P.O. Box 235, Friendship, ME 04547 (207) 832-8224 www.lobsters.org

August 6, 2001

Dear Volunteers and Friends of The Lobster Conservancy,

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with The Lobster Conservancy, we are primarily a scientific research organization dedicated to sustaining a thriving lobster fishery through science and community. This newsletter keeps our friends and volunteer research team informed of our activities.

Summer has been cranking along at break-neck pace. Here’s what TLC staff and volunteers have been up to since June.

News from the Board of Directors
The Lobster Conservancy welcomes aboard three new Board members since the retirement of Alex Loer, Carl Anderson, and Tom Archambault after 5 years of dedicated service. Our new board members are Andy Solow, Mark Wallace, and Amy Watson. Andy, who is Director of Marine Policy at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a statistician extraordinaire, has been collaborating with Diane on lobster research since the early 1990s. Mark is a Friendship lobsterman who has been supportive of TLC’s research at zone councils and on the wharves. Amy has been an active volunteer in the Juvenile Lobster Monitoring Program since 1997, and now works as Government Affairs Coordinator at the law firm of Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer, and Nelson in Augusta, Maine.

On July 27, TLC held its annual board meeting. The main focus of the meeting was to review the Strategic Plan that resulted from our strategic planning retreat in April. The Plan was unanimously approved. Once business was over, we moved to the great outdoors where we had a lobster feast in honor of retiring and new board members. Thank you to Mark Wallace for the delicious lobsters.

Research News
Volunteer Program

Volunteerism is the key to TLC’s success. We simply couldn’t accomplish the scope of work that we do without the helping hands of dedicated volunteers. On July 14, TLC hosted Volunteer Appreciation Day at the Lobster Life Studies Center. The event was well-attended by volunteers and local supporters. Thank you to Mother Nature for keeping all those nasty-looking thunderstorms at bay and to Fishermen’s Heritage Lobster Coop for a great deal on lobsters.

In late June, volunteers completed another round of sampling for juvenile lobsters throughout the Gulf of Maine. In Penobscot Bay, Trent and David Quinby and Lee Runge sampled 10 lobsters measuring 21 to 53 mm in carapace length (CL) on Isle au Haut. On Vinalhaven, Angie, Ladd and Jack Olsen helped John Van Ness find 19 lobsters at their rocky site (24-75 mm CL) and another 5 in their eel grass site (38-56 mm CL). In South Thomaston, Leslie Fuller and Annette Naegel found 1 lobster on their transect and another during random sampling (44-55 mm CL). In Port Clyde, Jane Roundy discovered 2 lobsters along her transect (33-38 mm CL) and noted that many rocks appeared disturbed and left upside down.

In Muscongus Bay, Sara Ellis trained Gayle Stuart and Chris Harjula to sample juvenile lobsters at the North Beach of Allen Island. They found 20 lobsters (30-53 mm CL) in only 12 quadrats, yielding a mean density of 1.7 lobsters/m2 (for more on Muscongus Bay see Long-term Tagging section below).

In Casco Bay, Sara trained Meg and Dan Warren to sample lobsters at Potts Point. They were visited by marine patrol officer Howard Brown who wanted to make sure they were not harvesting any mussels, since the bay is closed to shell fishing due to pollution. The Potts Point team found 7 lobsters (20-40 mm CL) in 17 quadrats. On a misty morning in Cundys Harbor Amy Watson single-handedly sampled 5 lobsters. Corie Bibber Logan and Pat Masonheimer didn’t find any lobsters at their site in Mackerel Cove. In marked contrast, they found 27 lobsters (11-56.5 mm CL) on the other side of Bailey Island at Little Harbor! Diane Cowan conducted a site visitation with Frank and Judy Haims at Gun Point. The Haims were joined by their grandson Justin O’Neill, who helped the team find 12 lobsters (17-53 mm CL). On Chebeague Island, Mac Passano and Beth Howe scouted for a new location for the second half of their 20-meter transect. They found 2 lobsters (40-43 mm CL mm). With help from Mike Doan and Josh Madeira from Friends of Casco Bay, Sara trained new volunteers Lynne and Steve Richard to sample for lobsters on Peaks Island. Lynne and Steve had previously scoped out sites around Peaks Island and thought that Spar Cove looked most promising. Their hunch was good as they found 8 lobsters (30-60 mm CL) along their new transect. Further south in Casco Bay, Mary Cerullo, Frank Leavitt and Helen Muther "tied" the Richard’s find with 8 lobsters (35- 47 mm CL) in Broad Cove on Cape Elizabeth. Elsewhere on Cape Elizabeth, Jack Ney and Jess Munro sampled 15 lobsters (9-61 mm CL) in Zeb Cove.

In Southern Maine, Enid and Pat White sampled near their regular transect site in Lobster Cove while Patrice Farrey and Dave McCarron scouted out another section of the cove. Enid and Pat found 15 lobsters (30-51 mm CL), while Patrice and Dave found another 8 lobsters (31-45 mm CL).

Pat and Enid White enjoyed discovering a few juvenile lobsters at the aptly named Lobster Cove in southern Maine. (Photo by Sara Ellis)

In New Hampshire, Sara and Al Stewart scouted out Plaice Cove in Hampton, a site suggested by biologist Ronald Sher with input from the field supervisor for Normandeau Associates, Seabrook Station's Environmental Monitoring Contractor. Once again, local knowledge paid off as this site turned out to be home to many juvenile lobsters. Sara trained Brad Judkins and UNH Marine Docent Carol Spinney to survey lobsters at Plaice Cove. Sara also conducted two site visitations in New Hampshire. She visited Al Stewart at the tide pool in Odiorne Point State Park, where Al sampled 7 lobsters (32-46 mm CL). Later in the week Sara visited John and Carolyn Payzant and Brian "Jumbo" Jervis at Fort Stark where the team found 14 lobsters (28-46 mm CL). The Payzants invited everyone back to their nearby house for a most delicious breakfast of homemade blueberry pancakes and accoutrements.

In Massachusetts, Pat Earle and Cindy Dunn found 24 lobsters in 15 quadrats ranging in size from 25 mm CL to a surprising legal-sized 97 mm CL (legal size is 83 mm CL). Further south at Manomet Point, Chad and Amy Keith got skunked, but were able to see the silver lining in the beautiful morning that they enjoyed out of doors.

Long-term Tagging of Juvenile Lobsters
Diane Cowan is continuing long-term tag-and-recapture studies of juvenile lobsters at two sites: Lowell Cove on Orr’s Island in Casco Bay and Deep Cove on Friendship Long Island in Muscongus Bay.

Diane surveyed and tagged at Lowell Cove on June 22 and 23. Alone on the 22nd it took her 2 hours to sample only 8 quadrats, since there were so many lobsters! Fortunately, Anne Barrett and Polly Wilson joined Diane on the 23rd to complete an additional 42 quadrats. Altogether they found 82 lobsters (23-59 mm CL), yielding a mean density of 1.6 lobsters/m2. Four of the lobsters had been captured and tagged before. There were as many as three lobsters found under one rock, and up to 5 lobsters in a single square meter. The sex ratio was skewed towards males, with 2.4 males to every female.

On June 24, Diane found her way through dense fog to Deep Cove on Friendship Long Island to census and tag 18 lobsters (23-57 mm CL), two of which had been captured and tagged previously. Mean lobster density in the 14 quadrats Diane sampled was 1.3 lobsters/m2. No more than one lobster was found under each rock. The sex ratio was approximately 1.3 males for every female. 

Lobster Life Studies Center
College interns Hilary Halstead and Pierson Stoecklein have been working with Diane to set up a Shelter Occupancy experiment in the lobster pound. The scientific objective is to determine the size of male mating territories and how many shelters are controlled by a dominant male. Ultimately observers will record the spacing between lobsters to get an idea of adult spatial requirements during mating season. To date, the shelters have been deployed, external tags have been tested and applied to thirty lobsters, and lobsters that were roaming free in pound have been captured in preparation for research. It sure seemed like a good omen when a gorgeous rainbow set up directly over the shelter array the evening after shelters were placed in pound!

Bob Grant and the interns gave Diane’s workboat the Aeolidia a real facelift and she has been re-launched proudly.

The deployment of handmade shelters, held here by intern Hilary Halstead, will help TLC scientists estimate the territory requirements of male lobsters. (Photo by Sara Ellis)

There have been multitudes of visitors to the LLSC this summer, including Hilary’s parents Carol and Clark Halstead and Pierson’s family, Alex, Rick, Hill, and Tea Stoecklein. Lobsterman Alvin Rackliff of Wheelers Bay visited with family and friends and dropped off two more oversized female lobsters for our research on growth and molting.

Outreach and Education
Thirty 7th and 8th graders accompanied by teachers Glenda Robinson and Gordon Paul from Miller School in Waldoboro learned about lobstering and sea sampling from Philip Genthner and Diane on board Philip’s lobster boat the F/V Melinda Kay. Afterwards, they landed at the Lobster Life Studies Center where Diane taught students about the lobster life cycle and showed them experimental lobsters. The students were most impressed by large size of the 6 to 8 pound lobsters that are part of our growth and tagging studies.

In July, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School brought 20 teenage students to the LLSC to conduct a one-day service learning project, as they did last summer. This year’s students were accompanied by Course Director Todd Williams and Instructors James Hildebrand, Jose Gonzalez, Aliana Witham, and Cerissa Desroseira. One half of the team learned about lobster biology and research from Diane, while the other half helped clean up around the periphery of the lobster pound under the supervision of Bob Grant and a volunteer leader. After 2 hours the two teams switched off, so that everyone got a chance to learn and to serve.

Diane Cowan (left) and lobster entertain and educate during a service-learning visit from Hurricane Island Outward Bound School students. (Photo by Sara Ellis)

The Lobster Conservancy is planning its third service-learning project with undergraduate geology students at Bowdoin College in collaboration with Professor Ed Laine and Service Learning Coordinator Cathryn Field. During the summer, interns Emily Scott and Kristen Kindsvogel will be mapping all of TLC’s lobster monitoring sites onto GIS base maps. In the autumn, first-year geology students will examine these maps along with data on juvenile lobster abundance, sediment type, and bottom topography to try to determine why some sites are more favorable lobster nursery sites than others.

On July 28, TLC staff and interns hosted TLC’s annual Marine Touch Tank on Friendship Day. We also displayed a juvenile lobster and shared information about lobster biology and research. Thank you to Friendship lobsterman Steve Lash for recommending a good site in Friendship Harbor to collect a juvenile lobster for our display. We sold $270 worth of TLC hats and T-shirts and will be donating all proceeds to the Friendship Ambulance Service.

Press Coverage
Diane helped to land and weigh Alice Loomis’ 35-pound lobster "Homar," an artistic creation for Rockland’s Lobster Maine-ia. A reporter from the Rockland Courier Gazette came along to document the transfer of Alice’s beautiful fiberglass lobster statue from Friendship Long Island to Ronnie Simmons’ wharf in Friendship. The story has not yet appeared in the Gazette.

An article on lobsters and TLC that appeared in Germany’s Der Speigel magazine in February has generated great interest from German television crews in the United States and Germany. In late July, Dominique Gradenwitz, Peter Reuther, Michael Bogar, and Martina Ranpas, of German TV and Radio Productions in New York came to the Lobster Life Studies Center and filmed Diane, Hilary, Pierson and--of course--lobsters, both in and out of the water. Mark Wallace took the cameraman out on F/V Pamela B to film lobstering operations. The television crew plans to air a 6-minute piece in September on Mare TV, a special-interest series on the sea.

Upcoming Events
On August 8, volunteers from the Penobscot Bay Marine Stewards and Mid-Coast Marine Stewards will help clean up our property on Little Morse Island.

On August 9, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School will be bringing 8 students to the LLSC for another one-day service learning project.

TLC’s Wish List
Last month we received two items after the inaugural posting of TLC’s Wish List in our newsletter. Thank you to Joanne Omang for a Compaq laptop computer and to Linda Yeaton for a brand new Craftsman cordless drill.

Based on this success, we will be making the wish list a common feature of our newsletters. If you can spare any of the following items, or have ideas on how we might obtain them, please contact us at (207) 832-8224.

Yours in TLC and Friendship,

Sara Ellis, Executive Director and Diane Cowan, Senior Scientist

TLC News