National Fisherman


AUGUSTA, Maine — Demand for Maine oysters is growing, but regulations on the cold-weather storage of the delicacy prevent some aquaculturists from accessing their stock during winter, depressing the supply.
 
Until the last few years, oyster farmers sold only about nine months out of the year, said Bill Mook, an aquaculturist on the Damariscotta River. But now, with demand rising, Mook and other harvesters want to sell year-round.
 
Oysters grow best in the warm, upstream locations on Maine’s oceanic rivers such as the Damariscotta or the Bagaduce. In the spring and summer, temperatures there can reach 60 degrees, optimal growing conditions for the American oyster.
 
But cold winter temperatures often cause ice at the river’s surface, making it difficult for harvesters to access their stocks. In a perfect world, Mook said, farmers could simply move the stock downstream, closer to the open ocean, where temperatures vary far less, for winter storage. It’s still too cold for the oysters to grow, but at least farmers could easily get to their stocks.
 
Last year, Mook obtained a nonrenewable experimental license to do just that. But if he wants to keep weighing anchor in warmer waters, the state says he will need to get another standard aquaculture lease, just like he did for his growing site upriver.
 
Read the full story at Bangor Daily News>>

Inside the Industry

The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.

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Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.

The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.

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