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

Spring 2005

Dear Volunteers and Friends of The Lobster Conservancy,

The Lobster Conservancy's mission is to sustain a thriving lobster fishery through science and community. This newsletter keeps our friends and volunteer research team informed of our activities. Here's what we've been up to over the past few months.

New Acting Director

As you know, Sara Ellis has moved on after serving as Executive Director from Jan 1999 – Feb 2005. We thank her for her dedication and good works and wish her the best in her future endeavors. No one will be able to fill her shoes. Rather than rushing in to try to duplicate Sara's role, we are taking the time to evaluate our needs. With the generous support of a grant from the Sudbury Foundation, we are seeking the assistance of an Organizational Consultant. Meanwhile, I have taken on the administrative duties as Acting Director and have stepped back into overseeing our volunteer program.

It is a great pleasure to be working with a remarkable team of juvenile lobster census-takers. We recently began the 2005-monitoring season by meeting with volunteers before sampling during the lowest tides of April. Jane provides details below. The Juvenile Lobster Monitoring Program is currently partially supported by grants from the Darden Restaurant Foundation, Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Lobster Advisory Council, and the Massachusetts Environmental Trust. We are still seeking additional funding for this year's volunteer program. Suggestions are welcome…

The Lobster Sonar Tracking Project (LSTP) is winding down in Muscongus Bay (details from Andrew below) and possibly gearing up in Stonington. TLC staff and Friendship lobstermen are working with the Penobscot East Resource Center and Stonington lobstermen to plan a similar project that aims to map the spawning, brooding and hatching grounds of egg-bearing lobsters between Stonington and Vinalhaven. The Lobster Sonar Tracking Project has been funded in part by the Northeast Consortium, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Darden Restaurant Foundation, and Davis Conservation Foundation.

Our educational programs continue to be well received. The Maine Community Foundation has partially funded the production of a Handbook that can be used by the schools adopting the Lobster Larvae in the Classroom project (details from Linda below).

Recent Ask the Lobster Doc articles have included a look at how management measures may affect landings, a review of the Lobster Life Cycle for the issue of Commercial Fisheries News that appeared at the Maine Fishermen's Forum, and a series on what we can do to protect the lobster resource based on knowledge we already have. Ask the Lobster Doc columns are archived at http://www.lobsters.org/ldoc/ldocindx.php . Recent press articles featuring TLC are available at http://www.lobsters.org/press/press.php .

Diane Cowan, Acting Director

Juvenile Lobster Monitoring Program (JLMP)

Our 100+ volunteers are extremely dedicated and loyal, and we are fortunate that 95% of our volunteers are returning for another sampling season this year.

Our volunteer intertidal monitoring program is designed to be a long-term study of juvenile lobster densities at designated sites. Our teams sample along a fixed transect at the same site each month. We presently have 23 volunteer monitoring sites stretching from Great Wass Island in Downeast Maine to Green Harbor, MA. We do not have funding to expand our sampling site locations this year, and we will only add additional sites in the future on a very selective basis.

We are off to another strong start, as we had a great turnout for our two preseason Kick Off Meetings. On April 2 nd in Friendship, Maine, Lynn Alley, Ben Ellis, and Blane Beal of Slate Island Cove, Great Wass Island, Rick & Stefanie Alley of Little Cranberry, Leslie Fuller of Watermans Point, South Thomaston, Julie Wortman of Drift Inn Beach, Port Clyde, Cathy Sherrill of North Beach, Allen Island, Ann & Mike Grimes, Dick & Jeanne Whittier, Leigh Sherrill, and Peter & Maria Doelp of Pratt Island, Southport, Amy Watson Saxton and Stacy Welner of Cundys Harbor, Harpswell, Corie Bibber Logan and Pat Masonheimer of Little Harbor, Harpswell, Sue & Geoff Lamdin and Ginny & Harry Hopcroft of Gun Point, Harpswell, Jocelyn Hubbell of Potts Point, Harpswell, Beth Howe and Mac Passano of Bennett Cove, Chebeague Island, Lynne and Steve Richard of Spar Cove, Peaks Island, David Vaughan, Dana Glass, Annie Brett, and Amy Cutler of Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth, and Bob Mills of Goose Rocks Beach, Biddeford all were extremely alert at the Hahn Community Center due not only to the information presented, but also due to the lack of heat on a cold, rainy day. After Jane Roundy reviewed the sampling protocol, online data entry, and other details requested of our volunteers, Diane Cowan presented the history of The Lobster Conservancy, recapped other TLC research projects underway, and recapped the results of the 2004 Sampling Season.

On April 3 rd , Arilda Densch of North Beach, Allen Island, Heather McLennan of Broad Cove, Cape Elizabeth, Tom Bender and Dan Doolittle of Goose Rocks Beach, Biddeford, Carolyn & John Payzant and Brian Jervis and Joy Dill of Fort Stark, New Castle, Nikki Annelli of Odiorne Park, Rye, Pat Earle, Pat Makin, Kirsten af Klinteberg, and Glenn, Jane, Tucker, and Sarah Roundy of Plum Cove, Gloucester, and Jack Arnold and Mitch Wondolowski of Gerry Island, Marblehead all enjoyed the wonderful exhibits at the Seacoast Science Center after hearing the same info from Diane and Jane. A huge thank you to all who attended. It was great to catch up with many of you. Thanks to the Seacoast Science Center and the Hahn Community Center for the use of their facilities.

These individuals and our other volunteers unable to attend represent the true diversity of our community based volunteer monitoring program. From the high school science teachers and their students to lobstermen and women, naturalists, librarians, an architect, financial planners, a graphic artist, and retired engineers and scientists, all our volunteers share a concern for their environment and for the health of the lobster fishery.

Welcome aboard to new volunteers Blane Beal at Great Wass Island, Cathy Sherrill at Allen Island, Maria and Peter Doelp at Pratts Island, Adrian Fiser, Lily Hoffman, Max Monks, and David Wells at Kettle Cove, the Roundy family at Plum Cove, and Mitch and Nick Wondolowski and Brenda Arnold at Gerry Island. Welcome back to Polly Wilson and Carolyn Bryant who will be assisting Linda Archambault at Lowell's Cove this year.

The April sampling results compiled to date are a mixed bag. Poor drainage at Slate Island Cove, Winter Harbor, Lanes Island, Waterman Beach, and Spar Cove hampered sampling, the Gerry Island, Plum Cove, and Drift Inn teams found no lobsters at their sites, Cundys Harbor found 1 lobster, Fort Stark in NH and Pratts Island in ME found 2 lobsters. The highest density sites were in Harpswell at Potts Pt with 7 lobsters in 10 quadrats and Gun Pt with 13 lobsters in 22 quadrats, and The Glades in Situate, MA with 7 lobsters in 16 quadrats. Pratts Island, Potts Pt, Gun Pt, and The Glades all found lobsters under 10 mm CL at their sites in April. The water temperature is still very cold, as all of our rock flippers and lobster measurers can attest to. We look forward to warmer weather and water temps for our May sampling.

Jane Roundy, Volunteer Coordinator

Lobster Sonar Tracking Project (LSTP)

  As our Friendship LSTP is moving toward completion, TLC launched a final thrust to recover as many at-large sonar transmitters as possible. Transmitters that were affixed to lobsters during the 2003-04 tagging season have since fallen off their hosts or were shed along with the molt shell and have continued to beep on the ocean floor. SCUBA diving with a unidirectional Underwater Dive Receiver (UDR), we find and collect these outstanding tags and record the final location of the specific lobster. Linda and Andrew have both assisted in recovering some of these tags. But most of the credit goes to a few dedicated Friendship lobstermen whom we trained to use the UDR. Divers Jim Bolen, Dallas Fields (tended by Doug Wilshire), Tim Thompson and Igor Myachin (tended by Mark Havener) spent many hours under water and at great depths in pursuit of these elusive transmitters.


In conjunction with this effort, Andrew Mountcastle spent the majority of the winter working on the LSTP data set. This involved organizing and verifying the accuracy of over 10,000 lobster tracking records in the LSTP Microsoft Access database that Andrew designed and created over the past year. Andrew has also been integrating the Access database with GIS mapping software and has produced a variety of maps that plot lobster locations, allowing us to begin a rigorous spatial analysis. Andrew recently prepared individualized maps for each lobsterman who participated in tagging lobsters. These maps were distributed to each lobsterman so that they may directly see the valuable range of data subsequently provided as a result of their tagging efforts. We met with Friendship residents and lobstermen at the Lobster House on March 29 to discuss preliminary results and share interpretations of their meaning. In the meantime, Diane and Andrew continue to analyze our LSTP data, and draw exciting conclusions about the movements of Muscongus Bay eggers! A report on movements and temperature data is available at www.northeastconsortium.org/projects.shtml#recset .

Andrew Mountcastle, Island Institute Fellow

Outreach and Education

Lobster Larvae in the Classroom (LLC)

TLC's most prominent educational program, Lobster Larvae in the Classroom (LLC), is now in its 4 th year. Project creator, Linda Archambault, brought LLC to 3 rd and 7 th graders in her hometown of Bristol in February and March. Other schools joining the project this year include Long Island, Chebeague, North Haven, and of course, Friendship.

Lobster Literacy Conference

TLC finished off the 2004 season with a Lobster Literacy Conference, given in collaboration with Island Institute, on December 3 & 4. The first day of the conference program consisted of presentations by scientists, including TLC's Diane Cowan. On Saturday, Linda Archambault instructed teachers and island fellows in how to rear lobsters in the classroom while taking advantage of accompanying lesson plans. Participants received a CD containing lobster related lesson plans and detailed instructions for raising lobster larvae. We have already achieved one major goal of the conference that was to provide teachers with the ability to use the project with less hands-on help from TLC scientists. Island Fellow Anna Rubin raised lobster larvae in the school on Long Island with minimal advisory help from Andrew and Linda.

In the works: A Lobster Larvae in the Classroom Handbook

Our next lobster literacy project is to be a handbook for teachers using the Lobster Larvae in the Classroom project. The handbook will help teachers to become more independent in using the project, thus freeing up TLC scientists for other pursuits and allowing the project to reach more schools. We have received partial funding from Maine Community Foundation and are waiting to hear from two other funding agencies. We hope to get the ball rolling on the handbook in June.

Linda Archambault, Education Coordinator


Presentations and Outreach

Diane, Andrew and Linda attended the Northeast Consortium Annual Meeting October 28, 2004. Andrew presented the results of the 2002-3 Sonar Tracking season at a poster session. Diane spoke in many venues on the results of the project as well as her experiences “Doing Science with the Lobstering Community”. Some of these talks were given at Maine Maritime Academy, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of New Hampshire, Penobscot East Resource Center, and the Massachusetts Lobsterman's Association Annual Meeting where Diane was the keynote speaker. Diane also attended the “State of Lobster Science: Shell Disease Workshop” where she spoke on “Lobster Movements and Vulnerability to Disease: Size Matters”. Diane traveled to Stonington a second time in April to discuss the possibility of a Sonar Tracking project with members of the Penobscot East Resource Center. This time she brought along Friendship lobstermen Tim Thompson and Mark Havener to give the Stonington fishermen the inside scoop on what it's like doing science with TLC. Also in April, Andrew and Diane presented the results of the first year of the sonar-tracking project to the fishermen participants in a meeting held at TLC's Lobster House. Linda and Diane also attended the Lobstermen's Town Meeting in St. John, New Brunswick where Diane was a panelist.

Community and School Presentations

Diane, Sara and Linda all gave presentations about lobster biology and TLC's programs to community groups over the past few months. These groups include Nobleboro and Camden Rotary Clubs, Friendship/Cushing Seniors Group, Gloucester Schooner Adventure Lecture Series and Midcoast Audubon. Last fall, Andrew and Linda hosted a group of Chewonki Maine Coast Semester students on Little Morse Island for a clean-up day ending with a presentation about the lobster life cycle and TLC's research programs. We are very grateful for their help in getting all the old roofing material off the island. Linda has visited Waynflete School 2 nd and 3 rd graders and Kieve Science Camp for Girls with presentations about lobster biology and TLC's programs. She has presented a poster of TLC's education activities at the Muscongus Among Us Share Fair and the Maine Environmental Educators Annual Meeting. Linda also participated in the Muscongus Among Us Teacher's Workshop Series again this winter, bringing her “Ins and Outs of Lobster Anatomy” workshop to 10 local educators.

Final Word

Hi! I was born in Linda's Lobster Larvae in the Classroom at Friendship School two years ago next month. Behind me is a regular Mason Jar in which I fit with lots of room while doing little Lobbie things. All this is in an aquarium at Lobster House. I'm a boy.


If I look sad to you it's because I don't have a name and I'm asking all of you to find one to give me on my second birthday. You all know about the 'terrible twos' and you wouldn't want me to be like that, would you -

Please send your suggestions to tlcadmin@lobsters.org or by mail to the above address and I'll talk with you next time.


                Jack Boak,  Editor


TLC News