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

July 29, 1998

Dear Volunteers and Friends of The Lobster Conservancy,

As July comes to a close, good news abounds! Thank you for completing your July surveys and getting your data to us in a timely manner. After two sets of spring tides in July -- it may not seem like it is time for August sampling already, but check your tide tables. The August spring tides are fast approaching!

Research News
Tagging Studies

Four juvenile lobsters laying on a cooler. Moving from left to right, they are approximately 4, 3, 2, and 1 years of age. The four year old is wearing a sphyrion tag. Large numbers of lobsters continue to be tagged using coded microwire tags and the recapture rate remains high. For the second month in a row, a lobster with a sphyrion tag was among the recaptures. The most exciting tide this month was on the 22nd when Diane found the first recently settled lobster (fifth stage) of the season, it measured 6 mm CL! It was beautiful, with white speckling and cream colored tips on its claws. The next rock revealed a bluish postlarval lobster that had just settled to the bottom from the water column. It hadn't even molted to the fifth stage yet and measured 5 mm CL. Be on the look out, the newly settled lobsters are small, fragile and hard to see. If you find one, do the best you can to measure it, then describe its coloration and put it back under its rock as quickly as you can.

We have also started a tagging project for egg-bearing females with the cooperation of Carl Anderson, Matt Waddle and Sheldon Morse. These Harpswell lobstermen have agreed to mark females so that if they are recaptured, we might begin to get a picture of how long they carry their eggs, how far they travel and where they go to egg out and spawn. Posters have been passed out throughout Harpswell so that fishermen will know what to do when they find marked lobsters.

Penobscot Bay Project
Diane and Kohl went to Penobscot Bay on the 15th to demonstrate our volunteer training for Philip Conkling and Bill MacDonald of the Island Institute. The purpose of the excursion was to locate lobster nurseries in Penobscot Bay. In addition to the three previously trained volunteers collecting data for TLC in Penobscot Bay, we trained David Cousens, president of the Maine Lobstermen's Association. This demonstration was part of the site visit by Bob Winokur of NOAA/NESDIS, the prospective funding agency for the pending Penobscot Bay Project. Our demonstration was a huge success, and was followed by a press conference with Governor King and a presentation by the Island Institute. The Portland Press Herald has printed an article discussing the Penobscot Bay Project and all parties involved. From left to right: Kohl Kanwit and Diane Cowan of The Lobster Conservancy team up with Philip Conkling (Island Institute) to begin surveys along the shores of Penobscot Bay. Photo by Bill MacDonald.

Volunteer Research

Chris Heinig measures a juvenile lobster during his training. Photo by Diane Cowan.
Bobbi Costello and Al Stewart had a fantastic month in New Hampshire. They found more then 20 lobsters in their transect, including two under one rock -- a first for them. Al also spent some of his time this month as a substitute sternman. His first day on the job, he wound up lending assistance to a tour boat which had caught on fire. Al summed up the experience by saying, "In short, I've decided that being at sea is like flying an airplane ... hours of drudgery punctuated by moments of extreme excitement/terror."

Kristine Osolin and Eric Cobbs collected data on their transect at Pott's Point and found eleven lobsters in their quadrats. They were the first volunteers to report settlement this year!

Ned and Kathy Osolin went out to their site on Jaquish Island again this month and found 19 lobsters in their transect.

Matt Waddle went to Yarmouth Island to check up on his lobsters and found 16 of them. He said that there were lots of lobsters out crawling around at 10 a.m.! Matt suggested that they might like the hot weather we have been experiencing.

Chris Heinig went out again this month to his site at Gun Point and found 12 lobsters in his quadrats before the tide came in.

Susan and Noel March went out again this month and we look forward to hearing what they found in Friendship.

Diane and Kohl went up to Penobscot Bay again this month to train volunteers. Jane Roundy and Julie Wortman from the Penobscot Bay volunteer program have joined the ranks of TLC.

After much searching, we found lobsters in the first quadrat! Jane and Julie are planning to survey Owl's Head, Port Clyde and/or Tenants Harbor. Welcome, good luck, we hope you find plenty of lobbies!

Kohl did her usual sampling at Basin Point -- this month with her new assistant Slade Moore. They tried a new transect and found more lobsters than were found in May and June combined. Kohl and Slade also filled in for Amy Watson at Cundy's Harbor where they uncovered 29 lobsters, including one fourth stage postlarva and one fifth stage juvenile! Amy, you may never get your site back!

Volunteer training at Pen Bay. Kohl Kanwit points out the variety of sea life to Pen Bay Volunteer Jane Roundy. Photo by Diane Cowan
Recently Settled Lobster Photo courtesy of the Portland Press Herald Keep up the good work! Watch carefully for the settlers -- they are tiny and we don't want to miss them. It is very important to have these data, so be on the look out. Again, if you do find some, try the best you can to measure them, describe their coloration and remember to note if they were with another lobster. If you have questions about the settlers, how to handle them, what they look like, etc. call us at the office and we will give you more information or look up the July News on our web page (www.lobsters.org) where there is a picture of a recently settled lobster.
News from The Lobster Conservancy appeared for the second month running in the Maine Lobstermen's Newsletter. They printed the press release Kohl wrote, announcing the creation of our web site.

Our Web Site was also featured in the Brunswick Times Record. Please let us know if you see or hear news of TLC somewhere we might have missed! We would love to have it for our records and posterity.

Commercial Fisheries News highlighted the Lobster Advisory Council's support of lobster research for 1998. They mentioned in the article that Diane was awarded a grant in order to continue the analysis of her time series data.

Diane Cowan, Kohl Kanwit and Jean Marbella (National Correspondent for the Baltimore Sun) sporting their brand new TLC hats. Kohl drew the lobster! We had the hats made for our volunteers and friends of The Lobster Conservancy. Contact us at dcowan@horton.col.k12.me.us if you are interested in ordering one and we will send details and options. Photo by Slade Moore. Andy Paulhus from Harpswell Cable TV came out for a morning tide at Lowell's Cove and taped Diane and Kohl at work. Diane has already had a sneak preview and thought it looked great. The footage will become part of a video about the life cycle of the American lobster planned to air on Harpswell TV in the near future.

Jean Marbella, a national correspondent for the Baltimore Sun visited The Lobster Conservancy this week. She initially contacted Diane a couple of weeks ago and did a phone interview for an article she is writing. To follow up on that interview, she included TLC in her itinerary for her Maine visit. Diane took her to Orr's Island to look for juvenile lobsters and then brought her back to the office to show her what goes on after the raw data is collected. Linda Coan, a photographer for the Baltimore Sun, also joined us for the site visit in Penobscot Bay on the 28th and took photographs to accompany Jean's article. We look forward to seeing the article in newspapers from coast to coast!

Visitors to The Lobster Conservancy
Esther Lacognata joined us in the field to learn about our research project. She had a great time learning about lobsters and seeing first hand the importance of how human activity on land can have an impact on lobster nurseries.

Jim Jones of Orr's Island, was also driven by curiosity about what we were doing. He joined us early one morning after saving a sphyrion tagged lobsters from the miserable fate of being picked apart by a gull. He offered to help maintain our web site and add a "what's new" page that will supply a place to post announcements and news letters along with photos!

Sarah Newkirk of the Environmental Defense Fund is visiting this week to discuss the potential usefulness of Marine Protected Areas as a management tool for lobsters.

Fund Raising Highlights
Perhaps the most exciting news is the prospect of receiving a donation from owners of three lobster pounds in Friendship. TLC received a call from Al Bergeron who represents the owners and expressed their interest in donating the pounds to a local non-profit. The Lobster Conservancy has already established research in Friendship and would be interested in expanding at that location. Susan and Noel March are investigating the area for us, since it is close to their current lobster monitoring site. The property, if acquired, could be used as the main office of TLC, a laboratory for conducting experiments and an educational center. Currently we are being considered as possible recipients along with the University of Maine.

The Spicewood Fund of The Maine Community Foundation sent an unsolicited donation to TLC, which we are very grateful for. We were able to complete a couple of projects we would not have otherwise been able to accomplish.

Diane has also been asked to submit a full proposal to Earthwatch based on their positive response to the preproposal she sent last month. Earthwatch is interested in funding TLC's volunteer-based lobster research in the summer of 1999.

We are putting the finishing touches on a fund raising packet to be sent out to local businesses soon. We are hoping to identify businesses interested in sponsoring our booth at Fish Expo, and contributing to our general operating costs budget.

Through the Adopt-a-Lobster program, TLC received a request for the adoption of 50 lobsters, as well as a cash donation from current parents who received an update on their recaptured lobsters.

University of Maine Sea Grant, gave TLC a grant in order to buy much needed field equipment to replace broken instruments and provide our new volunteers with supplies.

We also thank John Sowles for his continued support of The Lobster Conservancy and its efforts.


July was a very busy month for TLC. Great things continue to happen, as we expand our projects. Thank you again for your time and effort. Don't forget to call with your August dates, the tides are coming right up!

Yours in TLC and Friendship,

Sara Ellis, Executive Director and Diane Cowan, Senior Scientist

TLC News