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November 05, 2021

Senators Collins, King Announce Over $650,000 to Strengthen Maine’s Lobster Industry

The funding will promote stability in key parts of Maine’s ocean economy in the face of our changing climate

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced today that three Maine organizations will be receiving a total of $662,405 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Sea Grant American Lobster Initiative to support the long-term health and resiliency of Maine’s lobster industry. The funds, which have been awarded to the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, the University of Maine, and the Maine Department of Marine Resources, will help increase our understanding of the impacts of warming in the Gulf of Maine on lobsters in various stages of life.

“The lobster industry is an integral part of Maine’s economy, plays a central role in our communities, and represents our state around the world,” said Senators Collins and King. “It is more than a fishery – it is part of who we are. These funds will give three Maine institutions the resources they need to better understand the threats facing our lobster industry and help provide lobstermen the data and support they need to succeed. We are pleased to see NOAA investing in the long term health and success of our coastal communities, and look forward to seeing how these grants contribute to a thriving lobster industry in the decades ahead.”

The Sea Grant American Lobster Initiative, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program, addresses critical knowledge gaps about American lobster and its iconic fishery in a dynamic and changing environment. The initiative, which began in 2019 after Sen. Collins secured its inclusion through her work on the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, supports both scientific research and a regional Sea Grant extension program in the Northeast. Together, the research and extension components of this initiative develop and share new knowledge and understanding with industry stakeholders and resource managers from Maine to New York.

The funding will be allocated to the three Maine organizations as follows:

The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve is receiving $134,489 to evaluate the overall health and quality of egg-bearing lobsters with respect to their egg production and examine how environmental drivers of climate change in the Gulf of Maine may be impacting this key life history phase.

The University of Maine is receiving $399,036 to expand its decades-long work in collaboration with the industry and regulators to model the distribution of larval lobster in the Gulf of Maine. Specifically, the study will seek to answer questions regarding changes in ocean conditions, larval distribution, and their relationships to the larval lobsters’ optimal food supply.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources in partnership with the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries is receiving $128,880 to explore the existence of current and new lobster predators in the Gulf of Maine. The research will provide data on potential seven different species of predators and allow managers to update stock assessments and improve ecosystem models for the Gulf of Maine.

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