Vol. 1, No. 2
Coastal Zone '97 to showcase marine management projects
Boston, Massachusetts -- Environ-mental agency officials, activists, business and industry representatives, and others will gather at the Park Plaza Hotel here July 19-25 for this premier bi-annual symposium on coastal zone management issues.
Coastal Zone "97 The Next 25 Years: Charting the Future of Coastal Zone Management will include panel discussions on specific stewardship efforts under way in the Gulf of Maine; a special session that compares three cross-border ecosystem initiatives on which the US and Canada are collaborating; and other forums to discuss issues relevant to sustainable management of the Gulf's marine environment.
Additional information on CZ'97, including registration details, is available from the Urban Harbors Institute by calling (617) 287-5570, or visit their Web site at http://www.nos.noaa.gov/cz97/welcome.html.
NOAA moves to safeguard essential fish habitat
Washington, D.C. -- Citing the loss of essential aquatic habitat as one of the greatest long-term threats to many of the nation's fish and shellfish, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) an-nounced in January the implementation of essential fish habitat mandates.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will coordinate with regional fishery management councils to implement the Fisheries Habitat Initiative under the new Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act approved by Congress last year.
Initial guidelines prepared by NMFS will be used by the fishery management councils to identify habitats in need of designation. These "essential" habitats will then be highlighted within all fishery management plans. NOAA attributes many fish population declines from Alaska and Maine to the Gulf of Mexico to lost wetlands and sea grass beds, dammed rivers, contaminated sediments, polluted coastal bays, and other habitat loss or degradation.
Nova Scotia applauds review of fisheries user fees
Halifax, Nova Scotia -- A plan to review the cumulative impacts of user fees on the fishing industry is welcome news, according to Fisheries Minister Jim Barkhouse, who noted that the province first called for such a review by Canada's Federal Treasury Board in 1995.
"Our fishing and fish processing industries are the major source of employment and revenue for many coastal communities. Each full-time job creates another two to three indirect jobs through the provision of goods and services. We need to focus our efforts on helping industry to survive and grow," he asserted.
Barkhouse noted that the provincial Department of Fisheries is prepared to help with the review, and added that the province hopes to participate in determining what, if any, actions are taken as a result.
Festival would benefit marine research in the Gulf
Halifax, Nova Scotia -- Organizers of a "Fish Aid Festival" scheduled to take place in Yarmouth County in August 1998 say the event will raise money for east coast marine biology and ecosystem research. Arthur MacDonald, chairman of the Fish Aid Society Association (FASA), said the event would be Canada's first music festival organized on a large scale for east coast marine environmental concerns.
Regionally and internationally-known musical performers being approached by FASA to participate include the Rankin Family and Ashley MacIsaac. Other planned elements of the benefit are a compact disc, a national broadcast and telethon, and an on-site "eco-village" featuring informational pavilions representing environmental agencies and advocacy groups from the US and Canada.
MacDonald said the group is also working with ferry operators to arrange special festival travel packages between Maine and Nova Scotia. For information contact MacDonald via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Jobs from the Sea" intended to make Maine maritime leader
Augusta, Maine -- The state's new "Jobs from the Sea" initiative, introduced by Governor Angus King in January, is intended to make the state a "global leader in cold-water marine science and commerce in the twenty-first century."
Supporters of the long-term education and investment strategy say it will sustain Maine's fishing economy and create new jobs in marine science and technology.
The program's initial stages included submission of legislation by King to Congress proposing the extension of Maine's jurisdiction from three to 30 miles (4.8 to 48.3 kilometers) into the Gulf of Maine, in an attempt to provide a demonstration area for new fishery management strategies.
Another act undertaken as part of the initiative is the establishment of a Governor's Marine Fellowship Program, to receive $50,000 annually in state funding. Four of the fellowships would receive immediate funding from fisheries industries.
Also part of the first stage of the strategy is a series of bond proposals seeking funding for education and research infrastructure investments.
NF&W Foundation grants $304,600 for Maine conservation
Washington, D.C. -- Five challenge grants totaling $304,600 awarded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation in March will help support Maine conservation projects. The funds are to be matched at least 2:1 by non-federal funds and in-kind services. The grants awarded in March will support the Maine Wildlife Habitat Initiative's acquisition of island and coastal wetland habitats; the Maine Atlantic Salmon Watershed Initiative's efforts to complete Atlantic salmon habitat protection and restoration projects; the Gulf of Maine Seabird Island Restoration Project's efforts to restore and protect diverse seabird nesting colonies; the High Country Institute for Journalism's mission to help journalists enhance their understanding of natural resource issues; and the Birch Islands Acquisition to protect 25 acres (about 10 hectares) of osprey, eagle, and bass habitat on Birch and Little Birch Islands on Spednic Lake northwest of Vanceboro at the Canadian Border.
Gulf of Maine Project receives Gottschalk Partnership Award
Falmouth, Maine -- Praised for its successful work in developing partnerships to conserve Maine's fish and wildlife resources, the US Fish & Wildlife Service's (USFWS) Gulf of Maine Project accepted the 1996 John S. Gottschalk Partnership Award at a ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland in March.
"The Gulf of Maine project has been a leader in promoting creative, innovative, and successful approaches to fish and wildlife habitat protection in coastal Maine," said USFWS Regional Director Ron Lambertson during the ceremony.
In the last two years, the Gulf of Maine project has collaborated with statewide conservation groups, local land trusts, other state and federal agencies, and private landowners to protect more than 2,600 acres (about 1,052 hectares), including coastal wetlands, Atlantic salmon watersheds, and 17 coastal nesting islands.
The project also helped develop the Wild Gulf Almanac, designed to promote environmental stewardship among educators and students throughout the Gulf of Maine watershed.
NOAA praises protection efforts program
Augusta, Maine -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded earlier this year that the Maine Coastal Program (MCP) has made "outstanding improvements over the past three years" in its efforts to protect the state's coastline.
NOAA sends an evaluation team to Maine every three years to evaluate how it is fulfilling its mission of managing and protecting the state's coastal resources.
The Maine Coastal Program coordinates activities in several state agencies responsible for coastal management activities.
NOAA specifically commended MCP for its Penobscot Bay Marine Volunteer Program and its Shore Stewards Program, both of which involve volunteers.
Maine is one of 30 coastal states and US territories participating in NOAA's coastal program, in which states determine how best to meet federal goals for resolving coastal problems using their own laws and policies.
Caucus urges MA legislators to support coastal protection efforts
Boston, Massachusetts -- State legislators and concerned citizens gathered to hear presentations on marine monitoring and other issues at the 1997 Coastal Caucus here in March.
Massachusetts Environmental Affairs Secretary Trudy Coxe urged legislators to support continued funding for the Massachusetts Marine Monitoring Program; legislation increasing fines for removing egg-bearing female lobsters from state waters; oil barge safety legislation; and efforts to protect the endangered northern right whale.
The caucus included dozens of exhibits from groups working to improve coastal water quality.
Trade show highlights innovative stormwater treatment methods
Plymouth, Massachusetts -- A Storm-water Technologies Trade Show here in April showcased innovative methods for treating stormwater runoff and discharges, drawing approximately 200 municipal officials and others involved in water quality protection.
Increasingly, new municipal and state standards are requiring more rigorous attention to management of water quality and quantity.
This spring's event, along with a similar one in Ipswich last fall, featured presentations and product displays by manufacturers' representatives from all over the country.
Sponsors included Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management (MCZM), the Massachusetts Bays Program, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.
For a copy of a products and services guide describing various stormwater treatment systems, call MCZM's Information Line at (617) 727-9530, ext. 420.
Bill proposes heavier penalties for lobster "scrubbing"
Boston, Massachusetts -- Proposed legislation here would increase penalties considerably for people who remove eggs from female lobsters harvested illegally from state waters.
In an attempt to conceal their violation of the law prohibiting the taking of egg-bearing lobsters, some people manually or chemically "scrub" away the eggs before selling their catch. The practice threatens the continued supply of one of the state's most valued natural resources.
Current law imposes fines of $50-$100 per lobster for the first scrubbing offense and $100-200 per lobster and/or imprisonment from one to three months for subsequent offenses.
The bill now being considered would increase those penalties to $250-$1000 per lobster for the first offense and $1,000-$2,000 per lobster and/or imprisonment from 90 days to six months for subsequent offenses.