Clear your Gear

AUGUSTA — A fall inshore trawl survey is scheduled to begin in New Hampshire waters on Oct. 3, working its way east up the Maine coast, to finish about Nov. 4 off Quoddy Head in Lubec.

A group from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will fish the first five good days each week using the weekend to make up for bad weather or equipment problems. This should enable the group to maintain a predictable schedule as it moves up the coast. The vessel is a white fiberglass Northeast 54, the F/V Robert Michael of Portland, captained by Rob Tetrault. And the survey is designed to provide information that has not been available to National Marine Fisheries Service for stock assessments.

NMFS asks that on the scheduled day of the tow, an area 1/8 mile on either side of the tow line be clear of fixed gear. The group makes every effort to avoid contact with gear by making at least one and often two passes on the tow line before setting gear. However, if buoys are running under, participants cannot see them and mistakenly conclude that the area is clear.

Each Class I, II and III lobster license holder will receive a general mailing consisting of a large map and coordinates of published tows.

If weather does not permit NMFS to work, they expect that lobstermen will not be fishing that day. The trawl survey schedule will slide one day forward. Marine Patrol will be on hand as well to assist with tow operations, including moving traps.

“In a past year there was some disagreement that resulted in activity that placed people and boats in danger,” said NMFS in a press release. “All fishermen should understand that actions that place people and property in unsafe or dangerous circumstances may be violating the law and could be subject to both criminal and civil penalties. We want very much to avoid such situations and ask for your cooperation.”

The best source of information is directly from the boat crew. Fishermen may hail them on either channel 16 or 13. The crew cell phone is 207-557-5276. Messages can be left for the crew to return your call.

For more maritime news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.

Fenceviewer Staff

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