February 24, 2013

Letters to the editor: Lottery adds to fishermen's burden

What a good idea the state of Maine has come up with this time. Now the state has decided to make a lottery for the elver/eeling fishery ("Four licenses and 5,200 applicants for Maine elvers," Feb. 14). Which one will be next?

click image to enlarge

A fisherman holds a pair of elvers in his hand in an April 2012 file photo. Having to enter a drawing to get an elver license is unfair to commercial fishermen, whose livelihood depends on access to the different fisheries, a reader says.

2012 File Photo/Gabe Souza

I and others have been commercial fishermen all our lives. 

We have been paying taxes and buying commercial fishing licenses in Maine and putting up with the increases in fees every time they wanted more money and did not want to officially raise taxes.

Some of us pay thousands of dollars to obtain the many licenses needed to make a living in a year. Sometimes we can't afford all the licenses we need, so we have to make choices on the ones most valuable for us in a specific year -- never thinking we would then lose licenses forever if we skipped a year on just any one.  

This, because the state's Department of Marine Resources only lets you know of the loss after, not before, with this excuse: "When the fishery can handle it, you can then get back your license."

This has led to a lottery system instead and opens the fisheries to anyone, not just to fishermen who have fished all their lives. 

Fishermen depend on being able to fish from fishery to fishery to make fishing work and to make their livelihood and, therefore, to be able to pay their fees and taxes.

To be fair, then, why don't we make all state jobs a lottery system also? 

It cost $27 to get into the elver/eel lottery that gave you a chance to be a commercial fisherman. What would lottery tickets be worth for the governor's job and for the jobs of his Cabinet members? How about for other state jobs? 

We could hold a lottery once a year for all the state's jobs. This would more than likely do away with taxes, as money would roll in when the state jobs board was posted. 

What the jobs were paying could be run on the news channels to ensure lots of public participation.

Then maybe career commercial fishermen would be considered as having a real job, like state job holders are! 

Dale Witham


Writer in no position to urge candor from permit holders

Regarding the editorial "Our View: State should not seal concealed-carry records" (Feb. 20): I would think that the person who writes "your" editorials wouldn't mind signing his name to them.

Oh, and while he's at it, how about his address and phone number?

I mean, after all, if concealed-carry permit holders should have their feet held to the flame, why not the same for Press Herald editorial writers?

Apparently, the Press Herald misses the point. When the public is allowed to have access to this information, you risk burglaries at their home to get guns, along with everything else they can lug away. So let's be fair.

News media people are notorious for letting the cat out of the bag when it comes to releasing privileged information anonymously.

Don't preach the First Amendment to me, either, because if it weren't for the Second Amendment, there wouldn't be the First!

So if the Press Herald writer doesn't have the brass to sign his editorials, he should pack it up and leave.

Richard A. Aspinall Sr.


To support women and girls, reauthorize anti-violence law

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