Category Coasts & Oceans

Fish return to a restored Penobscot

Between the head of tide above Bangor to where it widens into the bay at Searsport, the Penobscot River shifts from a flowing freshwater waterway banked by cedar and pine to a brackish, wave-lapped marsh with a rocky shoreline. In this estuary, salt concentrations fluctuate as wind and tide push water and sediments back and […]

An Oyster Story

Each variety of oyster—that craggy and somewhat mysterious shellfish—has a story to tell. But every oyster story must first include a bit of background. What are oysters? Where did they come from? Why are they here, now? Read An Oyster Story in the 2015 Island Journal, published by the Rockland, Maine-based Island Institute and featuring […]

Influenced by Nature

In May 1871, Charles William Eliot had been president of Harvard College barely two years, and a widower just as long. He needed a break, for himself and his two young sons, a “thorough vacation” in the open air, as he wrote to a friend. He found means in Jessie, a 33-foot sloop, and began […]

How did U.S. presidents eat their salmon?

For eighty years, recreational salmon anglers on the Penobscot River in Maine upheld the annual tradition of giving the first Atlantic salmon each spring to the President of the United States. A closer examination of how each president’s salmon would have been prepared and eaten reveals that the celebratory eating of salmon happened at the […]

Review: The Mortal Sea

The stories are well-known: European seafarers and explorers encountered a western Atlantic Ocean filled with numerous, large, and robust fish, unlike anything they had seen before. According to W. Jeffrey Bolster, who begins his book, The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail, on the other side of the Atlantic, these early […]

Bringing the Ocean’s Power Home

For the inaugural “Life on the Coast” issue of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors, I covered the launch of Ocean Renewable Power Company’s first grid-connected tidal energy device in Cobscook Bay. I’ve been following the issue of tidal power in the Gulf of Maine since the emergence of new data and updated federal regulations opened […]

Sturgeon Moon Rising

In June 2006 I was in the boat with University of Maine researchers when they caught the second and third shortnose sturgeon in the Penobscot River estuary. It was the first sign of the persistence–or re-appearance–of a species thought to be extinct. My article about the science and history of sturgeon, Sturgeon Moon Rising (PDF), […]

image of Narraguagus River

The Can Do Crew

In December 2011 Atlantic Salmon Journal asked me to report on activities of the Downeast Salmon Federation in eastern Maine, a grassroots organization that has overseen the restoration hopes for salmon and other sea-run fish since 1982, when local anglers banded together in order to pool resources and regain some political clout, which had been […]

sardine comic book cover

Long May They Run

Just a few months into 2010, the Year of the Sardine, news came that the Stinson Seafood plant in Prospect Harbor—the last sardine cannery in the United States—was closing. The sardine song became a requiem; the herring hymn an elegy that carried across the continent, across the Atlantic, and up Penobscot Bay, where I heard […]

Redemption for the sea lamprey

Sea lamprey have a bad reputation as a flesh-eating monsters, but the sea-run fish are are native to the Maine coast. University of Maine esearchers are finding that when it comes inland to spawn in late spring, this primitive, resilient fish actually does some good in Maine rivers, from cleaning out streambeds to playing architect […]