Maine – Fishing surveillance bill amended

A bill that would authorize the Department of Marine Resources to conduct surreptitious electronic surveillance of lobster boats drew mixed reviews at a hearing by the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee in April. But at a work session last Wednesday, the committee voted to recommend passage of an amended version of the bill. Introduced by Rep. Walter Kumiega (D-Deer Isle) at the request of the Department of Marine Resources, LD 1379 — as initially formulated — would have given the DMR commissioner authority to approve installation of electronic tracking devices on lobster boats without first getting a warrant from a judge. The approval would have been based on an affidavit from the chief of the Marine Patrol that he had “probable cause” to believe that a civil violation of the laws regulating the placement or hauling of lobster gear had occurred. At its work session last week, the committee scrapped the idea of authorizing the commissioner to approve installation of tracking devices and took a new approach. click here to read the story 11:53