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February 9, 2018

Fisheries commission to require Maine lobstermen to file catch reports

Photo / James McCarthy
Photo / James McCarthy
A lobster boat heads out to sea from the harbor on Swan's Island. In a controversial decision, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has decided to require all Maine lobster fishermen to file catch reports, starting in the next five years.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has decided to require all Maine lobster fishermen to file catch reports, starting in the next five years.

Currently, 10% of Maine lobstermen file the reports each year, the Bangor Daily News reported. At hearings on the proposal, Maine fishermen opposed the plan. But ASMFC members said Maine's data is insufficient. With 7,000 lobstermen, Maine produces more than 80% of the lobster harvest. The reports contain data that help regulators estimate the lobster resource, gear use and interactions with other marine activities.

Maine's Department of Marine Resources opposed the plan, saying it would require hiring more staffers and raising an additional $500,000 in industry fees to cover the expense of processing thousands of daily reports. The Maine Lobstermen's Association also opposed the plan.

Patrice McCarron, the association's executive director, told the BDN that catch data generated by the 10% of Maine lobstermen who are randomly selected each year has been shown to be statistically valid to reflect broader trends within Maine's statewide lobster fishery.

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