April 30, 2015 | Green Lake National Fish Hatchery
After an epic winter, spring has arrived in the Penobscot River Valley. Ice is out on the lower river and most of the tributaries, and the water temperature has reached a still-chilly 5 degrees Celsius. Fred Trasko and the rest of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife crew are preparing to transfer 24,000 smolts to the river for their seaward migration thousands of miles to the sub-Arctic waters around Greenland.
This time of year, many eyes are on Maine’s rivers, lakes, and harbors, watching for the spring phenomenon known as ice-out. On rivers in particular, ice-out brings the risk of flooding.
Researchers (including Sea Grant extension associate Dana Morse) are studying isolated oyster grounds in the Sheepscot River that may date back to the last ice age. Meanwhile, as the aquaculture industry has grown and coastal water temperatures have warmed, cultured oysters have begun to multiply on their own elsewhere, particularly in the brackish waters of the Damariscotta River.
“There isn’t anything more special than Maine seafood,” said fisherman Kristan Porter, kicking off a culinary afternoon at the 2015 Maine Fishermen’s Forum.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Forum, seafood industry partners invited four established chefs to share their cooking knowledge of Maine seafood.
Forty years ago, fish harvested by Maine fishermen stayed local, only traveling perhaps as far as Boston or New York. The Gulf of Maine fishery was dominated by fleets of foreign fishing vessels, factories at sea that fished harder than anyone before. Even at Gorton's in Gloucester, Massachusetts, 40% of the cod came from Polish boats.
The first show aired on January 23, 2015 and the topic was Ocean Acidification. Listen to the podcast.
Over the holidays this year, my family and I decided it was time for a trip beyond Downeast Maine. We crossed the border at Calais and drove on to Black’s Harbor, New Brunswick (Canada) to catch the ferry to Grand Manan, an island at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. I’d been to Grand Manan on a few occasions, once for a wedding ceremony overlooking the sea and its fishing boats. On Grand Manan, life is still timed by the sea.
If the air is still and cold enough, great wisps of sea smoke hover and drift above the water surface. That “smoke” actually is water vapor that forms when really cold air moves over relatively warmer water and the thin boundary layer of warm air just above the surface. When the evaporating water rises, the cold air can only hold so much moisture, forcing the liquid to condense into fog. Clouds rise like smoke from the sea’s surface, dispersing and reforming, turning bays and coves into ephemeral cauldrons of submarine fire.
I would attend again because it is a treasure trove of important information for anyone who loves Maine Beaches or Maine in general. Quote from a 2013 conference evaluator
Design workshops that bring community stakeholders together with housing professionals are an annual event now in Maine. In October Maine Sea Grant partnered with the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast to host a workforce housing “charrette” (intensive design workshop) at a site off Route 1 near the Kittery border in York, Maine.
While out on the Damariscotta River this morning in search of wild oysters at low tide (more on that story later), we came across this giant, gelatinous mass on the shore of Goose Ledge. None of us, not even the one who is on the water every day, had ever seen anything like it. The fingery protrusions were all connected, the whole mass jiggled when prodded. Was it alive? Did it sting?
News media and Sea Grant’s coastal correspondents (a.k.a. the Marine Extension Team) have been reporting jellyfish sightings along the coast, from Casco Bay to Penobscot Bay to Frenchman Bay.
I saw them, too—a parade of moon jellies moving up the Damariscotta River.
The tide was going out and the jellies were coming in, one after another pulsating toward head of tide.
I had the pleasure of assisting the town of Pembroke, Maine with monitoring alewife and blueback herring this spring. These two fish species are jointly known as river herring. They migrate from the ocean to spawn in Maine’s freshwater lakes and rivers during the months of May and June. Alewife and bluebacks are primarily harvested for lobster bait as well as for human consumption and currently sell for $25 per bushel.
I found this little guy (right: American Toad Anaxyrus americanus) on a hike in Camden Hills last summer. It was a thrilling experience and a rare occurrence for me. I remembered my mom telling me as a child that I would get warts from handling them—which is not the case. The American toad does produce a toxin in glands behind its eyes that can be harmful to our pets and us; yet for the toad, the toxin provides protection.
May 16, 2014, Endangered Species Day.
Multiple departments from the University of Maine came together on Saturday to discuss Jeffrey Bolster’s book, The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail. Hosted by the History Department, Sustainability Solutions Initiative at the Senator George J.
National Working Waterfront Network steering Committee members Kenneth Walker, Stephanie Otts, Natalie Springuel, and Kristen Grant have received a $9,000 grant from the NOAA Preserve America Initiative. The project, which is intended to build on the Outreach and Education Committee's case study work, will capture both oral historie
The Maine Oyster Trail - Spring Update, 2014
Kayakers visiting Nonesuch Oysters, on the Scarborough River
Photo: Abigail Carroll, Nonesuch Oysters
Maine Sea Grant partners with the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast to host design workshops or “charrettes” that help coastal communities envision how to provide homes for people who work in town – people who earn an average income, like entry level teachers, fire fighters, police, as well as hospital and retail workers. These are people who are often priced out of homes in coastal communities due to the high real estate costs there.
A look back at the first day of winter as we approach the first day of spring.