AUGUSTA — The state of Maine is going to give free noncommercial lobster fishing licenses to disabled veterans.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said Friday she has signed a bill that will provide the licenses, as well as noncommercial crab fishing and scalloping licenses, without charge. Democratic Rep. Allison Hepler of Woolwich, who proposed the law change, said the free licenses are “a small token of the state’s deep appreciation for all that our disabled service members have sacrificed.”

The law is scheduled to going into effect three months after the Maine Legislature adjourns. It also states that qualified veterans will be exempt from paying the scallop license surcharge that is usually assessed on a noncommercial scallop license.

Lobster harvesting was once limited to commercial fishing in Maine, but the state implemented a recreational license program in the 1990s. Hundreds of people participate in the program.

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