So, you may have read in the pages of this here newspaper, or online at gloucestertimes.com, that the Maine Lobstermen's Association on Aug. 30 informed NOAA Fisheries that it was repealing its support of the current federal plan to afford more protections to the imperiled North Atlantic right whales because of what it considers faulty science, an unfair portrayal of the lobster industry's culpability and a rushed process.

When we reached out to NOAA Fisheries on Wednesday for comment on the seismic move by the nation's largest lobster industry membership, we were told to expect a statement from NOAA Fisheries on Thursday. Thursday came and went, no statement. Probably Friday, we were told.

We checked back on Friday. Maybe, we were told. But it really felt like probably not.

Sure enough, Friday slipped away and NOAA Fisheries remained silent, which is more than slightly out of character for the nation's primary regulator of the nation's fisheries. You don't always get much out of it in the way of comment, but the agency is usually pretty good about giving you something. And usually pretty promptly.

Alas, not this time.

We can only imagine what's going on behind the scenes as NOAA Fisheries tries to figure out how to handle the defection of the Maine Lobstermen's Association and the very real possibility it could cause a jailbreak among other industry groups that already are bristling at the new measures and possibly wavering in their support.

But more than a week of silence after the hammer dropped is not a good optic, as they say down there in the Beltway. Not good at all.

How is GMGI not hot on this case?

So, this is disappointing.

We here at FishOn have, on occasion, remarked upon our affection for mythic creatures. Big Foot. Sasquatch (not Gloucester's own, but the big smelly one). Unicorns. Mermaids. The Easter Bunny. Gronk. You name 'em, we like 'em.

We especially are a fan of the Loch Ness Monster because it's really hard to remain all mythical and mysterious when so many people are looking for you or think they've seen you. Ask Ghislaine Maxwell.

But according to a story last week in the Washington Post, there have been more than 1,000 registered Loch Ness Monster encounters/sightings stretching as far back as 565 A.D.

Quick aside: That was Tom Brady's rookie year and except for that wee slump in the Late Medieval Period, we'd have to say he's held up pretty well for such an old coot.

But now, according to said same story, researchers last Thursday announced they believe Nessie could be nothing more exotic than a honking big eel. Talk about a buzz kill.

The researchers tested 250 Loch Ness water samples for DNA. They didn't find any genetic material from prehistoric reptiles, sharks, catfish, sturgeons or Vince Wilfork — all of which have been speculated to be the mythical creature.

But they found gobs of eel DNA.

"The remaining theory we cannot refute based on the environmental DNA data obtained is that what people are seeing is a very large eel," the research team stated on its website.

As the Post story pointed out, not everyone was thrilled with the possible explanation.

Pish posh, said Steve Feltham, who actually is in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest continuous Loch Ness Monster hunter. Feltham said the findings hardly were a stop-the-presses moment.

"A 12-year-old boy could tell you there are eels in Loch Ness," Feltham told the BBC. "I caught eels in the loch when I was a 12-year-old boy."

But as we all know, there's always one that got away.

Nessie, we know you're out there. Talk to us.

What's a Wigglesworth? About $4 a pound

Got a hankering for science and the sea? Well, we may have an event for you.

John Wigglesworth, beyond having a great surname, is a science and math teacher at the Waring School in Beverly. Last year, he joined a team of scientists aboard the research vessel Sikuliaq, traveling above the Arctic Circle to study the biological and physical oceanography of the Beaufort Sea shelf and slope waters.

On Thursday night, Wigglesworth will discuss the relationship between science, the sea and humans in a presentation at Maritime Gloucester that will lay out the scientific goals of the cruise, his impressions of the evolving Arctic and the challenges of navigating the ice.

The soiree, which will include food and drink, is being organized by the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are $35. It is set to run 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Stellwagen Bank Exhibit and Gorton's Seafood Gallery at Maritime Gloucester on Harbor Loop. 

So, wear something warm and check it out.

Fish council a'coming

The New England Fishery Management Council is coming back to Gloucester for its September meeting and will set up shop at the Beauport Hotel Gloucester on Commercial Street for three-plus days of rollicking good fun.

The meetings are set to convene Sept. 23 at 1:30 p.m. and run until late in the afternoon of Sept. 26.

We'll be writing more about the agenda and the issues of the greatest interest to Gloucester as the meetings approach, so keep an orb peeled for that in the pages of the Gloucester Daily Times and online at gloucestertimes.com.

Observant? NOAA Fisheries wants you

NOAA Fisheries is accepting applications for those companies interested in providing sector at-sea monitoring services for the Northeast groundfish fleet for the 2020 fishing season. Applications are due Oct. 1 and companies already approved to provide at-sea monitoring services in 2019 and 2020 need not apply again.

Check out the NOAA Fisheries website for details or call Maria Vasta of the sustainable fisheries division at 978-281-9196.

As always, no fish were harmed in the making of this column.

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT

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