June 13, 2013

Fishermen denied in efforts to keep, sell lobster bycatch

Maine’s House and Senate both reject a bill, opposed by the lobstering industry, that involved federal waters.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
State House Bureau

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Commercial boats licensed in other states may keep lobster bycatch in Area 3.   

Supporters of the bill said the threat of hefty fines could prompt the state’s remaining groundfishing boats to leave for out-of-state ports. Odlin sounded the same warning for his remaining boats during the May 22 public hearing.   

Opponents countered that the bill would do little to save the industry but could further threaten a lobster fishery that remains the backbone of the state marine economy.   

Maine’s groundfish fleet comprised about 350 boats in the 1990s. It had about 70 boats in 2012. The catch has shrunk over that period, from 44.8 million pounds worth $33 million during the 1990s to 6.6 million pounds worth $6.2 million in 2009.   

Steve Mistler can be contacted at    620-7016 or at: smistler@pressherald.com   

Twitter: @stevemistler

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