Vol. 11, No. 10 – October 2006    News & Comment for and by the Fishermen of Maine          SUBSCRIBE NOW!!
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Coalition Strained at Council
by Mike Crowe

The most heated discussion at the New England Fisheries Management Council meetings on September 26, 27 and 28 in Peabody, Massachusetts, was focused on Gulf of Maine herring. The herring issue centered on the proposed Total Allowable Catch (TAC) reduction from 60,000 to 45,000 metric tons.

The concern over the condition of some stocks in the Gulf of Maine—particularly herring—has been a major issue for stakeholders for some time. Bringing this before management effectively has been difficult given the diverse groups interested. Those groups include, lobstermen, processors, mid-water trawler owners, whale watch boat operators, tuna and swordfish fishermen, scientists and management. Coalitions of fishing interests have been organized and they were present and vocal at the council meeting.

The New England Fisheries Management Council met with new chairman John Pappalardo. The herring committee and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meet annually to set the TAC on herring. At the same time, the National Marine Fisheries Service looks at the science and data available, and then comments on the likely outcome of going forward with a particular TAC. Their comments are the annual risk analysis. After reviewing all the science and considering the NMFS risk analysis, the herring committee makes a recommendation to NEFMC. This year that recommendation was for a 60,000 metric ton (MT) TAC.

New England Fisheries Management Council decisions won’t be made on the allowed catch of herring again until 2009. With so many fish depending on it for forage, it is the most controversial stock in the Gulf. Big, powerful mid- water trawlers are seen, by some groups in the range of stakeholders, to be impacting herring and the Gulf in ways unknown before their appearance. Photo: Chris Weiner

The Forgotten Hospital Ship Maine
by Mike Brown

The State of Maine has a long and distinguished maritime heritage, including the first American shipyard near Portland established in 1638 and Maine’s first ship in 1607. The Navy ship named for a place in Maine was the sloop of war Falmouth, commissioned on January 18, 1828. The most recent is the Ballistic Nuclear Submarine Maine. The Navy has also named a number of ships for geographic features and political entities of the state of Maine such as the Cruiser USS Portland.

Perhaps the most famous vessel to carry the Maine name was the USS Maine (1895-1898), originally designated as Armored Cruiser #1. She was a 6,682-ton, second-class battleship built at the New York Navy Yard and commissioned in September, 1895.

In January, 1898 the Maine was sent to Havana, Cuba to protect U.S. interests during a time of local insurrection and civil disturbances. Three weeks later, on February 15th, the battleship was sunk by a massive explosion that killed a majority of the crew. While the cause of this tragedy has never been definitively resolved, a Congressional investigation determined that the most likely cause was not sabotage, but a spontaneous combustion of coal next to the magazine. Several historians dispute these findings.


A Civil War field hospital, wounded and sick wait for bed space. Surgeons, at the time, were known for amputating limbs, but survival rates were low for those who refused amputation of damaged limbs in the days before antibiotics (pre-1940's). Contaminated water supplies and infection accounted for the majority of the sick. A northward bound hospital ship, with no beds or amenities, would have been welcomed after a few days of lying outdoors on the ground. Photo: NARA


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