Sunday, August 15, 2010

Look What the Current Dragged In, Part I

As always, the finds that are the most fun are the ones that get you asking questions.

On an early trip to Bay View, back in June, I uncovered this...
...which looked vaguely like a lobster trap tag. (Probably the word LOBSTER put that thought in my head.) But this was totally different from the ones I was used to, issued by the State of Maine:
In fact, it was printed in English & French. Could this be a Canadian tag? This far south?

A quick Google search proved that "DFO" is Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans. But could the tag have been from a U.S. boat that had permission to fish in Canadian waters? I asked the good folks at the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation. And they confirmed that a Canadian tag could only be issued to a Canadian fishing boat. The farthest south that this lobster trap could have been set would have been shared waters off Machiasport (far Down-East Maine).

So this little white lobster trap tag really had traveled south along Maine's coast for some 200 (or more) miles, eventually coming ashore at Bay View Beach, Saco. And into my black garbage bag, where it now lives in my condo's basement.

Which is pretty flippin' cool.

But wait... All I've ever heard of currents is "Gulf Stream" -- the current that starts far down south and travels north up the eastern seaboard. So how did this tag travel south for some 200 miles?

If I wanted to know about what was winding up on my beach, maybe I should figure out how things floated in the ocean.

Here's a shocker: Turns out, the ocean is a complicated place.
More to follow.


  1. Harry -

    I put you up on Day 140 on The Daily Ocean. Keep in touch!! thanks for the great work you are doing on here..


  2. Thanks so much for the shoutout! I've gladly returned the favor with my latest post. And thx also for that quote by Margaret Mead. When you've picked up your thousandth cigarette butt, you wonder why. And then you remember.