P.O. Box 235, Friendship, ME 04547 (207) 832-8224 www.lobsters.org
June 28, 2001
Dear Volunteers and Friends of The Lobster Conservancy,
Summer has officially arrived, and TLC staff and volunteers have been very busy. Here's an update on what we've been up to over the last month. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with The Lobster Conservancy, we are primarily a scientific research organization dedicated to protecting the American lobster (Homarus americanus) and preserving the fishery that depends on this resource. This newsletter keeps our friends and volunteer research team informed of our activities.
News from the Board of Directors
Carl Anderson and Alex Loer have retired from TLC's Board of Directors after 5 years of dedicated service. We will be properly thanking them and welcoming new directors at our Annual Board Meeting on July 27.
On June 9, TLC hosted the Berry, Dunn, McNeil & Parker Appreciation Day at the Lobster Life Studies Center on Friendship Long Island. The purpose of this event was to thank all of the staff at BDMP who helped TLC put together a successful Strategic Planning Retreat and those who provide us with financial advice throughout the year. The weather was perfect, and everyone enjoyed the lobster feast.
Juvenile Lobster Project: Volunteer Program
May was an unusual month for the Juvenile Lobster Monitoring Program in that volunteers had two sets of spring tides in which to conduct surveys. In last month's newsletter we reported on sampling in early May. Here are the results of the sampling in late May:
In Penobscot Bay, John and Ginger Van Ness and Angie Olsen found 7 lobsters measuring 32 to 85 mm in carapace length (CL) at Lane's Island on Vinalhaven. At Waterman's Point in South Thomaston Leslie Fuller, Annette Naegel, Alfred Petterson, Ben Neal and Sheri Henze found 3 lobsters (38 to 45mm CL). In Port Clyde, Jane Roundy and Julie Wortman found 9 lobsters in their transect and 1 while sampling randomly, for a total of 10 lobsters (35 - 51 mm CL). We bid farewell to TLC volunteers Eric, Emily and Eva Murray. Thank you to the Murray family for monitoring lobsters on Matinicus Island for the past 2 years. Farewell and thank you also to Mike Wall who monitored lobsters on Allen Island for the past 2 years. Welcome aboard to new volunteers Gayle Stuart and Chris Harjula, who will be taking over the very productive Allen Island monitoring site.
In Casco Bay, Sara Ellis joined Helen Muther, Mike Doan, Mary Cerullo, and Frank Leavitt at Broad Cove in Cape Elizabeth, where they found 1 lobster (32 mm CL) under the very first rock they turned over. Continuing to visit sites in Casco Bay, Sara visited Beth Howe, Mac Passano and Erno Bonebakker at Bennetts Cove on Chebeague Island where they found 1 lobster (49mm CL). Thank you to Beth and Mac for wonderful island hospitality. The next day, Ned and Kathy Osolin took Sara out to Jaquish Island in an inflatable boat, where they found 8 lobsters (31-42 mm CL). Ned spontaneously demonstrated how a biting lobster can draw blood from a human hand! Amy Watson and Sara braved the rain to find 4 lobsters (32 to 65mm CL) at Cundys Harbor. Judy and Frank Haims found 4 lobsters (39 to 55 mm CL) at Gun Point. In Mackerel Cove, Corie Bibber-Logan and Pat Masonheimer discovered 6 lobsters (11 to 31mm CL).
Ned and Kathy travel by boat to their lobster monitoring site on Jaquish Island. (Photo by Sara Ellis)
In New Hampshire, John & Carolyn Payzant, Steve Cooper and Brian Jervis were psyched to find 16 lobsters (21 to 90 mm CL) at Fort Stark, New Castle, up from only 4 lobsters earlier in the month.
In Massachusetts, Pat Earle, Astrid af Klintenberg and Cindy Dunn found 18 lobsters (25 to 49 mm CL) at Plum Cove in Gloucester. The Plum Cove team was concerned about a lobster that appeared to have fungus growing on it, but after consulting with Diane they were relieved to find it was only a harmless colony of invertebrates called bryozoans. In Marblehead, Sean Sullivan, Oddvar Solstad and Rod Thibodeau found more than 40 lobsters in 20 quadrats! Further south at Manomet Point, Chad and Amy Keith found 2 lobsters (46 to 51 mm CL).
Thank you to all volunteers for a great start to the 2001 sampling season.
Juvenile Lobster Project: Long-term Tagging of Juvenile Lobsters
Diane inserts a microwire tag into the pleopod of a juvenile lobster. (Photo by Sara Ellis)
Diane Cowan is continuing long-term tag-and-recapture studies of juvenile lobsters at two sites: Lowell's Cove on Orr's Island in Casco Bay and Deep Cove on Friendship Long Island in Muscongus Bay. In late May Bob Grant assisted Diane by recording data at both sites, and Polly Wilson and Anne Barrett helped survey Lowell's Cove.
In Deep Cove the overall lobster density was 1.14 lobsters per meter squared. The minimum number of lobsters found in a single quadrat was zero, and the maximum was two. The maximum number of lobsters found beneath one rock was one. Fourteen quadrats were sampled and sixteen lobsters were captured measuring from 11 to 55 mm CL. One tagged lobster was recaptured.
At Lowell's Cove the overall lobster density was 1.55 lobsters per meter squared. The minimum number of lobsters found in a single quadrat was zero, and the maximum was seven. The maximum number of lobsters found beneath one rock was two. The team found sixty-two lobsters measuring from 13 to 65 mm in carapace length in 40 quadrats. No tagged lobsters were recaptured.
Lobster Life Studies Center
Interns Pierson Stoecklein and Hilary Halstead arrived from Colgate College on May 30. They dove right in to constructing concrete lobster shelters in Bob Grant's barn. These shelters will be set up in the pound at the LLSC for an experiment on lobster shelter occupancy.
Diane has been monitoring adult lobster condition with help from lobstermen in Friendship and Wheelers Bay. A big thank you to Bill Rourke of F/V A-Bill, Phillip Genthner of F/V Melinda Kay and Alvin Rackliff of F/V Mornin' Mist each of whom have taken Diane out to sample lobsters that come up in their traps.
Diane Cowan (right) tosses one back while sea sampling aboard a fishing vessel. (Photo by Sara Ellis)
Thank you to Friendship lobsterman Phillip Genthner for donating an oversized female lobster earlier this month to be released in the pound. Thanks also to local lobstermen Kevin Benner and Lance Wotton for outfitting and setting a large mooring out in front of the wharf on the island.
Bob, Diane, Hilary and Pierson finished the repairs on the wharf, which was officially christened during the BDMP Appreciation Day on June 9. Once the wharf repairs were finished, Diane, Bob, and a helpful neighbor set an off haul near the island wharf. On June 15, TLC's Amesbury skiff, Awe Spray, was launched after being overhauled by Bob with help from Pat Seward and interns Hilary and Pierson.
Diane is now connected to the Internet via a Pegasus satellite two-way communication system. Ross Electronics of Waldoboro, ME installed the system. Pegasus came on-line June 11, following an agonizing two weeks of system interface adjustments. This is a giant step forward in our ability to communicate efficiently via the Internet. Diane still has the same e-mail address; the difference is she is able to send and receive mail more reliably and is able to handle attachments. She still relies on the cell phone for voice communication, but has added voice mail to increase accessibility, so if you have to reach Diane, you now can!
During the third week in May, reporters from NBC affiliate WCSH6 went to Cundy's Harbor to interview Amy Watson and get an inside look at The Lobster Conservancy's volunteer program. Reporter Kevin Kelley was genuinely interested in the project and braved the fast approaching tide and very muddy surroundings to find only one lobster. Later that week, Diane and Sara were interviewed in Waldoboro and Friendship. The interviews were aired in Portland on May 31 and June 1 and in Bangor on June 4 and 5. The first part of this two-part series focused on TLC's Lobster Life Studies Center featuring Diane's commentary on current and future plans for the LLSC. Part two centered on the Juvenile Lobster Monitoring Program, with Sara providing details of the program goals and volunteer involvement. Footage of "certified rock flipper" Amy Watson surveying her site was included in both parts, and helped to provide an engaging picture of TLC operations.
German freelance writer Andreas Beerlage spent 3 days at TLC researching an article on the Maine lobster fishery. Lobsterman Alvin Rackliff took Andreas, Diane, and Bob lobstering in Penobscot Bay to give the reporter first-hand experience on the water.
July 1 - Sara has designed two displays for the Friendship Museum, entitled the "Lobster Life Cycle: From Egg to Plate" and "Friendship Lobster Pounds: Past and Present." Thank you to Friendship artist Lee Nessler for dry mounting the photos. The quaint Friendship Museum, inside an old school house, is open from July 1st through Labor Day. It is chock full of local memorabilia and is well worth a visit by locals and tourists alike.
July 14 - Volunteers: Mark your calendars!!! Volunteer Appreciation Day will take place on Saturday July 14, 2-6 pm, at the Lobster Life Studies Center on Friendship Long Island. This is a day for TLC to show our appreciation for all of the hours that volunteers dedicate to TLC's research programs. It's a great opportunity for volunteers to meet one another and share lobster tales from the field and a few lobster tails from the pot!
July 27 - On Friday, July 27, we will hold our annual Board Meeting and social to thank retiring board members, welcome new board members, and celebrate recent successes.
July 28 - On Saturday, July 28, TLC will once again be setting up a marine touch tank on the morning of Friendship Day. This celebration is held each year to benefit the Friendship Ambulance Auxliary. Activities, including the popular Lobster Boat Races, are scheduled from dawn 'til dusk. TLC will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of our great looking hats and T-shirts to the Friendship Ambulance Auxliary.
TLC Wish List
We are looking for the following items to help us achieve our strategic planning goals of developing a permanent mainland headquarters and maintaining and upgrading our current facilities. If you can spare any of the following items, or have ideas on how we might obtain them, please contact us at (207) 832-8224.
Your support will, as always, be most appreciated. Best wishes for a great summer.
Yours in TLC and Friendship,
Sara Ellis, Executive Director and Diane Cowan, Senior Scientist