This week’s scuttlebutt ranges from the smallest animals in the ocean to the largest pirate invasion along the Maine and Maritime coasts. As marinas and mooring fields fill with boats that are both locally registered and from far-flung ports, coast guardians and fishery regulators continue to do work designed to keep the bay safe and sustainable.

Northern New England gets new Coast Guard commander

SOUTH PORTLAND — U.S. Coast Guard Sector Northern New England’s crew received a new commander during a change of command ceremony June 24 at the Portland Head Light in Fort Williams Park.

Rear Adm. Daniel Neptun, commander of the First Coast Guard District, presided over the ceremony. Sector Northern New England’s outgoing commander, Capt. James McPherson of Bradley Beach, N.J., has been assigned as chief of staff for the First Coast Guard District in Boston. Capt. Christopher Roberge assumed command of Sector Northern New England. Roberge previously served as chief of prevention for Coast Guard Atlantic Area in Portsmouth, Va.

Sector Northern New England is the regional operational command overseeing all Coast Guard activities across Maine, New Hampshire, and the whole of Lake Champlain, an area that includes more than 5,000 total miles of coastline. The sector includes 19 field units and more than 1,100 personnel, working on search and rescue cases, recreational and commercial vessel safety and law enforcement boardings and U.S. and foreign vessel inspections. The sector also monitors deep draft and cruise ship arrivals, maintains 1,000 aids to navigation and conducts annual ice breaking operations along northeast waterways to facilitate commerce and to prevent river flooding.

Presentation to focus on scallop aquaculture

BELFAST — The top quality and premium price of Maine sea scallops has some people interested in starting a cultured scallop industry in Maine, according to a June 20 press release.

On Thursday, July 7 in Belfast, Dana Morse, a marine extension associate with Maine Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension, will present information on the advancing technology of scallop aquaculture to shellfish producers, chefs, fishermen, and others. Morse, who has visited scallop farms in Canada and Japan, will present details of various scallop production methods, market information, and business models.

Morse also will review techniques and results from scallop culturing efforts in Maine since 1999, when Maine fishermen began experimenting with enhancing wild stocks of scallops by collecting juvenile scallop seed or spat.

The presentation will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 7 at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend the free discussion, but registration is requested. For more information, call 563-3146 ext. 205 or email dana.morse@maine.edu.

Marine rule-making hearings scheduled

HALLOWELL — The Department of Marine Resources has scheduled the following hearings.

Sea Urchin Harvesting Season 2011-12: A proposed change in Zone 1 would give divers, rakers and trappers a choice of fishing 10 days in September or 10 days in December; and draggers in December or January. A proposed change in Zone 2 would set a 45-day season, the same length as in 2010-2011.

Scallop Harvesting Season 2011-2012:

A technical correction is proposed in regard to a closed area in the vicinity of Blue Hill. The proposal would establish the 2011-12 scallop fishing season from Dec. 17 through March 21, 2012, with fishing prohibited on Thursdays and Fridays in December and March. Dec. 25 would be closed. Scallop fishing would be prohibited on weekends in January and February. There would be a clarification that the Blue Hill Salt Pond is included in the Blue Hill area closure.

Lobster Trap Tag System – Owner Operator clarification:

The proposed rules would provide consistency with a new section of law that is meant to both clarify and strengthen the owner-operator law to address a loophole that has been identified by Maine Marine Patrol that allows certain arrangements of family members with two boats to circumvent the owner-operator law.

Maine Groundfish Management Plan:

The proposed rules would remove the 2-hook-per-line restriction to make it consistent with Amendment 16 and Framework 44 to the New England Multispecies Fishery Management Plan and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service regulations.

Limited-purpose aquaculture license:

Marine algae or seaweed species are proposed to be added to the list of authorized species for culture by limited-purpose aquaculture license holders.

Hearings will take place at 6 p.m. on July 11 at the Yarmouth Town Hall Community Room, 200 Main St., and on July 14 at the Ellsworth City Hall Auditorium. Following the urchin season hearings there will be hearings each night for rulemaking in regard to scallops, lobster, groundfish and seaweed aquaculture, in the order listed, starting immediately upon the conclusion of the hearing for the previous chapter.

For more information, visit the website at maine.gov/dmr/rulemaking.

Lobstermen sought for reality show

NEW YORK, N.Y. — According to the June 24 update from the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, Leftfield Pictures is looking for lobstermen for a new reality show called American Spirit. Interested parties should contact Kathleen Vissichelli at Leftfield Pictures, 545 8th Ave. — Suite 14 South, New York, N.Y. 10018; or call 212-564-2607 ext. 2441.

Lecture on ocean’s smallest predators

WEST BOOTHBAY HARBOR — Bigelow Laboratory scientists Hwan Su Yoon and Willie Wilson will lead a Café Scientifique discussion at 6 p.m. on July 5 about the implications of the recent discovery by a team of Bigelow Laboratory and Rutgers University researchers that some of the ocean’s smallest life forms — thought to be microscopic single-celled plants when they were first identified in 2007 — are actually animals.

“Life and Death in a Drop of Seawater” is the second of 10 Bigelow Laboratory summer science conversations, held every Tuesday evening from 6 to 7 p.m. through Aug. 30 in the Boothbay Harbor Opera House, 86 Townsend Ave. in Boothbay Harbor.

By sequencing the genome of a single cell and reconstructing its history, scientists can begin to understand how individual cells interact with other cells in the environment, and how diseased cells differ from neighboring healthy ones. The tools developed for this study may advance other types of biological research, helping to understand, for example, why different cancer cells from the same tumor grow at different rates.

Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the results of this project were published in the May 6, 2011, issue of the journal Science.

Eastport Pirate Festival schedule update

EASTPORT — The Eastport Pirate Festival will celebrate its sixth year Sept. 9 through 11. The festival is the largest pirate festival in Maine and the Maritimes, a press release said.

This year the Eastport Pirate Festival will add a fireworks display on Saturday evening, Sept. 10, if weather permits.

In addition to fireworks, festival attendees can also expect to see skydivers dressed as pirates as part of the Invasion of Lubec on Sept. 3 the weekend before the Pirate Invasion. A Fiddle Contest has been added to the lineup of entertainment for the latter event.

More vendors and quality crafts people are being sought for the three-day festival and organizers are also reaching out to buskers — traditional street performers — from all over the U.S. to perform in the streets.

For more information on the Eastport Pirate Festival, contact Chris Brown at 853-4343 or John Miller at 800-691-8182.

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