Monday April 25, 2011 | 03:27 PM

Sen. Olympia Snowe says federal regulators need to be fair to Maine fishermen in setting the 2011 tuna quota levels.

The Maine Republican plans to speak at a federal hearing tonight in Portland, at the Holiday Inn By the Bay, to express her concern that the National Marine Fisheries Service’s planned quota for the upcoming fishing season is “overly cautious.”
Snowe’s office says that under a new rule proposed by the federal fisheries regulators, the 2011 total U.S. quota for tuna would be 948.7 metric tons, a nearly 3 percent reduction from the 2010 quota. But practically speaking, the haul would be further limited – to less than 859 metric tons - by increases in the “dead discard” and “under harvest” estimates, her office said.
Snowe said in a statement today that, “Based on recent assessments indicating the population of bluefin tuna in the western Atlantic is on the rise, NMFS should redouble its efforts to protect US fishermen from inequitable quotas and increase allocations for New England fishermen through the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.”
Snowe is the top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on oceans, atmosphere, fisheries and the Coast Guard.

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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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