Consider more than lobster

Let’s put the lobster bait problem in an ecosystem perspective: Herring have been in decline ever since seiners and pair trawlers began harvesting them offshore, before they reached their near-shore spawning grounds. Herring’s natural function is not merely to provide lobster bait; herring and their clupeid cousins — alewives, shad and menhaden — are crucial to the trophic pyramid that starts at the bottom with one-celled plants and ends with top predators — swordfish, tuna, sharks and mankind.

Clupeids turn tiny vegetation and tiny animals into animal protein we see on our plates. Before seiners and pair-trawlers began taking herring offshore, the nearshore cod, haddock and other valuable market-fish populations were large enough that Maine’s handline fishermen could make a good living within sight of land — cod fishermen’s logs from the 19th century tell us that. Then the tub-trawl was invented, and herring became valuable as trawl-bait in the 1860s. By 1880 there were a thousand or more weirs and traps set in former herring spawning grounds along Maine’s coast, and after a peak herring catch in 1902, the entire clupeid population went into slow decline.

If we want to see a recovery of Maine’s historical “shore” fisheries, we must first recover their base: the forage fish population. To rebuild the 19th century nearshore marine ecosystem, we should buy up and scrap pair trawlers and seiners, and forbid the use of mobile net gear within 50 miles of Maine’s shore. Thinking of the lobster fishery as a sole marine industry that justifies overfishing baitfish will utterly destroy the near-coastal marine ecosystem for generations to come.

William Leavenworth


Say no to big business

A couple has just spent their vacation sightseeing along the beautiful Maine coast and are now in Calais. The husband reassures his wife that they can zip along back toward home on the new East West Highway. Maybe stop at the new plaza in The Forks for a bite to eat and some shopping. Maybe a stop up the road at the new CMP corridor for a shuttle bus tour of the best views of the windmills scattered throughout western Maine’s mountains.

If Janet Mills has her way, this could happen.

Let’s not let big business think that Maine will bow down for a few bucks while they line their pockets.

Green energy? Aren’t the trees that will be chopped down for the transmission line and for future wind farms free carbon emission scrubbers? How many thousands of gallons of diesel fuel get burned up on projects the size of these? If these types of projects continue to happen here, Maine will become a very green state indeed because no one will want to vacation in this industrialized mess.

Let’s say no to big business and let Maine’s natural resources be our best asset.

Jim Jones

East Boothbay

Bring back Non Sequitur

I miss “Non Sequitur.” I am accustomed to reading it every day and once on the weekend. Whatever happened to cause its disappearance was so minor it went right under my radar.

The strip was a welcome relief and commentary on the news and on our culture. We buy a copy of the Bangor Daily News every weekday, and we buy the weekend edition but we expect to be able to read our favorite cartoon. It’s part of the ritual: going to the convenience store, getting there before all the copies of the BDN are gone, reading the depressing news, and then the treat: a creative intelligent comic strip. Bring it back.

Carol Muth

Bar Harbor

New department could help fight addiction

I feel that LD 80, An Act to Create the Department of Substance Use Disorder Services sponsored by Rep. Anne Perry of Calais, could have a positive impact on individuals and families throughout the state of Maine.

In 2017, it was reported that there was a total of 418 overdoses throughout Maine and approximately 7 percent of babies born in that year were affected by opiates or other drugs. This department it would be responsible for planning, developing, coordinating and evaluating all of the state’s substance use disorder prevention and treatment activities and services.

In my opinion, the creation of the Department of Substance Use Disorder Services would increase awareness to individuals and families about the effects of substance use and abuse, remove barriers surrounding treatment services — including implementing programs in healthcare facilities, jails and prisons — and increase opportunities for economic assistance and employment support services. With this creation, access to treatment services and prevention programs will help the fight against the opioid crisis throughout Maine.

Nicole Cannizzaro