Should those passed over for commercial shellfish licenses get a leg up during the next season’s lottery? The Brunswick Town Council wants feedback on that proposal during its meeting Monday.

The council will be soliciting public comment regarding an ordinance change aiming to allow those who have applied for a commercial shellfish license and not been selected to have an advantage in the next lottery.

The amendment, proposed and supported by the town’s Marine Resources Committee and Marine Warden Dan Devereaux, allows for those who apply for a commercial shellfish license additional opportunity in the next lottery if they have previously applied and not been selected. The proposed advantage would be allowing their name to be added to the list as many times as they had previously applied.

There are 50 commercial harvesters in Brunswick, in addition to recreational license holders, according to the Marine Resources Committee, with more than 1,600 acres of intertidal shellfish growing areas along 61 miles of coastline.

The number of licenses allowed is determined by conducting shellfish inventory surveys every other year. Licensed harvesters must accumulate conservation hours annually to remain eligible to retain their license the following year, according to the committee.

The proposed changes allow for those who have continuously applied for the shellfish lottery to be given credit for up to five consecutive applications. This amendment would allow for those who have applied year after year to have additional opportunities in the lottery as their name will appear an additional time for every year they applied — but failed — to get a license.

In a memo to the council, Devereaux explained that if someone “applied in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and did not get a license in 2016 and 2017, his name would appear in the 2018 lottery three times.”

The committee thought those who have made multiple consecutive attempts for a license should be given additional opportunity over someone who applies for the first time, according Devereaux.

If a person fails to apply one year, no previous years’ applications will be considered and the next year they apply their name will be in the lottery only once.

Devereaux suggested the body take action on the measure at Monday’s meeting so the ordinance will be in effect prior to Jan. 15, 2018, when the next annual licensing process begins.

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