|Recovered today, after a 150+ mile trip|
What was the mystery? A batch of lobster claw bands, all but one of them absolutely pristine. Soft, supple, full, unscuffed, unbitten. Including the far-traveling "Wild Canada" band.
|Only 1 of the 8 was old & battered (back right)|
The Canadian band has a cargo of young marine life stuck to its inside, proof that it had actually made the journey by sea. But it, with its friends, was so fresh. How'd it get here so fast?
Enter NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center and its Drifter Program. For nearly a decade, students at Maine universities have been working with NEFSC to release drifters into the Gulf of Maine (and elsewhere -- sometimes far afield), then tracking their motion. The data is delivered real-time, and is accessible to anyone with the Internet. As it turns out, just two weeks ago, a batch of drifters was released from Downeast Maine -- very near to where a Canadian lobster boat could have been fishing, actually. And those drifters are still afloat, and sending their data back. The image below came from the tracking page literally 15 minutes ago!
|("Saco Bay" and "Jonesport" notations are my own)|
I may never know precisely where this Canadian lobster band (and its freshly dropped friends) originated. But thanks to the awesome work of a lot of dedicated folks, I can tell you this: When the conditions are right, something dropped 150 or more miles away could wash up to your feet within just a couple weeks. And that's pretty cool to know.
It's a shame that there's litter in the ocean. But if it's there, it would be a worse shame not to try to learn something from it.