Snowe helps form oceans caucus

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Olympia Snowe along with 16 Senate colleagues announced the formation of the new Senate Oceans Caucus. According to the member-approved charter, the stated mission of the Senate Oceans Caucus is to “facilitate congressional conversations about our coasts, estuaries, and open oceans and the policies that govern their management, use and protection.”

Snowe, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere and Coast Guard, will serve as an honorary co-chair of the caucus.

According to a press release, one of the caucus’ priorities will be addressing illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

DMR self-assessment available to public

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage announced Sept. 9 that a program review of the Maine Department of Marine Resources is complete and available to the public. The 90-page report illustrates management and mission-based areas for improvement, the press release said.

Earlier this year, all commissioners were asked by the governor to assess all operations, procedures and policies in order to improve department functions.

The report puts forth more than three-dozen recommendations, including the following.

  • Priority setting to make Maine a more “fish business friendly state”
  • Understanding the role of management plans within the department
  • Creating a better link between science and resource management
  • Increasing attention on opening clam flats
  • Creating staff training opportunities

Before any legislative or policy based proposals are made they will be subject to a review by the administration and the full Marine Resource Committee of the Legislature, the press release said.

A complete copy of the report can be found online on the Maine Department of Marine Resources website at maine.gov/dmr/news/dmrreview9-2-11.htm.

Memoir looks at a mariner’s life

ROCKLAND — Maine Authors Publishing announced Sept. 9 the release of a new book by Captain George Grimes, “Water Under the Keel: Memoirs of a Seagoing Life.”

In a series of brief chapters, Grimes’ book offers a look at the life of a mariner: the routines at sea and at ports around the world. He also discusses balancing family life with a seagoing career.

Grimes comes from a long line of mariners, going back six generations to Captain Joseph Stickney who sailed out of Beverly, Mass., a press release said. “Water Under the Keel” takes the reader from his boyhood to his education at Maine Maritime Academy and professional career in waters around the world.

The book is available from Maine Maritime Academy in Castine. Readers may also contact the author directly at bocean@comcast.net.

Fishery council to broadcast September meeting

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. — The New England Fishery Management Council will broadcast its next meeting, Sept. 26 through 29, from the CoCo Key Hotel and Resort in Danvers, Mass.

The meeting will be held daily from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Participants can register at the website at www3.gotomeeting.com/register/967505630.

Arctic sailing talk at Sail, Power and Steam Museum

ROCKLAND — On Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m., the Sail, Power and Steam Museum will present a slide talk about “Ice Blink,” a story that explores the lifestyle of a cruising family who has a different outlook on life. Dave and Jaja Martin, along with their three small children, voyaged on a 33-foot sailboat into the northernmost reaches of the globe.

Coffee and cookies will be served. The talk is free and donations are welcome.

Sharp’s Point South and the Sail, Power and Steam Museum are at 75 Mechanic St. in Rockland. For more information on the museum and its programs call 596-0200, write to ssmuseum@midcoast.com or visit the website at sailpowerandsteammuseum.org.

Offshore wind study receives federal grant

A Sept. 8 Associated Press story posted at the website at businessweek.com describes a $4.5 million Department of Energy grant to BioDiversity Research Institute of Gorham. The $4.5 million grant will enable researchers to study risks from offshore wind-power development to sea birds, sea turtles and marine mammals.

State solicits groundfish permit bids

HALLOWELL — The Department of Marine Resources is soliciting bids for the sale of Federal Limited Access Northeast Multispecies Permits.

Permit holders with allocations of any Gulf of Maine stocks are encouraged to apply. All permits acquired through this program will become the sole property of the state of Maine. Permits will be placed in the Maine Groundfish Permit Banking Program and the associated fishing opportunities will be distributed to Maine fishermen who meet certain eligibility criteria.

To receive a copy of the proposal application, call 624-6554 or write to the address below and ask for an application for RFP “DMR 201103047, State of Maine Groundfish Permit Bank” —

Trisha A. C. DeGraaf, Maine Department of Marine Resources, 21 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333; or trisha.degraaf@maine.gov.

The deadline for applications to be received at the Division of Purchases is 2 p.m. on Oct. 12.

Shaw’s commits to sustainable fisheries

WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — A Sept. 9 story at marketwatch.com reported on an announcement from Shaw’s Supermarkets stating a “commitment to seafood sustainability, highlighted by the new availability of fresh case products certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, the world’s leading certification and eco-labeling program for sustainable seafood.”

Shaw’s will also provide fresh product verified through the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, a nonprofit marine science center. Shaw’s is the first New England-based retailer with fresh product certified by the MSC, the article said.

In July, Hannaford Supermarkets announced that it would move to selling seafood only from sources that are managed to sustain seafood availability for current and future generations.

That policy, which was developed in cooperation with GMRI, applies to all the supermarkets of Delhaize America, which includes Hannaford, Sweetbay, the Food Lion family of banners and Bottom Dollar Food, and requires suppliers to verify that seafood is coming from sources managed for sustainability and encourages sourcing locally. The requirement applies to all seafood in the stores, including fresh, frozen, and packaged fish and shellfish.

U.S. seafood consumption drops

A Sept. 7 story by Steven Hedlund, at the website at seafoodsource.com, said U.S. per-capita seafood consumption is at its lowest level since 2002. Individual consumption was 15.8 pounds last year, according to figures released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service.

Despite the decline in the amount consumed, Americans spent $80.2 billion on seafood last year — almost $5 million more than in the previous year.

The story said 86 percent of the U.S. seafood supply was imported. Exports of edible seafood products came to 2.7 billion pounds valued at $4.4 billion in 2010, up 185.4 million pounds and $399.5 million from 2009.

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.