Mar 16, 2019

latest on Quorum sensing and prokaryotes

Microorganisms living on macroalgae: diversity, interactions, and biotechnological applications.
Martin M1, Portetelle D, Michel G, Vandenbo Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2014 Apr;98(7):2917-35. doi: 10.1007/s00253-014-5557-2. Epub 2014 Feb 22. Front Microbiol. 2017 Dec 22;8:2561. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02561. eCollection 2017.
A Functional Perspective Analysis of Macroalgae and Epiphytic Bacterial Community Interaction 2017 Dec 22;8:2561. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02561. eCollection 2017.

Bacterial Quorum Sensing and Microbial Community Interactions.
Abisado RG#1, Benomar S#1, Klaus JR#1, Dandekar AA2, Chandler JR3.
MBio. 2018 May 22;9(3). pii: e02331-17. doi: 10.1128/mBio.02331-17.

Cooperation and conflict in quorum-sensing bacterial populations.
Nature. 2007 Nov 15;450(7168):411-4.

Combinatorial quorum sensing allows bacteria to resolve their social and physical environment.
roc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Mar 18;111(11):4280-4. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1319175111. Epub 2014

Quorum sensing and bacterial social interactions in biofilms.
Li YH1, Tian X1, Tian X

The social behaviours of bacterial pathogens.
Popat R1, Crusz SA, Diggle SP.
Br Med Bull. 2008;87:63-75. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldn030. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

Bill will have MDEP dredge applicants follow court-mandated mercury sampling,testing standards

Heads up from a local mercury watcher on the present river bay situation


* This fall the federal court in Bangor will hold a trial in the still-pending case brought by the Maine People’s Alliance and NRDC against Mallinckrodt. 
At issue: Determine what remedial measures the court will require Mallinckrodt to undertake in the lower Penobscot River (at the South end of Verona Island) and the upper estuary, as well as Mendall Marsh.

* The court has identified the lower Penobscot River (at thend of Verona Island) the upper estuary and Mendall marsh as where the worst of the mercury contamination from the HoltraChem was found by the Court’s experts during Phases I and II of the Penobscot River Mercury Study (PRMS).

* Complex currents in the lower river and upper estuary have created a mobile sediment pool of mercury contaminated sediment. In this area, we're given to understand, the mercury has never been buried by natural attenuation and apparently never will be buried!

NRCM urges legislators to support LD 640 requiring GHG study of HQ /CMP cable corridor plan.

Listen to Natural Resources Council of Maine's Nick Bennett  electrify attendees at the Legislature's Energy & Natural Resources Committee March 15, 2019  hearing on  LD 640  To Require a Study of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions from the Proposed Central Maine Power Company Transmission Corridor

Nick testifies for 7 minutes and gets questioned, not always politely,   by legislators  for 13 minutes, nor does he pull punches

Mar 14, 2019

Land based aquaculture reform bill details

On Thursday, February 28, 2019  the Maine Legislature's Agriculture Conservation and Forestry Committee held its public hearing on LD 620 An Act Regarding Licensing of Land-based Aquaculture Facilities in room 214 of the Cross Building, in Augusta. 
Below are the 22 items of public testimony submitted in paper or email form to the committee

Public Hearing Testimony, 22 items
Allgrove, BethanyLincolnville
Belle, Sebastian *Maine Aquaculture Association
Block, SidneyNorthport
Brophy, SallyBelfast
Buckmaster, LindaBelfast
Byers, SteveWaldo
Coelho, PhyllisBelfast
Davis, DanPorter
Dodge, JaniceMaine State Legislature
Duffy, RobynBelfast
Eaton, JulieDeer Isle
Fuller, RidgelyBelfast
Gilbert, Deirdre *Department of Marine Resources
Haire, SandraBelfast
Hatch, ConnyBelfast
Huber, RonFriends of Penobscot Bay
Kittredge, Thomas *Belfast City Council
Krueger, JohnNorthport
Lozanova, SarahBelfast
Naess, Marianne * Nordic Aquafarms
Reichard, LawrenceBelfast
Schlueter, EricaBelfast

Mar 10, 2019

News: Second Battle of Penobscot Bay. Melee of estuary and aquaculture interests over fate of estuary

For Immediate Release
PENOBSCOT ESTUARY This dynamic zone, where the dissolved tincture of 8,000 forested square miles of interior Maine  encounters the  Penobscot Bay pressing its salty tides inland, is become a war zone. (cont'd below image)
For more than a year, multinational  and local aquaculture interests, pitted against  community activists  and bay fishery and conservation groups, have  brawled their way through municipal and state hearings and  public events.

Now foes of two land based aquaculture plans, flush from bringing  the  permit review of one to a standstill, are pressing the legislature to make state regulators "think like an estuary" with a series of reform and science bills, the first of which  LD 620 An Act Regarding Licensing of Land-based Aquaculture Facilities -  faces its first committee vote Tuesday in Room  214 of the Cross Building.

LD 620 adds this clause twice  to the existing law when it is deciding whether to deny the application or revoke an existing  one. 

"alone in the use of a body of water or in combination with the aquaculture activity of any other land-based aquaculture operations using the same body of water " 

" Estuaries like ours are small enough and their flushing rate slow enough," said bay activist Ron Huber   "that  while one of these landfarms could be an  lawfully defensible burden,  multiple fish farm effluent discharges, especially of  hormones and other biochemicals released by salmon  could  have a demonstrable unacceptable effect."    He said that  the survival of smolts, elvers  and alewives  transiting the estuary in their migrations could be put at risk. (Continued below image)

The bill gives the Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry the authority to  require its consulting agencies, DEP, DMR and DIFW  to prepare a cumulative impacts assessment  when multiple salmon tankfarms  are proposed for a single estuary/ 

Without this,  reformers warn,  Maine is in danger of triggering a goldrush  scramble  for permits  and land leases along the lower river and upper bay.    "I've looked at dozens of Maine agency comments on big  coastal developments and small." said Huber  "Concerns about  the cumulative impact of new projects  when combined with existing ones, rarely enter the calculations. "


LD 620 empowers the Dept of Agriculture to  produce a  big picture of what decisionmakers can expect  for the greater estuary if they approve going ahead with an additional salmon tankfarm. This is vital to smart bay management. 

Agency review of Nordic Aqua Farm's ambitious plan for building one of the world's largest land-based salmon aquaculture facilities  has been suspended, after a sharp-eyed activist tipped attorneys  for NGO Upstream Watch and Maine Lobstering Union, to a glaring fault in the project design,.

Attention has turned to Augusta,  where Tuesday the legislature's  Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation Committee will examine its evidence and conscience, then approve, amend or kill  LD 620 the aquaculture reform  bill.    

Filling the Gap  Critics say the state is so new to land based salmon farming that its selected overseer, the Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry, has yet to put together rules and regulations to interpret the one page law, 7 MRSA §1501."Land-based Aquaculture license".  

"Taking on a multinational industry with a flimsy one page statute and non existent rules is an open invitation  to repeat the disastrous start of Maine's fishpen salmon aquaculture in the early 1990s." Huber warned legislators at their earlier public hearing on the bill. "That is when  investors triggered  a gold rush for permits, that were grandfathered in under the then-new  salmon fish pen laws.  Don't worry, they said."

What happened? Too many salmon farms, licensed too close to each other in too many environmentally sketchy areas . The fouled seafloors, disease and parasites  that these immense unmoving schools of salmon  stimulated were as bad for the natural ecosystem outside the pens as for those inside.

It took years  and much bad blood between  conservation and fish pen farmers to bring salmon net penning down to more realistic levels.

"We do  NOT want to go down that same path with a flurry of land based salmon farms pumping effluent into the Penobscot Estuaruy . But we will if we don't  use LD 620 to let the agency take these first steps  slowly."


Mar 5, 2019

Penobscot Bay History 2003 - EPBEA turns back Norwegian fish pen applicant,

Statement from the East Penobscot Bay Environmental Alliance\

The East Penobscot Bay Environmental Alliance (EPBEA), part of the Friends of Blue Hill Bay, is pleased to announce that Jorn Vad has withdrawn his applications to lease 30 acres of water for finfish aquaculture off Scott and Pickering Islands near Little Deer Isle.

The Aquaculture Hearing Examiner for the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) confirmed in a letter signed March 28, 2003, that the applications have been withdrawn, and that the pre-hearing conference and hearings scheduled for April in Brooksville and Deer Isle have been cancelled.

Not stated in the DMR letter, but implied by the communication from Mr. Vad to DMR, was that Mr. Vad would collect more information on the sites this summer and then may decide to re-apply for the leases next fall.

Although this may be a temporary victory for those opposed to the pen sites, we must continue to be vigilant and strengthen our own case against what we consider to be an inappropriate use of this area of East Penobscot Bay.

EPBEA was prepared to provide a wide array of fact and expert witnesses to expose the weaknesses of the Vad applications and show why these sites were not appropriate for large-scale finfish aquaculture. EPBEA has been collecting its own data and doing its own analysis for the last 18 months and would have provided a much more comprehensive analysis of the sites than either Mr. Vad or DMR has provided to date.

EPBEA was being aided in its fight against the Vad applications by the United Fishermen of Penobscot Bay, which was being represented by attorney John Foster of Eastport.

In the last two weeks of March, first EPBEA, and then the Fishermen's Group, filed petitions with DMR asking for a delay in the hearings because Mr. Vad had failed to mark the corners of the site at least 60 days before the hearing as required by the leasing regulations.

The entrance into the fray of a large group of local fishermen was a significant addition of strength to the intervenor effort and may have been responsible for the eleventh hour capitulation by Mr. Vad on the current application.

EPBEA has also had the excellent support and advice of Roger Fleming and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF).

Since Sally McCloskey formed EPBEA almost two years ago and led the group for its first 18 months, CLF has been a staunch ally and helped EPBEA in its successful petition drive to bring needed changes in aquaculture regulations before the DMR.

CLF and EPBEA also intervened in Jorn Vad's Perry finfish lease applications, which were turned down by DMR, developed joint legislative initiatives, and actively intervened in the Board of Environmental Protection's proceedings to develop a general wastewater discharge permit to control the effects of finfish aquaculture on marine water quality and ecology.

Marsden Brewer, Vice President of EPBEA, has been very helpful in marshalling support within the local fishing community. Robert Gerber, President of EPBEA and a local island owner, focused on developing the technical case to demonstrate the unacceptable environmental impact that the pens would have on East Penobscot Bay.

The Board of EPBEA will meet in April to plan further actions to strengthen its demonstration that the proposed lease areas are inappropriate for finfish aquaculture.

EPBEA will also continue to work in the legislative, regulatory, and public information arenas to promote bay-wide management planning, appropriate regulation, and enhanced provision for public input into aquaculture applications.

EPBEA would like to thank all who have helped to fight these leases, attend hearings, write letters, sign petitions, give money, and donate time and energy to the cause of sound bay-wide management planning. We are deeply grateful for the community support that has emerged in this fight. We thank everyone who has taken part.


Written testimony for LD 620 An Act Regarding Licensing of Land-based Aquaculture Facilities.

On Feb 28th LD 620 "An Act Regarding Licensing of Land-based Aquaculture Facilities" had its public hearing before the legislature's Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee (ACF) Below are 18 comments received in support and 4 in opposition to the bill.

LD 620 amends the one page state law on land-based aquaculture. It requires the agency to factor in the wastes exiting from existing land based fish farms, when licensing another in the same waterbody. Ditto when deciding whether to revoke a license of an existing land based salmon farm. Supporters say it will prevent the problems that occured

Allgrove, BethanyLincolnville
Belle, SebastianMaine Aquaculture Association
Block, SidneyNorthport
Brophy, SallyBelfast
Buckmaster, LindaBelfast
Byers, SteveWaldo
Coelho, PhyllisBelfast
Davis, DanPorter
Dodge, JaniceMaine State Legislature
Duffy, RobynBelfast
Eaton, JulieDeer Isle
Fuller, RidgelyBelfast
Gilbert, DeirdreDepartment of Marine Resources
Haire, SandraBelfast
Hatch, ConnyBelfast
Huber, RonFriends of Penobscot Bay
Kittredge, ThomasBelfast City Council
Krueger, JohnNorthport
Lozanova, SarahBelfast
Naess, MarianneNordic Aquafarms
Reichard, LawrenceBelfast
Schlueter, EricaBelfast

Mar 3, 2019

Five opponents of Maine aquaculture reform speak out .

On February 28, 2019, the Maine Legislature's Agriculture Conservation & Forestry Committee heard testimony on LD 620 "An Act Regarding Licensing of Land-based Aquaculture Facilities".  

Here are recordings of five opponents of the bill who testified that day. They vary in tone and factuality.
Rep Richard Campbell, Bucksport & surrounding towns  7min 
Marianne Naess,Commercial Director  Nordic Aqua Farms. 3min30sec  
Dierdre Gilbert DMR 7min 30sec
Sebastian Belle Maine Aquaculture Assn
Thomas Kittredge Belfast Economic Devel Dir & QA 4min19sec

LD 620 will require second and additional applicants for land based aquafarms within a single estuary to prove they will not, in combination with existing landbased  salmon farms already discharging into it, jointly boost the amount of effluent  biochemicals entering those estuarine waters to unacceptable levels.  This is not currently a mandate within statute.

Feb 28, 2019

Legislature hears testimony on LD 620 Land Based salmon farm reform bill

On February 28, 2019, the Maine Legislature's Agriculture Conservation & Forestry Committee heard the following testimony on LD 620 "An Act Regarding Licensing of Land-based Aquaculture Facilities". Audio quality is so.

Representative Jan Dodge introduces LD 620. 2/28/19
1 LD 620 Introduction by Sponsor Rep Jan Dodge 

2 Opponent-legislator Rep Richard Campbell, Bucksport  7min

3. Supporters 20 min
Ron Huber
Linda Buckmaster
John Kruger
Connie Hatch
Bethany Allgrove
Lawrence Reichert

4 Opponents of the bill. 21min

Marianne Naess, Nordic. 3min30sec  
Dierdre Gilbert DMR 7min30sec
Sebastian Belle Maine Aquaculture Assn
Thomas Kittredge Belfast Economic Devel Dir & QA 4min19sec