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July 5, 2013

Sonar cable plans to disrupt lobstermen

Fixed gear fishermen and lobstermen from just north of Boston to Seabrook, N.H. will have to make way for a short time as a global technical company conducts a Sonar survey using a 110-foot vessel, Sea Lion V.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries, Tetra Tech, a global technical engineer firm based in California, plans to use Sea Lion V to transport sonar equipment to locate a potential path for a cable. The company employs 14,000 people and saw $2.7 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2012, according to its website.

Throughout July and August, the company plans to use the Sonar equipment from Revere Beach to the Seabrook, N.H. area circling around Cape Ann.

There will be four zones and the sonar equipment will spend 7 to 10 days in each zone.

But, July and August are the worst times to be interfering with lobstermen, according to Bill Adler, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen Association. “(The equipment) is smack dab right in the middle of lobster buoy heaven,” he said.

Adler said lobstermen received little notice about the plans, he was only notified through Gloucester harbormaster James Caulkett. If the plans came outside of July and August, they would not have been a problem, Adler said.

”They should have come to us months ago and suggested they need to do this,” Adler said. “This is the worst possible time to go riding through the maze of lobster gear.”

The state Division of Marine Fisheries has set up a public meeting to get the conversation started on how Tetra Tech plans will also affect fixed-gear fisherman – those long-range boats that put their gear in place for a catch, and then retrieve it later. Tetra Tech representatives and the developer, New Hampshire Transmission, will be at Gloucester High School on July 9 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the project.

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