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Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018: Cruise ships threaten lobster, missing FBI text messages, a web of pipelines

Cruise ships threaten lobster

For 40 years, I did summer research at the MDI Biological Laboratory, then retired here and joined the Maine Lobstermen’s Association as a “friend.” A recent BDN article described how Maine lobstermen’s practice of “V-notch” marking tails of egg-carrying lobsters before returning them to the sea and only harvesting lobsters within a specific size range is credited with saving the population here, a product of prudent management.

As a biologist, I suggest that the lobster population of Frenchman Bay belongs not just to the town of Bar Harbor but to all towns and fishermen surrounding the bay and cruise ship proposals before the Bar Harbor Town Council threaten that lobster population. It is envisioned that the number, size and average passenger numbers on ships must increase to finance proposed construction of a berthing pier at the Bar Harbor Ferry Terminal. This all represents a distinct threat to the continued viability of lobsters in Frenchman Bay.

Cod fishermen never saw the coming collapse of that population during the 1970s, only that their “takes” were increasing. No data indicated that efficient netting methods were depleting populations below levels of sustainability, thus their surprise when cod disappeared. Lobsters in Frenchman Bay are similarly threatened by rising ocean temperatures and the effects that cruise ships are likely to be having on organisms in the bay.

The bay is an intertwined ecosystem — lobsters eat a variety of other invertebrates. Cruise ships and berthing piers threaten the ecology of the entire bay.

Gary W. Conrad

Bar Harbor

Missing FBI text messages

Recently, the Trump administration has promoted expansion of offshore oil drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans. Thankfully, the entire Maine congressional delegation has openly opposed the drilling in Maine’s waters, citing the many negative effects to the environment and the economy for our state. But more needs to be done.

I searched the BDN over the past few days to find some print coverage of the Justice Department inspector general finding missing text messages sent between FBI officials involved in both the Hillary Clinton security violation investigation and the subsequent Russia investigation. I had hoped to actually read something detailed about what would seem to be actual news coverage. But not a thing on this national story with real political implications.

But over that same period I was able to learn that a Taco Bell worker in South Carolina threw a burrito at a co-worker, resulting in cheese getting on the co-workers uniform. Whew! And I also learned that a woman in Fort Kent backed over a couch in her front yard and lit the couch and her car on fire. I immediately checked my front yard to make sure there were no couches there.

I guess my thirst for actual news coverage wasn’t for naught.

Doug Meehan


A web of pipelines

The Standing Rock Sioux return to their valleys and their farms, but they did not desert America when she needed protection most.

Primarily originating from the coast of Texas spreading up through the Great Plain basin like wires from a switchboard are an interlacing network of liquid petroleum and volatile natural gas pipelines resembling the web of a spider under the influence of cannabinoids. Spreading its appendages throughout the country, it is the largest network of energy pipelines of any nation in the world.

Of course, why you have one pipeline bringing petroleum from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada and another bringing petroleum from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico isn’t the point, unless you’re a cracked out spider.

The point is the Sioux brought attention to the fact that somehow we let whoever owns the petroleum industry put deadly toxins over almost every aquifer and natural gas pipelines under every major population hub in America.

Keith Taft

Van Buren


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