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Quoddy Tides
Eastport, Maine
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February 9, 2018     Quoddy Tides
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February 9, 2018
 

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Page 2 THE QUODDY TIDES 9 February, 2018 TWO BOATS, the Julie Ann and the Double Trouble, return to the Eastport breakwater after a snowy and windy morning of dragging for scallops. (Don Dunbar photo) FIVE FISHERMEN RESCUED (from page 1)- got on. Calling himself "a decent swim- Guard vessel to help haul aboard Newell, mer," he says he did "all the strokes I Stanley, Gabriel and Francis. They were know to stay alive," but stopped about taken to the Eastport b.reakwater and trans- three-quarters of the way to shore, which ferred to Downeast EMS and Sipayik am- he says was a mistake, as he started freez- bulances, which took them to the Calais ing up. "I just pushed my hardest through Regional Hospital, where they all were it. I said, 'No, no, I'm not going to die soon released. today.'" He adds, "I didn't believe I'd The skiff was loaded onto Cooke's tug- make it to shore with all my gear on. I was boat, the Captain Paul, using its crane, in crisis mode. I wanted to save myself and taken out at the company's plant at and get help for these guys." Broad Cove. The Cooke crew also man- "I could feel myself shutting down, aged to recover one of the fishermen's slowly but surely," Neptune recalls. "I fi- two buckets of scallops. nally saw bottom, and that gave me hope." "It was a good response by the Coast He estimates it took him about 20 minutes Guard and my crew," says Morang. Refer- to swim the more than 300 yards, ring to Neptune, Morang surmises, "If he When he got to shore by the old Mac- hadn't made it no one would ever have Nichol wharf at Deep Cove he started known they were out there. They were walking down the road toward Eastport, fortunate people. I'm very thankful they're when Newell yelled to him that the keys all right. We were just in the right place at were in the car they had left there. A1- the right time." though he couldn't feel his feet, Neptune Neptune notes, "Thank God the Coast managed to drive the car "all over the Guard was doing a training that day" near road" till he came across David Morang the area of the Estes Head port. The fish- and Frank Lank in two trucks stopped in ermen are grateful to the Coast Guard, the middle of the road just past the old Cooke Aquaculture, the fire department dump site by Shackford's Head State and EMS crews who helped them. Park. Morang estimates the fishermen had Morang, who is Cooke Aquaculture's been in the water perhaps 15 minutes after production manager for the state of the call was received until they were res- Maine, immediately called the U.S. Coast cued. The four who were with the skiff Guard and 911, and Lank, who also works were in the water for a total of between 35 for the aquaculture company, mobilized a and 45 minutes, they estimate. According Cooke Aquaculture crew that was in to both the U.S. Coast Guard and the Na- Broad Cove. After following Neptune tional Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis- back to Deep Cove, Morang helped him tration, the water temperature was 39 get warm in his truck until an ambulance degrees. Although reactions of different arrived, and they yelled to those with the people vary, it's estimated that in 39-de- skiff that help was on its way. gree water exhaustion and unconscious- Meanwhile, Adam Newell helped calm ness may occur within 15 to 30 minutes those who had stayed with the skiff and and survival time may be between 30 and told them to take off their boots that were 90 minutes. filled with water. Francis said he knew Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan Holt, the they would be OK if they followed New- executive petty officer of Station Eastport, eli's directions. Newell also managed to says, "Because we already had a boat crew call 911. They were slowly drifting to- training nearby, our response time was sig- ward Shackford's Head and were an esti- nificantly decreased. None of the people mated 100 yards from shore when help in the cold water were wearing life jackets arrived, or dry suits, so getting them out of the After receiving the call, Coast Guard water quickly was critical. We very strong- Station Eastport had immediately ly recommend mariners wear weather-ap- launched a 29-foot response boat, while propriate protective gear when boating in its 45-foot response boat crew was con- cold weather, as hypothermia can occur in ducting training off Eastport and diverted minutes." to the area to assist. The 45-foot response Although life vests were in the boat, boat arrived on scene at the same time as none of the fishermen were wearing them, a Cooke Aquaculture 27-foot skiff with and Neptune says there was too much David Morang Jr Kevin Murray, Denny Lyons and Joey Lyons, and Cooke's tug- boat with Mike Brown and Shane Will- iams. They found three of the fishermen holding onto the overturned skiff with one on top. Morang jumped on the Coast weight in the skiff, with only about six inches of freeboard. Calling it "a hard les- son," Neptune says they will all be wear- ing life vests from now on. "It will all be safety now," he says, adding, "Everybody, wear your life jackets." II our orum orexrress.gyourviews II letters to the editor in The Quoddy Tides Cobscook Bay closed to scallop fishing Effective February 4, the Maine De- of both seed and sublegal scallops ob- partment of Marine Resources (DMR) im- served during the research tows. plemented targeted conservation closures The emergency closures expand a tar- for two scallop fishing areas, Cobscook geted conservation closure within the En- Bay including Whiting and Dennys bays glishman's Bay rotational area to include in Zone 3 and Sand and Machias bays and Sand Bay over to Machias Bay within the Lower Englishman's Bay in Zone 2. Last inner portion of the Englishman's Bay and year, Cobscook Bay was not closed until a targeted closure of the Eastport break- March 12, while the previous two years it water and Johnson's Bay area to include was closed in February. inner Cobscook Bay and the Whiting and The St. Croix River, north of Kendall' s Dennys bays limited access area. Head, Eastport, will remain open as des- While 75 to 85 draggers were harvest- ignated by the Zone 3 calendar. Also, Ma- ing in the Cobscook Bay area at the open- chias Seal Island and North Rock are open ing of the season, during recent weeks up to harvest on Zone 2 calendar days and to 110 boats have been dragging. A sur- from March 1 through 31. vey on January 27-28 indicated a 45% Using DMR scallop monitoring survey decrease in harvestable biomass in the data, Marine Patrol observations and in- Whiting and Dennys bays area, with a dustry reports, the DMR concluded that 27% removal rate for East and South bays. catch rates have slowed, scallop size has Three additional days of harvesting then decreased, and the 30% target removal removed an estimated 9,900 pounds from rates have been reached or exceeded. East and South bays, and the DMR be- These closures have been implemented to lieves the areas cannot sustain the addi- preserve the remaining resource as brood- tional impact of over 100 boats dragging stock and to protect the large proportion there. Hearing held on scallop license lottery bill by Edward French fishery participation; ensuring a historical During a legislative hearing, some fish- connection to the fishery for any new en- ermen continued to express concerns trants; valuing current participants in the about the proposed lottery for allowing fishery in any entry system; and consider- new entrants into Maine's scallop fishery, ing the willingness of new entrants to in- opposing extra chances for those with ex- vest in cooperative research and perience in the fishery and arguing that an enhancement of the resource. He also ar- apprenticeship program would work bet- gued that the state should use an appren- ter to allow in young people. The Marine ticeship program instead of a lottery for Resources Committee held the hearing on new entry, stating that "it's more impor- February 2 to consider the proposal by the tant to come up with a system that allows Department of Marine Resources (DMR). entry in the best way possible than spend- The committee will hold a work session ing money to promote the resource at this on the bill on February 14. point." Deirdre Gilbert of the DMR outlined John Tripp of Spruce Head opposed the the department's proposal for two annual bill as it is written, arguing that those who lotteries, one for drag licenses, with two enter the lottery should not be given any new licenses for every three licenses not extra chances based on their history in the renewed, and one for dive licenses, with fishery. "Those that held a license and lost one new license for each license not re- it had the opportunity to utilize and main- newed. To ensure that there is opportunity tain their license status," he said. "I don't for both younger and older fishermen to believe the state owes anyone any favors." enter the fishery, one of the licenses would He also feared that some might falsify doc- go to a fisherman between the ages of 19 uments about their work in the fishery to and 30 and one would go to a fisherman gain extra chances. age 31 or older. Togue Brawn of Downeast Dayboat, Gilbert responded to some of the points who is a former scallop fishery manager of controversy, including whether new li- with the DMR, testified neither for nor censes should instead be issued through against the bill, noting, "If you wait for an apprenticeship program, as is used in perfect regulations, there will never be any the lobster fishery. "Based on the ongoing new entrants in the scallop fishery." She rebuilding of the scallop resource, my felt that a lottery is probably the best way sense is that the scallop industry does not to let more people into the fishery, as an support unlimited free access for young apprenticeship program would be costly people," she said, noting that waiting lists and difficult to administer. Carla Guen- would need to be developed. As in the ther, a scientist with the Maine Center for lobster fishery, those wanting a license Coastal Fisheries, argued that any system could end up waiting for decades for one. for new licenses should include at least She also noted a lack of DMR staff and three provisions addressing: opportunities resources to administer another appren- for young fishermen to get into the fish- ticeship program, ery; sustainability of the resource, as she The DMR, though, has tried to include has concerns whether the fishery is ready some of the benefits of an apprenticeship for new entrants; and safety, as she noted program into the lottery by giving extra that it is a very dangerous fishery, with chances to individuals for each year they accidents already this season, and fisher- previously held a license or served as men's knowledge of how to run boats and crew. "In this way, experience in the fish- gear is critical. ery will provide some advantage to the Some fishermen have suggested delay- applicant," she pointed out. While appli- ing any new entry into the fishery, as ev- cants could falsify information, the DMR ery year the DMR has had to implement would seek confirmation from captains emergency closures to prevent depletion about crew members' experience and also of the stocks. However, the DMR notes believes "it is better to go through such a that the fishery has been closed to new process to try to ensure that individuals entrants since 2009 when it was worth less who have significant time invested in the than $600,000, while in 2016 the value fishery have a greater likelihood of some had grown over 10 times, to nearly $7 day receiving a license." million. The rotational system that the Ira "Tad" Miller of Matinicus Island, DMR uses to manage the fishery takes who is a member of the Scallop Advisory advantage of the relatively fast growth and Committee (SAC), argued that the pro- low natural mortality of scallops. The posal should have been given more con- agency believes that allowing three or few- sideration by the SAC, saying it was er new drag licenses each year is minor discussed at just one meeting. He outlined compared to the over 500 current drag four standards that he believes should be licenses and that distributing new licenses used for any new entry into the fishery: will maintain a future for the scallop fish- holding new licensees to a certain level of ery in Maine.