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Local Lobstermen Suffer Equipment Losses Great and Small

October 12, 2006

Boothbay Register
By Lisa Kristoff
Found at: Boothbay Register

Local Lobstermen suffer equipment losses great and small

On the night of October 2, several area lobstermen lost gear, some upwards of 40 traps a piece. According to Maine Marine Patrol records, a total of 164 traps belonging to 11 local lobstermen were lost around the waterway known as Damariscove tow.

The Marine Patrol is still looking into the incident, but at this time, no one knows for certain what caused the extent of damage to the equipment.

It is known that two trawlers, Starlight and Sunlight, were herring fishing in local waters. On the night of Monday, October 2, members of the Marine Patrol, the US Coast Guard and some of the region’s lobstermen observed the vessels. During the time they were a presence in the water, the trawlers appeared to have been looking for fish.

The equipment losses were discovered the following morning, Tuesday, October 3.

All the local lobster pounds reported at least one lobsterman who had lost traps. The Boothbay Lobster Wharf reported four. Sea Pier reported three lobstermen suffering losses, Robinson’s Wharf reported two and Atlantic Edge Lobster also reported two.

According to lobsterman Robbie Begin, the total number of traps lost exceeds the 164 figure and is closer to the 200 mark.

Lieutenant Jon Cornish of Marine Patrol advises that an investigation is ongoing.

“We received calls from four lobstermen citing loss of gear around the Damariscove tow area on October 2,” said Cornish. “We do not have any witnesses to the event other than the knowledge that herring trawlers were in the area the night that the gear was lost, but

they were outside the three-mile limit.”

Cornish said that as of midnight on October 5, herring spawning closure regulations went into effect until October 19. This time of year herring are in spawning stages five and six and it is unlawful to land any in this state.

All waters bounded by the following coordinates are affected by the regulations: 43 30’N, Maine coast; 43 30’N, 68 54.5’W; 43 48’N, 68 20’W; North to Maine coast at 68 20’W. Herring taken legally outside the Western Maine Spawning Area may be transported.

However, anyone may still fish for herring as long as those in the specified stages comprise zero percent of the catch or are less than or equal to nine inches. The zero percent provision is being enforced by examining samples of herring taken from loads.

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