Thursday March 17, 2011 | 08:29 AM

Maine fishermen will get a chance to “make their voices heard” about proposed federal bluefin tuna fishing regulations without having to travel out of state, said Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st..

Pingree says federal officials with the National Marine Fisheries Services have agreed to her request to schedule a hearing in Portland, and extend by 15 days the time interested parties have to comment on the proposed rules. The hearing likely will occur in mid-April, Pingree said.

Until now, the nearest hearing was being held in Massachusetts.
"The Obama administration is proposing rules that would impact Maine fishermen, but aren’t giving Maine fishermen a chance to weigh in on the rules without having to drive to Massachusetts for a hearing next week,” Pingree said in a statement. “Dropping everything and going to Gloucester with no more than a week’s notice just isn’t practical for many commercial fishermen.”

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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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