Because what's at stake for Maine in Governor LePage's decision about ocean windpower could be the the very survival of Maine lobstering itself. Unless Lepage does not bow to the Obama Administration's powerful federal pressure on Maine seeking to hurry a quick and dirty heavily subsidized offshore industrial windrush before anyone catches on, Maine fishermen could be in for quite an unpleasant surprise.
What's the issue?
Larval lobsters, like the young of much other sea life, are planktonic for a month or more after hatching - in early summer in the lobsters' case. Although they swim, their movement is largely that of the currents in which they become entrained. As demonstrated in the above University of Maine animation, Maine lobster larvae hatching from Canadian and Downeast broodstock travel down the Eastern Maine Coastal Current to Penobscot Bay waters, where the world's top American Lobster fishery unsurprisingly occurs. Scallops and many finfish also spend their larval time of life traveling by ocean current from hatching place to settlement area.
But in this illustration of summer surface currents - based on the state's official draft location map of proposed Gulf of Maine ocean windpow... one proposed windpower area is directly athwart the Eastern Maine Coastal Current (EMCC) just before it reaches Penobscot Bay.
According to researchers from Norway - a nation with more than a decade of experience - ocean windmills by their very nature, ocean windfarms force millions of gallons of waters to flow vertically from the seafloor to the surface.
"A wind speed of 5–10 m/s may generate upwelling/downwelling velocities exceeding 1 m/day." says Goran Brostrom, ocean researcher for the Norwegian Meteorological Institute,
Over time this vertical water movement can result in a colder denser water column called an "upwelling" - a vertical current - forming below and around the ocean windfarm's footprint. When a warmer surface water current runs into such an upwelling, the current may be partly dispersed, partly diverted around the upwelling. Planktonic larvae riding that current may be misplaced or delayed.
Depending on the size of ocean wind project set up there, more lobster larvae could be diverted south into the outer Gulf of Maine, than continue west into SW Penobscot Bay's presently high performing rich lobster grounds.
Two others ocean windpower planning areas are within the Western Maine Coastal Current, which travels from west Penobscot Bay to Massachusetts Bay along the Northern New England coast - one off Casco Bay and one between upper Jeffreys Ledge and the mainland. (Actual sites have more irregular shapes than shown. see map below). Note the red disclaimers- see how worried the Baldacci administration is about fishermen and others seeing them.
Meanwhile the University of Maine, Cianbro BIW,etc have almost got their 40 million dollar federal