Tag Archives: Marine Resources Committee

Maine lawmakers endorse tougher penalties for lobstermen who cheat

A legislative committee voted unanimously Wednesday to toughen penalties on lobstermen who fish too many traps or use “sunken trawls” as part of an industry-supported effort to crack down on lawbreakers. “I do think this is going to get people’s attention and will hopefully make people realize that it doesn’t pay to cheat,” said Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. Lawmakers are considering a suite of requests from the Maine Department of Marine Resources for more enforcement tools and tougher sanctions against violators in an industry worth more than $500 million last year. A bill unanimously endorsed by the Marine Resources Committee, L.D. 575, would allow DMR’s commissioner to order longer license suspensions for lobstermen who violate the laws on the first offense and, in several cases, permanently revoke the licenses of repeat offenders. click here to read the story 19:49

In Maine’s last open lobster zone, a feud over limiting newcomers

895284_713858-20150905_mcdonald_1In most of Maine, adults who want to make their living trapping lobster must wait until a licensed lobsterman dies or forgets to file a license renewal. There is only one place in the state, in the waters of eastern Penobscot Bay off Stonington, Vinalhaven and Isle au Haut, where a resident who completes the necessary training and safety classes can get a license to lobster without waiting for at least a decade. But the lobstermen who oversee Maine’s last open lobster territory are now fighting over whether to cap the number of lobstermen who can fish those waters, effectively closing the last open door to the state’s largest commercial fishery. The debate is pitting islanders who worry that a cap would eliminate an incentive for adult children to return home against mainland fishermen who want to protect this lucrative industry from outside exploitation. After years of debate, the local lobster council has tried to put the issue to a vote twice before, but the meetings have fallen through, with members missing meetings or walking out moments before a closure vote could be held. Read the story here 09:33

Marine Resources Committee approves stripped-down version of lobster license changes

pat&govsmLawmakers on the committee that handles marine resources issues voted Wednesday to make modest changes in the rules that control lobster fishing licenses in Maine, side-stepping a more controversial proposal for access to Maine’s most lucrative fishery. Members of the Marine Resources Committee voted 11-1 to increase the age for young people to finish a required apprenticeship program, and to take steps to verify the validity of hundreds of names on a license waiting list. The action was a compromise between attempts by the Department of Marine Resources to trim the waiting list without hurting the resource and established lobstermen, who were opposed to what they saw as a loss of control and the potential for overfishing. Read the rest here 14:38

Maine Lobstermen divided on license proposals

lobster-license-bill-1067x800The legislature’s Marine Resources Committee heard six hours of testimony Feb. 10 on a bill proposing changes to the commercial lobster licensing system. Those offering testimony were split between support for and opposition to the bill, which will be taken up next in a work session of the committee. The language was drafted by Department of Marine Resources (DMR) staff, but the bill officially was sponsored by Rep. Walter Kumiega (D-Deer Isle). Sen. Brian Langley (R-Hancock County) was one of several cosponsors. Read the rest here 13:26

Maine Lobstermen pack Augusta hearing on controversial proposed licensing changes

Seth Morrissette works as a sternman on a lobster boat out of Friendship. He came to the podium at the Legislature’s Marine Resources committee, Wednesday, carrying his 3-year-old son, Levi, on his shoulders. His voice cracking, he told the lawmakers that his son would get his lobster license before he did. Morrissette was among a group who testified in support of a series of changes that would, in the words of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher, “strike a difficult balance” between 5,800 current license holders and the nearly 300 on a long and unpredictable waiting list. Read the article here 21:21

Lobster Advisory Council opposes limited lobster licenses

lobsterDM0811_468x521As a Feb. 10 hearing before the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee nears, Maine lobstermen continue to debate a bill that would tweak the system by which commercial lobster licenses are issued. The proposals included in the bill were first presented to industry members in a round of town hall-style meetings hosted by Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher during the summer and fall. The ideas have also been discussed in meetings of the state’s seven regional . Read the article here 08:54

Some lobstermen dislike proposal to ease long waits for Maine lobstering licenses

live-lobsterIt can take years for someone to move off a waiting list to become a commercial lobsterman in Maine, and for years fishermen have been trying to figure out a way to make the licensing process work while protecting the health of the lobster population. Now a bill that aims to accomplish both goals appears to be headed for a fight when it goes before the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee on Feb. 10. “People who live in struggling coastal communities care about this,” said Rep. Walter Kumiega, D-Deer Isle, sponsor of the bill and House chairman of the Marine Resources Committee. Read the rest here 10:19

Marine Resources Committee schedules hearing on elver legislation

american eelThe Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee has scheduled a public hearing on a bill introduced by Rep. Walter Kumiega (D-Deer Isle) that would give the Department of Marine Resources more flexibility in managing the elver fishery. The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13, in Room 206 of the Cross Building in Augusta. Kumiega has also offered a bill that, he said, would improve the state’s lobster licensing procedures and reduce the waiting time for fishermen trying to enter the fishery. Read the article here 09:55

With elver season at risk, Maine moves closer to deal with Indian tribes

The state and Maine’s Indian tribes are approaching a deal that would effectively allocate part of the lucrative elver fishery to the tribes, defusing tension that arose last year but creating separate regulations for tribal and non-tribal fishermen. Read [email protected]  09:50

Maine Lobster promotion fees debated at State House

The revenue would come from fees tied to licenses covering every sector of the lobster industry, including harvesters, dealers, processors and transporters. continued

Maine lobster bill a threat to Gloucester

The Maine legislature is considering a bill backed by Gov. Paul LePage that would eliminate the legal bar to allowing lobsters caught by accident in the nets of trawlers to be landed in Portland — a change that could induce the owner of the state’s largest fleet of groundfishing boats to abandon Gloucester’s port for the primary one in his home state. continued

Bill to remove St. Croix alewife barriers clears committee hurdle

AUGUSTA, Maine — Emergency legislation calling for removal of barriers that block sea-run alewives from full access to the St. Croix River watershed won unanimous endorsement Monday from the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee. continued

Don’t let this legislation get away: Open the St. Croix to alewives – Dennis Damon

Alewives are river herring that need to return from the ocean to their river to spawn. It is part of their natural life cycle. If this cycle is broken, they will die without producing the next generation of alewives. Without a next generation, an entire run of alewives will eventually cease to exist. To me, that’s the classic definition of genocide. continue