P.O. Box 235, Friendship, ME 04547 (207) 832-8224 www.lobsters.org

April 18, 2001

Dear Volunteers and Friends of The Lobster Conservancy,

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with The Lobster Conservancy, our purpose is to ensure healthy populations of the American lobster (Homarus americanus) and preserve the traditional trap fishery that depends on this resource. We are primarily a scientific research organization. This newsletter keeps our friends and volunteer research team informed of our activities.

It’s been a busy and exciting winter with Sara and Diane analyzing data and getting the word out regarding scientific results and our volunteer research program. Here’s a summary of what we’ve been up to over the past few months.

This April we welcomed aboard Bob Grant, our new Administrative Assistant. Bob comes to us with a great deal of experience as an organized and practical manager. He has an engineering and marketing background, and a great love for restoring old houses and boats. Bob has held previous positions as Engineering Chief of Acoustics at General Dynamics Corp. and General Manager of Acoustics and Structural Vibrations at Analysis and Technologies, Inc. Bob’s new e-mail address is bgrant@lobsters.org.

News from the Board of Directors

The TLC Strategic Planning initiative is in full swing, largely through the efforts of our facilitator, John Guarnaccia, and Planning Committee chair, Moe Bisson. Special thanks go to committee members Amy Watson, Carl Anderson, Tom Archambault, who have joined Sara and Diane on the planning committee.

A Strategic Planning Retreat scheduled for April 27-28 has been made possible by a grant from Maine Community Foundation and by the generosity of Berry, Dunn, McNeil & Parker, in Portland, Maine, who will host the event. Board members and external participants interested in TLC and the lobster industry will gather to chart a course for TLC over the next five years.

Our congratulations and best wishes go to board member Kari Lavalli who married Sam Tarsitano on January 6.

Volunteer News

Get ready volunteers! The 2001 juvenile lobster sampling season will start in May. Preseason kick-off meetings are scheduled for April 21, 2:00-4:00 pm at the Hahn Community Center, Friendship, Maine and April 22, 2:00-4:00 pm at the Urban Forestry Center, Portsmouth,

TLC scientists and trained volunteers hard at work sampling juveniles lobsters at a nursery site in coastal New England. (Photo by Sara Ellis)

New Hampshire. Anyone who is interested in hearing more about the program is encouraged to attend.

Congratulations to long-time TLC volunteer Corie Bibber-Logan and her husband Chris on their new bundle of joy, Cyrus.

Corie Bibber-Logan with TLC’s youngest recruit. (Photo by Sara Ellis)

Press Coverage

TLC received abundant press coverage this winter. Check out our website (www.lobsters.org/press/press.php) to read the following articles:

Press Coverage

Free Press Dec 28, 2000 Grant to benefit Gulf of Maine environment  
Commercial Fisheries News:

"Ask the Lobster Doc"


Jan-Feb 2001 "Juvenile Lobster Abundance", "Runoff Threatens Nursery Areas" and "Molting and Egg Production." Diane F. Cowan
Editorial in Courier-Gazette Feb 3 Lobster decline or census undercounts?" Diane F. Cowan
Chronicle of Higher Education Feb 8 Maine’s Catch Colin Woodard
Der Spiegel Feb 8 Marching up of the Crustaceans Marco Evers
Editorial in Maine Sunday Telegram Feb 11 Lobster Conservancy detects no decrease Diane F. Cowan
Courier Gazette Feb 13 Lobster Conservancy given grant for planning Laurie Schreiber
Maine Public Radio Mar 19 The Lobster Lady Naomi Schalit
Islands Magazine Mar 2001 The Lobster Lady Janis Frawley-Holler
The Lobster Bulletin Mar 2001 Reports Vary About Lobster Stock Assessment Cathy Billings

 Outreach and Education

Senior scientist Diane Cowan conveys TLC’s message to a younger generation. (Photo by Sara Ellis)

Diane and Sara were busy giving presentations, as evidenced by the table below:

Conference and Presentation Activity

Spruce Head Lobster Coop Spruce Head, ME Jan 13 Lobster Biology and TLC’s Long-term Monitoring Program Diane F. Cowan
University of North Carolina Wilmington, NC Feb 16 Lobster Biology and TLC’s Long-term Monitoring Program Diane F. Cowan
Wilmington Senior Men’s Club Wilmington, NC Feb 16 Lobster Biology and TLC’s Long-term Monitoring Program Diane F. Cowan
Maine Fishermen’s Forum Samoset Resort, Rockport Mar 2 Long-term data from Lowell’s Cove Diane F. Cowan
Marine Benthic Ecology Meetings Portsmouth NH Mar 16 Multiple mark and recapture studies of free-ranging juvenile American lobster, Homarus americanus Diane F. Cowan
Southern Maine Technical College South Portland, ME April 3 Lobster Biology and TLC’s Juvenile Lobster Monitoring Program Sara L. Ellis
Zone D Council Meeting Rockland, ME April 3 TLC’s work around the Gulf of Maine with emphasis on Penobscot Bay and our long-term data set in Casco Bay. Sara L. Ellis

Diane F. Cowan

Long Island University Long Island, NY April 5 Lobster Biology and TLC’s Long -term Monitoring Program Diane F. Cowan
Maine Audubon Society Falmouth, ME April 7 Lobster Biology and TLC’s Long -term Monitoring Program Diane F. Cowan

Research News

During the winter months, Sara and Diane continued intertidal sampling for juvenile lobsters at Lowell’s Cove and Friendship Long Island. Although lobsters were abundant in February, they were rare in January, March and early April. Our thanks go out to Miles and Stephanie Jamieson who provided valuable assistance during the cold days of February at Friendship Long Island.

Andy Beet of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has begun to transfer TLC’s juvenile lobster data from Excel spreadsheets into Access, a powerful relational data base.

Our thanks go to lobsterman Mark Wallace for donating two oversized lobsters to our research pound at the Lobster Life Studies Center. These lobsters will enter our ongoing pilot studies on growth and internal tag retention supported by the Davis Conservation Foundation.

Oversized lobsters, the newest residents of the LLSC, will contribute to baseline data about lobster growth. (Photo by Sara Ellis)


On January 18, 2001, Diane Cowan testified before the State of Maine Board of Environmental Protection concerning proposed expansion of the Knox County Regional Airport. She pointed out that contaminants associated with airport operations pose unacceptable threats to lobster survival in critical nursery habitats. Compromising lobster nursery habitats along the shoreline could result in a total collapse of our local lobster population. Larval, post-larval, juvenile and adult lobsters including females with eggs are all found in shallow waters adjacent to the Owls Head Airport. Storm water runoff from everyday airport activities contains jet fuel, waste oil, lubricants and deicers contaminants that are extremely toxic to lobsters. Currently, some of the storm water runoff from the Knox County Regional Airport drains into the ocean untreated and may have been doing so since 1995. Post-larval and juvenile lobsters are present year round at locations where contaminants associated with the airport will reach them if the contaminants are not contained and treated before being allowed to run off into Ballyhac Cove and the Weskeag River.

Diane pointed out that there are alternatives to direct discharge of airport runoff, including containment ponds, retention swales and basins and treatment facilities, and until these alternatives are considered and implemented for current airport operations, we shouldn’t even be considering expansion. In closing, Diane implored the Board to have the applicants assess the risks of their proposal by preparing a complete Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Statement as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. At a minimum, the Environmental Assessment should include quantification of current and future levels of contamination based on long-term periodic monitoring for residues in sediments (where juvenile and adult lobsters live), surface waters (where larval and post-larval lobsters live), and shellfish tissues.

The above testimony was aired by Maine Public Radio beginning on January 19, 2001. Please refer to www.penbay.org/cowan1.html for a complete transcript of Diane’s testimony.


We are pleased to announce that the Chichester du Pont Foundation is generously providing TLC with general support for our scientific research and public education programs. In addition, we have received a second Challenge Grant from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for our Gulf of Maine Lobster Monitoring Program. The Edward Daveis Benevolent Fund is generously supporting our collaborative work with Friends of Casco Bay.

Other News

Our office has been relocated to 235 Jefferson St. (around back), Waldoboro, Maine, where we are now neighbors with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Our mailing address and phone number remain the same.

2001 is shaping up to be a great year!

Yours in TLC and Friendship,

Sara Ellis, Executive Director and Diane Cowan, Senior Scientist

TLC News