Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ The New England Fishery Management Council will not allow Atlantic herring fishermen to exceed their limit for haddock bycatch this year.
 
    The council denied the request at a meeting Friday. Federal regulators say Atlantic herring fishermen who fish from mid-water trawl boats are on track this year to exceed their limit for incidental catch of haddock in Georges Bank. That would trigger rules that would effectively shut down the herring fishery.
 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ The New England Fishery Management Council is asking the federal government to consider allowing fishermen to catch more haddock in the Gulf of Maine this year.
 
    The council voted Wednesday to ask the National Marine Fisheries Service to raise the haddock catch limit for the 2014 fishing year. The fishing year began May 1 and ends April 30, 2015. The catch limit is currently close to 700,000 pounds.
 
    The council's proposal passed by a vote of 15-1.
 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ The New England Fishery Management Council is asking the federal government to consider allowing fishermen to catch more haddock in the Gulf of Maine this year.
 
    The council voted Wednesday to ask the National Marine Fisheries Service to raise the haddock catch limit for the 2014 fishing year. The fishing year began May 1 and ends April 30, 2015. The council's proposal passed by a vote of 15-1.
 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ A team of American and Canadian scientists is about to depart on a two-week study of deep-sea corals in the canyons in the northern Gulf of Maine.
 
    Martha Nizinski of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northeast Fisheries Science Center and Anna Metaxas of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, will lead the scientists. They depart Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on Wednesday aboard the NOAA ship Henry B. Bigelow and return to Newport, Rhode Island, on July 1.
 

Bodvar Eggertsson

At 7:00 tonight, five seals will emerge from kennels and flop across a Biddeford beach into the ocean. It will be the final release of rehabilitated seals from the University of New England's Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation Center. UNE announced last month the center would close due to financial constraints and a shift in programming. Those who rescue stranded marine animals say they're scrambling to figure out how to continue helping animals in distress.

The Portland City Council last night adopted two measures designed to cut down on waste that are believed to be threats to the environment.

On identical, 6-3 votes, the council enacted a ban on single-use foam packaging. In the other measure, it imposed a nickel-a-bag fee on grocery bags.

The idea is to encourage people to use, and reuse, cloth and other bags that won't go into the waste stream.

Backers of the new restrictions say much of that plastic and foam winds up littering the landscape and finding its way into the ocean where it poses a risk to wildlife.

UNITY PLANTATION, Maine (AP) _ A two-year quest by Unity College students to fit a black bear with a video collar has achieved success.
 
    The Morning Sentinel reports that professor George Matula and about a dozen students trekked deep into a 4,000-acre patch of woods off Route 139 on Thursday to fit the collar on a trapped bear.
 
    Although the team had hoped to capture a female so they could get video of it raising cubs, they were still satisfied to fit the collar on an 180-pound male.
 

A Washington, D.C., consulting group says a less costly, less damaging dredging plan would still allow Searsport's Mack Point to accommodate larger tankers and cargo ships.

  The Isleboro Islands Trust opposes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' dredging plan for the channel off Searsport and hired the firm Dawson and Associates to research alternatives.

In its report, released today in Augusta, Dawson also calls for further environmental and economic study before any dredging is allowed to move forward.

Ocean Acidification

Jun 12, 2014

Scientists and fisherman worry about changes in the chemistry of the ocean, and the impact on clams, lobsters, oysters, shrimp and sea urchins. The Maine Legislature recently passed the first law in the East Coast that addresses the issue. Learn more about the ocean acidification and what might be done to protect Maine's fisheries and environment.

Host Jennifer Rooks speaks with:

Tom Porter / MPBN

Later this month a special commission will convene in Maine to study ocean acidification and look for ways to mitigate it. It was established by legislation passed in April, making Maine the first state on the East Coast to enact a law specifically to study the threat posed by the changing chemistry of the seas. The lawmaker behind the measure says ocean acidification is a problem he witnesses on a daily basis.

Last year, Maine set a record no one really wanted — we had more confirmed cases of Lyme disease than ever before. Eleven-hundred people were diagnosed with Lyme. Well, tick season is upon us yet again, and with the warm weather finally here, a lot of people are headed outdoors. And now, there's not just Lyme disease to be aware of, but other tick-borne diseases as well — including the Powassen virus, which claimed the life of a well-known artist in Maine last year.

State of Maine

A long-awaited trial over mercury contamination in the southern end of Maine's second-largest river system got underway today in U.S. District Court in Bangor. A now defunct, Orrington-based chemical company dumped mercury into the Penobscot River years ago. The lawsuit, filed by the Maine People's Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council, asks the federal court to order Mallinckrodt US LLC to clean up contamination around the mouth of Penobscot Bay and along the river.

Glennia / Flickr/Creative Commons

Several environmental leaders, scientists and business representatives in Maine have welcomed new rules for cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. This follows the announcement today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. Supporters say Maine already has a head start on complying with the new rules.

Paul Schaberg marshals a small team of scientists, surveying a stand of red spruce in Colebrook for frost damage from last winter.

“So what are you guys seeing, are you seeing any injury yet?” he calls out.  

“We’re just seeing green needles,” hollers back one of his helpers.

“Happy, happy trees,” responds another.

Report: Maine's Solar Potential Going Untapped

May 28, 2014
Margaux Rioux

Alternative energy advocates today unveiled a national study which puts Maine's biggest city in a less-than-flattering light when it comes to the development of solar power. Environment Maine held an outdoor press conference near Portland's working waterfront, where despite wet and cloudy conditions, the message was that Maine has great solar potential.

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