The season for recreational boaters is in full swing, with many planning for the first running of the Penobscot Bay Rendezvous on Aug. 18.

Meanwhile, the working waterfront is coping with regulations that create logistical boundaries for those shipping their catch from Maine’s harbors on the unbounded sea, to those in other states.

States to the west change lobster size limits

A story by Edward D. Murphy in the Portland Press Herald and online at the news website mainetoday.com described changes to laws in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey “that bar the possession of some lobsters that are of legal size in Maine.”

According to Murphy’s story, the new regulations require the body of any lobster sold in those states to be at least 3 3/8 inches long. In Maine, the minimum size for a lobster is 3¼ inches long.

“The New York-New Jersey-Connecticut laws specify possession, meaning that it’s a violation if someone is found with a lobster that’s too small, rather than a law aimed only at the minimum size for lobsters caught in the states’ waters,” Murphy wrote. That means lobsters shipped into the three states must meet the specifications of the new regulation, not just those caught in those three states.

Maine crew wins prizes in Halifax race

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Falcon, a 1936 New York 32 Class yacht, took three first place trophies including first in fleet for the Offshore Racing Rule Division, and the Over the Hill Gang trophy.

Falcon’s first race was the Bermuda Race in 1936. The yacht campaigned for years in classic yacht races on the Maine Coast. Maine sailors on the crew were Matt Murphy of Penobscot, Greg Smith of Surrey, Tom Lunde of Orrs Island, Chris Miller of Castine and Bob Scott also of Castine and skipper of Falcon.

The 75-year-old sloop took part in the fastest race in the 109-year history of the ocean race that started July 10 at Marblehead and finished 46 hours later in Halifax, Nova Scotia Harbor, a distance of 432 land miles.

Aquaculture grants offset high feed costs

AUGUSTA — Maine will receive $87,241 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of a $20 million program to provide economic assistance for aquaculture producers who experienced high feed input costs during the 2009 calendar year. A block grant from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency will be given to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, the state agency that will be administering the program.

Similar to the 2008 program, eligible aquaculture producers must have 2009 feed costs that represented at least 25 percent of the producer’s total input costs and must have also experienced at least a 25 percent increase of feed costs above the state’s five-year average costs, between 2003-2007. The required documentation includes 2009 payment eligibility and payment limitation information from the Farm Service Agency; a letter from the feed mill that certifies, at a minimum, the producer’s total feed deliveries in calendar year 2009 and the producer’s 2009 average feed price; and a completed state of Maine 2009 Aquaculture Grant Program Agreement.

The date for required paperwork is Thursday, Sept. 1. To learn more about the program, contact Caldwell Jackson at Maine Department of Agriculture by calling 287-3419 or Don Todd at the Farm Service Agency by calling 990-9100.

Educational cruises ply Blue Hill Bay

BLUE HILL — Maine Environmental Research Institute is launching three weekly educational cruises.

  • Eco-cruises — For adults and families, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Coastal Monitoring Excursions — For adults and families, Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Island Explorers — For children ages 6 to 12, Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All boat trips depart from Naskeag Point, Brooklin, a 25-minute drive from the MERI Center in Blue Hill, unless otherwise arranged. Trip dates and times are subject to change. For tickets, visit the MERI Center at 55 Main St. in Blue Hill or call 374-2135.

For more information, visit the website at meriresearch.org.

Stephens Waring Yacht Design launches Isobel

BELFAST — Isobel, the latest yacht from the Stephens Waring Yacht Design drawing board, was launched recently at Brooklin Boat Yard. According to a press release, the 75-footer is the culmination of 14 months of work from design to build completion. Owners Richard and Mary Jane Schotte are planning a summer season that includes the inaugural Penobscot Bay Rendezvous on Aug. 18.

The light-displacement fast cruiser was christened at an informal gathering of Stephens Waring and Brooklin Boat Yard friends and clients on July 15.

The yacht will now be fitted out ahead of its debut regatta in August. Penobscot Bay Rendezvous participants who would like to visit the yacht are welcome to do so Saturday, Aug. 20 at Wayfarer Marine in Camden, beginning at 6 p.m.

Scuba workshop focuses on underwater mysteries

BRISTOL — A workshop that will help participants discover what is under the sea off the coast of Maine is scheduled to take place Saturday, Aug. 6 at 9 a.m. at Beachcombers’ Rest Nature Center.

Underwater photographer and diver Brian Boone will describe the underwater world and talk about the sport of scuba diving. He will bring up some sea life for all to examine first hand. Participants are encouraged to bring their water shoes. All ages are welcome, but children younger than 8 should be accompanied by an adult.

The workshop is free, but donations are welcome. Participants must pay the town’s admission fee to Pemaquid Beach Park. Pre-registration is required by calling PWA at 563-2196 before Aug. 4.

Preserving the Sargasso Sea

WEST BOOTHBAY HARBOR — Bigelow Laboratory will welcome David Shaw as Café Scientifique guest speaker on Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. in the Boothbay Harbor Opera House at 86 Townsend Ave. in Boothbay Harbor.

Shaw’s talk is titled “The Sargasso Sea Alliance: A Pioneering Effort in High Seas Ocean Conservation,” and will focus on the international initiative to protect the ecosystem of the Sargasso Sea.

Extending over 1.4 million square miles in the central part of the North Atlantic, the Sargasso Sea has been called “the golden rainforest of the ocean” by internationally renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle. It is bounded by ocean currents circulating around the North Atlantic sub-tropical gyre, and supports a range of species not found anywhere else in the world. It plays a critical role in the life cycle of a number of threatened and endangered species such as the Porbeagle shark and the American and European eel, as well as billfish, tuna, and several species of turtles. This vast ecosystem is based on species of Sargassum, free-floating seaweed living in the open ocean.

Café Scientifique talks are free and open to the public, with beer, wine and sodas available for purchase. This is the sixth of 10 Bigelow Laboratory summer science conversations, held every Tuesday from 6 to 7 p.m. through Aug. 30. The complete 2011 summer Café Scientifique program is posted at bigelow.org.

U.S. to list vessels engaged in illegal fishing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States joined more than 50 countries July 14 in a recommendation to regional fishery management organizations to better track vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing for tuna, swordfish, sharks and other highly migratory species. Annual global economic losses due to illegal fishing are estimated to be as high as $23 billion.

According to a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this action is a first step toward procedures for sharing information about vessels engaged in illegal fishing. Global cooperation to prevent IUU fishing coupled with sound science and effective management are essential to the sustainability of these wide-ranging species that are highly valued in commercial and recreational fisheries.

The nations that make up the five regional fishery management organizations managing highly migratory species in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans and adjacent seas will share information about vessels that are fishing illegally.

Maine Maritime sets annual meeting date

CASTINE -— The Board of Trustees of Maine Maritime Academy will meet Friday, Aug. 12 at 8:30 a.m. in the Holmes Alumni Heritage Room in the Harold Alfond Student Center on the college campus in Castine.

The meeting will be part of the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors of the MMA Alumni Association.

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.