Tuesday March 08, 2011 | 03:56 PM

Sen. Olympia Snowe says that “cumbersome” and “antiquated” federal policies are harming Maine’s fishery industry.

The Maine Republican made that accusation at a hearing today of the Senate commerce committee’s subcommittee on oceans, atmosphere, fisheries and Coast Guard. She is the top Republican on that panel, which was holding a hearing looking at how a federal fishery conservation and management law is being put into effect. 

Fishing industry revenue has increased from last year and there is cause for “cautious optimism,” Snowe said. But federal regulators aren’t treating fishermen fairly when it comes to stocking regulations, she charged.
 
The intent of the law is “to foster cooperation in rebuilding overfished stocks while retaining jobs,” Snowe said. But she said she remains “gravely concerned that fisheries management in New England is in a state of antagonism, mistrust, and dysfunction.”
 
She cited a Department of Commerce Inspector General report from a year ago and a recent CBS News report as showing that federal fishery regulation officials are “reckless and vindictive rather than the trusted, honest, and efficient public servants that the complex management of critical fisheries stocks requires.”     

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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