Oct 27, 2009

Penobscot Bay shallow waters protection plan to kick off at Maine Coastal Waters Conference on Wednesday

Group to kick off Penobscot Bay protection plan at 2nd annual  Maine Coastal Waters Conference at  the Conference Center atop Ducktrap Mountain in Northport.

In addition to renewable energy and climate change's impacts to the Gulf of Maine conference attendees willl consider  Community participation in the management and conservation of coastal ecosystems .

An example of such community action began with last week's  granting by Maine Department of Marine Resources of a special license to Ron Huber, executive director of  Penobscot Bay Watch.  The  license allows group's members to use a 60 foot long small mesh beach seine net to catch and release nearshore juvenile cod and and other small fishes once a month at three locations along the shore of West Penobscot Bay: Stockton Harbor, Searsport Harbor and Rockland Harbor.

Captured fish and invertebrates will be photographed and  their size and color itemized, before they are released alive back into their homes.

"Sampling Maine's nearshore coastal waters for the presence or absence of our native fishes and crustaceans is vital to understanding the ecological health of the most vulnerable part of Penobscot Bay's  ecosystem, its nearshore waters" Huber said.  "We can't know where to go, unless we know where we are." 

"This shallow zone from low tide to 6 feet deep is  an ecological front line. It is where polluted runoff and shoreland development can have their most harmful effect."  Huber said.  "It is extremely important for a fishery recovery of Penobscot Bay that these shallow aters are watched over very closely. Penobscot Bay Watch aims to do just that."

Huber said that people interested in helping with the survey  to contact his group at 691-7485 or by email at ron.huber@penbay.org.  "It's strenuous but  a lot of fun," he said. describing pulling in the seine as "like playing Tug of War with Neptune."   Further information is available at the Penobscot Bay Watch website www.penbay.org

Penobscot Bay Watch: People who care about Penobscot Bay

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