Nick Battista

NBattista
Marine Program Director Island Institute
386 Main Street
Rockland Maine 04841
USA
207-594-9209
nbattista@islandinstitute.org

Resources

Communities_lobster shows the locations of communities where interviews of lobstermen were conducted for the Island Institute’s Working Waters Project.

The Shrimp data layer is a compilation of three different data sources – interviews conducted by the Island Institute, State DMR shrimp tow data, and specific shrimp tow data done by Penobscot East Resource Center. Shrimping occurs in the winter, typically from December to March but in recent years the season has been shortened considerably. Shrimping occurs primarily on mud bottoms as evidenced by the more fine scale data depicted. The Institute’s data in southern Maine closely tracks the information DMR has about specific shrimp tows. Note that the eastern and southern edges of the state’s data is not indicative of the end of the tows but in most cases it appears to be an artifact of the charts the state used and the way the data was collected. One of the results from this project is clearly defining the presence of shrimp tows in the MDI area. The data gives a sense of the vast area fished off the coast of Maine as well as the complexity of fisheries and gear types across areas. It shows areas of fishing from only selected harbors or regions, however, and represent an incomplete “snapshot” from an ongoing project. It should not be viewed as representing a complete data set for Maine’s fisheries, but rather as one step towards understanding fisheries-use patterns offshore and methods for documenting them.

The lobster data layer represents the compilation of data provided by 29 lobstermen from Camp Ellis to Bar Harbor. Because the lobster fishery is highly territorial, each marine area represented in the data is referenced to the shore-side communities identified as actively fishing there. A community’s fishing areas were either identified in our interviews by a fisherman from that community, or listed by fishermen from other harbors who fish in overlapping areas. The harbor data does not represent an exhaustive list of the communities that fish in identified areas. As shown in the inset map, lobster fishing tends to be most concentrated and also most discretely defined by harbor in inshore areas, with areas becoming less dense and more shared further offshore. In conversations with many of the fishermen, it is clear that Maine lobstermen fish in most of the waters out to the federal Area 1-Area 3 boundary (25600 loran line). Differences in regulation of these two areas make it difficult for fishermen from Maine to fish in both areas, as they are required to adhere to the most restrictive regulations in any of the areas they fish to all of the areas they fish It is interesting to note that the groundfish closed areas were frequently identified as key places where lobstermen fish without having to worry about groundfish boats dragging up their traps. Conversely, the area east of Jeffreys Ledge represents a place identified by lobstermen as having significantly fewer lobster fishermen due to the higher concentration of draggers. The Lobster Zone lines also play a significant role in where lobster fishermen fish. Due to the lower trap limit in Zone E, fishermen from Harpswell and Cundy’s Harbor noted that they jump over Zone E and go further east to avoid the more restrictive regulations. The area near Platts Bank near the Zone E/F line receives heavy fishing pressure from both Zone F and as well as Zone E fishermen. The Zone F/G overlap area was also identified as being an area of higher trap density. Seasonality plays a key role in the offshore lobster industry, as those areas most densely fished generally follow the movement of lobster migratory patterns and avoid potential gear conflicts. The data gives a sense of the vast area fished off the coast of Maine as well as the complexity of fisheries and gear types across areas. It shows areas of fishing from only selected harbors or regions, however, and represent an incomplete “snapshot” from an ongoing project. It should not be viewed as representing a complete data set for Maine’s fisheries, but rather as one step towards understanding fisheries-use patterns offshore and methods for documenting them.

The groundfish data comprises three types of data, showing two gear types and historical areas. The current groundfish data gear types are broken down into gill net and trawl. The historic data represents a combination of gill net, trawl, and hook fisheries. Data collection did not target historic groundfishing areas, but captured that information as offered by participants. Therefore, historical data should not be viewed as a complete representation of effort or distribution, but rather as a sampling of historical groundfish data as provided by interviewees. Other institutions like the Penobscot East Resource Center are prioritizing the collection of historical data about groundfish and may have more resources to add richness to the historical distribution of groundfish. The groundfish data set involves both data collected through the work funded by the Maine Coastal Program and also work conducted previously by the Island Institute using substantially the same methodology. Overall, the groundfish data layers represent the information from about 20 interviewees: current and former groundfish fishermen as well as lobstermen whose fishing areas are adjacent those utilized by the groundfish fleet. Federally managed habitat and mortality closed areas play an important role in the groundfish fishery. This is not reflected in this data very well due to the scale and generalization of the data upon being aggregated. The data gives a sense of the vast area fished off the coast of Maine as well as the complexity of fisheries and gear types across areas. It shows areas of fishing from only selected harbors or regions, however, and represent an incomplete “snapshot” from an ongoing project. It should not be viewed as representing a complete data set for Maine’s fisheries, but rather as one step towards understanding fisheries-use patterns offshore and methods for documenting them.

Throughout the course of Mapping Working Waters interviews, data was collected about various place names in the marine environment. This information is presented as an un-aggregated data layer – if we heard somebody apply a name to a certain piece of bottom, we added it to the data layer. Place names identified represent either features on the ocean bottom (Death Trap, New Bank), features on nautical charts or GPS plotters (Hot Dog Shoal, Gull Wing), or landmarks used for line-of-sight navigation (House in the notch) . It is worth highlighting that there are more than one area referred to as “pasture” and “rolling eighties” so depending on where along the coast you are or what fishery you are talking about, they refer to very different parts of the bottom. Place names are not only useful for navigation and referencing marine areas, but also in preserving traditional knowledge seascapes of and historical stewardship of marine areas.