloop, designed by Peter Culler and built by apprentices Ryan Flynn, Thor Hubble, Jared Huffman, Duncan Macfarlane and Alex Roderick
  • The Apprentice 15, a daysailer designed by Kevin Carney and built by apprentices Justin McAnaney, Skyler Shepard, Jeff Steele, and Hobbs White
  • A 14-foot Skylark, designed by Paul Gartside and built by apprentices Matt Costa, Matt Dirr and Adam Yanchunis
  • A 10-foot Abeking & Rasmussen tender built by Sophie Meltzer and Drew Scott
  • Two 12-foot Susan skiffs built by interns Sarah Whittam and J. Noah Singh

The Apprenticeshop is located at 643 Main St. in Rockland. More information can be found at the website at apprenticeshop.org.

Marine ecologist to speak on mass extinction

BLUE HILL — On Tuesday June 21, the public will have an opportunity to hear marine ecologist Jeremy Jackson give a talk entitled “Brave New Ocean: The Future of the Ocean Past,” as part of the Marine Environmental Research Institute Ocean Environmental Lecture Series. Please note that this June lecture is on a Tuesday not the customary Thursday evening.

The biodiversity of the oceans and abundance of marine life are undergoing critical and increasingly rapid changes, a press release said. Coral reefs are being devastated, large numbers of marine fish populations are collapsing and the planet is losing coastal and marine ecosystems. According to Jackson, major drivers include over-exploitation, trawling, destruction of habitats, globalization of species, ocean warming, damage to marine food webs, and pollution.

Human activities are transforming once productive and complex ecosystems like coastal seas into oxygen-starved dead zones, and devastating kelp forests and coral reefs. The challenge for sustainability in the oceans, says Jackson, is to develop successful management and conservation strategies.

Jackson is director of the Center or Marine Biodiversity and Conservation; William E. and Mary B. Ritter Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif.; and a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Jackson’s lecture will begin at 7 p.m. and will be preceded by a 6 p.m. reception for the speaker and for distinguished marine biologist Nancy Knowlton who will be signing her new National Geographic book, “Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures From The Census of Marine Life”.

Marine Environmental Research Institute is located at the MERI Center, 55 Main St. in Blue Hill. For more information call 374-2135, e-mail to info@meriresearch.org, or visit MERI’s website at meriresearch.org.

North Haven welcomes alewives

NORTH HAVEN — A story by Catherine Schmitt, first published in the June issue of The Working Waterfront, and linked from the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s Landings newsletter at mainelandings.org, described the arrival of two Maine Department of Marine Resources tanker trucks at North Haven, via the Island Transporter.

In the tanks were live, adult alewives taken from the Kennebec River. Their destination was Fresh Pond, which once supported North Haven’s commercial alewife fishery.

The article described the work of Jeffrey Pierce, executive director of the Alewife Harvesters of Maine; Adam Campbell, North Haven fishermen and oyster farmer; Charles Curtin, island resident and science professor at Antioch University; Island Institute photographer Peter Ralston; and Toby Bonney and Jason Valliere, fisheries biologists with the Department of Marine Resources, in delivering the fish.

The alewife delivery on May 29 was the culmination of three years of planning and many more of dreaming, Schmitt’s article said. “With the arrival of the trucks of fish, alewives will move between Fresh Pond and the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in over a century.”

Approximately 25 people were on hand to watch 2,500 fish pour into the pond.

“The adult alewives stocked in Fresh Pond will spawn and leave the pond within a week or two,” Schmitt wrote. “The eggs will hatch and grow into juveniles over the summer. In the fall, as they migrate to the ocean, they’ll pick up sensory cues unique to the North Haven environment. This ‘imprinting’ will serve to guide them back to Penobscot Bay next year, although they won’t be old enough to spawn; that will take another two years, which is why the DMR will be stocking Fresh Pond for the next several years to secure a population.”

Lighthouse Challenge June 25 and 26

ROCKLAND — The fifth annual Midcoast Maine Lighthouse Challenge will invite participants to visit seven lighthouses — Pemaquid Point, Marshall Point, Owls Head, Rockland Breakwater, Grindle Point, Fort Point and Dice Head — and the Maine Lighthouse Museum over the course of two days on a self-guided tour.

Participants will receive a commemorative booklet that contains information about the lighthouses and directions to each site. Registration is free and can be done at any of the lighthouse locations on the challenge. Those who complete the challenge will be entered into a drawing to win a two-night stay for two at one of the four Historic Inns of Rockland, donated by the Historic Inns of Rockland.

On Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., inside the keeper’s dwelling of the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, the U.S. Coast Guard will showcase an array of modern optics that serve in today’s lighthouses and show how they keep the lights at many of Maine’s offshore stations. The motor vessel Rendezvous will offer optional water transportation throughout the day, from the Middle Pier in Rockland.

In addition, Maine’s first maritime museum, the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, is a bonus challenge site. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2011, the museum is featuring two special exhibits entitled “75 for 75” and “The Art of the Boat.” The museum will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The motor vessel Betselma will offer one-hour tours leaving Camden Harbor throughout the challenge weekend that will include water views of two additional bonus sites, Curtis Island and Indian Island lighthouses.

More information about the Friends and the Midcoast Maine Lighthouse Challenge can be found online at rocklandlighthouse.com or by emailing challenge@rocklandlighthouse.com.

Lighthouse sunset cruise to benefit Breakwater Light

ROCKLAND — The Friends of Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse invite the public to join them Friday, June 24 on a lighthouse sunset cruise to the Boothbay Harbor region. Participants will enjoy views of Franklin Island, Pemaquid Point, Ram Island, Cuckolds, Burnt Island and Marshall Point lighthouses.

The four-and-a-half-hour sunset cruise will depart Port Clyde at 4:30 p.m. aboard the passenger vessel Elizabeth Ann. Tickets are $35 per person; reservations are recommended. A cash bar, light fare and desserts will be offered onboard. Tickets can be purchased at the American Lighthouse Foundation Gift Store and Interpretative Center, located at 464 Main St. in Rockland online at rocklandlighthouse.com, or by calling 542-7574.

Research continues on lobster sensitivity

A story by Dawn Drazal, first published in the New York Times, and linked from the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s Landings newsletter at mainelandings.org, discussed recent research on whether lobsters feel anything when they are cooked.

Drazal’s article presents the work of Richard J. King, in which the author offers insights on a topic that has been under debate since the early 19th century.

“The latest scientific research on the subject holds that although a lobster lacks the neurological hardware to process pain like higher animals, it does register ‘nervous irritation,'” Drazal wrote. She offered a number of methods to kill the crustacean with less likelihood of pain, including the suggestion that cooks, “anesthetize the lobster in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then, flipping it on its back, use a sharp knife to split it all the way from the top of the tail (technically the abdomen) to the head. That severs the ganglia and kills it almost instantly.”

“The lobster population in the Gulf of Maine has inexplicably exploded, and while lobster fishing remains to some degree an individual enterprise, it has also become a multibillion-dollar, globally distributed industry,” the story states.

Red tide is focus of Café Scientifique

WEST BOOTHBAY HARBOR — Phytoplankton ecologist Cynthia Heil will kick off Bigelow Laboratory’s 2011 program of summer Café Scientifique gatherings at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28 with a discussion of the ecology of red tides and the microscopic, and often toxic, single-celled algae that cause them. “And the Sea Turned to Blood” is the first of 10 informal “science conversations” scheduled for Tuesday evenings, June 28 through Aug. 30, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Boothbay Harbor Opera House, 86 Townsend Ave. in Boothbay Harbor.

Boat show announces schedule

ROCKLAND — Boats, handcrafted products, and the summer scene will fill the Rockland waterfront and park Aug. 12 through 14 when hundreds of vendors join Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine for its annual boat and coastal lifestyle show. Examples of Maine-built boats from rowing craft and kayaks to sailboats and power yachts will be gathered together, as well as marine supplies, fine furnishings and home wares, art and jewelry, and sustainable energy products.

The show annually explores a different element of how tradition shapes innovation, a press release said. The focus for 2011 will be on coastal life circa 1936 from industry and enterprise to art, music, film and fashion, inspired in part by the 75th anniversaries of both the Penobscot Marine Museum and the Maine Windjammer Fleet.

The Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show will offer a diverse mix of live music, local food, and the World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials on Sunday, Aug. 14.

For more information about the show, its exhibitors, and collaborative community events, visit maineboats.com.

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.”

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