AUBURN — Ask a person not from here to say the first word that comes to mind when they think of Maine, and you’ll often hear “lobster” or “seafood.”

Maine has many amazing natural resources and vacation activities, but it appears our greatest claim to fame outside our own border is the industries that come from our vast seacoast regions.

Sadly, some of those people who reside outside of Maine, specifically those who spend too much time in Washington, are doing a whole lot to damage the very industry they know us for.

During my “Maine Streets of America” tour over the past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with dozens of business owners and employees from varying industries throughout the 2nd District.

Regardless of the industry — forestry, retail, manufacturing, production, fishing, etc. — government over-involvement seems to be the biggest hindrance to profitability and success. With the fishing and lobster industries, it’s over-regulation and the need for regulatory and legislative consistency.

Let’s take regulatory and legislative consistency first. What happens first is that the federal government comes in and makes some rules.

Fishermen and lobstermen go spend money to alter or buy new equipment and resources to adapt to the new rules on boats, sink lines and trap requirements, etc.

Then, after all the capital has been spent to follow new federal regulation, the feds come back a couple of years later and arbitrarily change the rules.

So, the fishermen and lobstermen have to start anew with more money spent to alter or purchase different equipment to abide by changes. This is eating away at their profits and harming the entire industry.

This would be like if you decide to build a new deck on your home. You get the permits, follow the rules on height and setback restrictions your community has in place, and build the deck.

A year later, the town changes its rules and tells you that you now have to cut off a chunk of your deck or build a new one.

Now, most communities and local governments understand that is an undue, unfair and unaffordable way to do things; they have “grandfather” laws so that new rules only apply to new decks. Why can’t the federal government catch on to that philosophy? Why doesn’t the federal government care enough about the people it is affecting to take these things into consideration?

In addition to the inconsistency of regulation is the over-regulation itself. For instance, the government has cut trap limits from 1,200 to 800, giving lobstermen a finite amount of earning ability.

Is there a lobster shortage no one knows about? Or is this manipulating the market? Or worse, simply catering to the voice of one special interest over the interest of the people within the industry itself?

Lobstering was once a profitable part of our heritage, but it is now being hindered by the government’s undue over-involvement.

If this continues, we will over-regulate this industry of which we are so proud completely out of existence. And once it is gone, what will happen to our vibrant working coast?

Will it disappear forever, replaced with seasonal oceanfront homes?

Over-regulation is strangling our industries of the seacoast regions, but it is also destroying business across our great state. It is time we got government out of the way of good business.

We talk a lot about getting Maine manufacturing and agriculture going again in Maine.

But what is the federal government doing to make the climate right here in Maine and our nation for businesses and individuals to succeed and take care of their and their employees’ families? If businesses have the ability to succeed in Maine, they will do so.

Let’s modernize government over-regulation so they will succeed. Profitability and sustainability are what companies need to exist here; I believe this is possible with a new, bold way of thinking.

The last I knew, lobsters were made in Maine — and “Made in Maine” used to mean something. Let’s work together to make sure it does again.