Legislation being drafted to make it easier for Maine Marine Patrol officers to secretly install tracking devices on fishing boats.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources is drafting legislation that would expand the authority of Marine Patrol officers to covertly install electronic surveillance devices on the boats of fishermen suspected of violating state fishing regulations. The proposal is similar to one that faltered in the Legislature two years ago and is a response to ongoing concerns that some lobstermen are fishing more traps than allowed or engaging in other tactics to skirt Maine’s strict fisheries laws. The proposal also coincides with high-profile turf wars or personal disputes between lobstermen last year that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost or damaged equipment. The language of the bill has not been released, and DMR officials declined to provide specifics until the legislation has been finalized, consistent with a LePage administration policy. But in a general outline, DMR spokesman Jeff Nichols said the proposal would ease restrictions on Marine Patrol officers when they want to install electronic tracking or surveillance equipment on boats as part of investigations. Read the story here 10:07