National Fisherman


STONINGTON, Maine — There are two major, recurring expenditures for the lobstermen who work Maine's coast: fuel and bait.

Bait is the more expensive of the two, but that's a bit misleading, as fuel is a factor in bait costs. It's caught on boats that use diesel, and often shipped by the same before it gets to the lobstermen who will use it.

So it's the price of fuel that's on the forefront of most fishermen's minds when they consider ways they could save money — an ever-present question, especially with lobster prices staying low this year despite supply returning to normal after last summer's record glut.

"If fuel prices get much higher, we're gonna have to go to sailboats," said Mark Brewer, a lobsterman in Boothbay. "If there was an electric boat I could plug in at night, then go lobstering all day, I'd go for that."

Electric it's not, but a team from Penobscot East Resource Center and Maine Maritime Academy have successfully tested a new boat design they say will increase fuel efficiency by 20 to 25 percent.

The boat utilizes a three-hull, or "trimaran," design to cut down on drag. There's a lot of physics and naval engineering at play here, but Doug Read — a naval architect and professor at Maine Maritime Academy, who was contracted by PERC to design and test the boat — said it can be understood pretty simply by imagining a boat's wake.

"If you picture the wake a boat leaves, the waves trailing behind it, up to half of your engine is dedicated to the energy to make those waves," he said. "The way the trimaran saves fuel is by drastically reducing the proportion of energy your spending on making those waves."

Read the full story at Bangor Daily News>>

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

Read more...

Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

Read more...
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