Penobscot East Resource Center in partnership with the University of Maine has brought a close to the fifth season of the Eastern Gulf of Maine Sentinel Survey Fishery. The project is designed to monitor groundfish recovery in the area from Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border and up to 45 miles from shore. From June through October 2014, four fishermen set over 93,000 hooks in the water in a combination of longline and jig fishing at both random locations and locations selected by fishermen. Though data are still being analyzed at the University of Maine, this year has shown a small glimmer of hope for cod recovery in eastern Maine. Though total catch was still very low, cod were present at twice as many stations this year compared to years’ past. Halibut catch was also much stronger this year. We expect to see more conclusions in the upcoming analysis, as well as important data regarding age structures and feeding patterns of this year’s catch. These offshore and near-shore monitoring efforts in the vicinity of the Penobscot and St. Croix rivers will offer important insight into ecosystem recovery over the next 3-5 years.
Captain Matt Trundy and stern man Lucas Trundy jig fishing for ground fish, aboard the Savannah Jane, Stonington, ME