BRUNSWICK

The Department of Marine Resources said Tuesday it has no plans to assist in the clean up of decaying pogie fish along five miles of Brunswick shoreline, pinning the financial responsibility solely on the town.

Department Communications Director Jeff Nichols said there is no plan to provide resources because the department has limited funds.

“We are sympathetic to the community and the distress this has caused, but given the limited resources, there is nothing available to support this effort,” Nichols said.

On June 6, several fishing vessels were harvesting east of Scragg Island. Nichols said he was told by marine patrol that one of the harvesters was unable to haul their entire catch aboard the boat. Nichols was not sure if the catch was too heavy, or if there was not enough room in the hold, but some of the catch — then dead — had to be released from the net.

About two weeks later, the dead fish washed ashore by the thousands and created a stench that’s plagued coastal residents.

Town Manager John Eldridge said Monday when he contacted Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher there was not much suggested to the town in terms of how to resolve the issue, apart from a manual cleanup effort, which did bring out volunteers to assist in cleaning up the shore.

Brunswick Marine Resource Officer Dan Devereaux said the incident was an accident, and the fisherman did not violate any laws because the fish were released outside of the intertidal area of Maquoit and Middle Bay, although he added the boat was not far from the line.

Nichols confirmed Tuesday no laws were violated.

Department of Marine Resources is not releasing the name of the harvester, or where the vessel is registered. According to Nichols, under state law, there is no statutory requirement for a harvester to have liability insurance, as was discussed at Monday’s town council meeting.

At the council meeting, Devereaux said although the incident was the result of a mistake, it should be determined whether the vessel operator has insurance that would cover the cost of a cleanup.

Devereaux was to have met with a Massachusetts-based company, Clean Harbors, on Tuesday to assess the damage. Devereaux said the company would do a land-based cleanup using a vacuum to clear the fish from the shoreline.

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