New England lobstermen are participating in a Gulf of Maine-wide study of surface drift patterns during the summer of 2004. They will be deploying a set surface drifters (Figure 1) on a monthly basis along the four transects denoted below (Figure 2).
Mariners that happen to sight these units are ask to report the drifters ID# and location via an automated tollfree system (1-888-284-4904). Entering "5" on the first phone prompt will bring you to instructions on keypad entry of information. The pertinent information to be entered is the drifters five-digit ID# and the location. Users have a choice to enter the fix in either loran or latitude/longitude. We encourage mariners to test the system prior to the first deployments in June 2004 and provide comments to the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation Office at 207-985-8088.
If the units are found anywhere ashore or appear to be exiting the Gulf of Maine (off the backside of Cape Cod, for example), we ask that you recover the unit, take it home, and call the GoMLF#.
Tracks of all 70+ drifters will be posted on the Environmental Monitors on Lobster Traps project website at www.emolt.org. At least one of four units on each transect will be fitted with GPS satellite tracking devices which will provide hourly fixes. Special effort will be made to recover these units if and when they drift along the backside of Cape Cod. Individuals fishing in that area this summer are asked to call 508-495-2211 for instructions how to monitor paths of these particular units on the web site.
Funding for this project is from NOAA's Northeast Consortium.
Figure 1. Drifters consist of a 5'-long section of
Figure 2. Drop locations planned 1 June, 1 July, 1 August, and
which support a set of fiberglass rods which support a set of
subsurface cloth sails. It is configured to minimize wind resistance
All items above the water line (the top 2' of PVC, a small flag,
and a set of net-buoys for flotation) will be labeled with a 5-digit ID#.