Unanimous Committee Vote on LD 1097

Today was potentially make-or-break day for LD 1097, a bill that would make it legal for groundfishermen to land lobster bycatch in Maine. In a unanimous vote today, the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources voted down the Bill, suggesting it will likely not pass full votes in the House and Senate. Two members of the Committee on Marine Resources were absent for today’s vote.

Proponents argue passage of the Bill would help Maine’s groundfishing fleet and bring Maine fishermen and their catch back to Maine. Currently it is legal to land bycatch lobster in Massachusetts, and many of Maine’s groundfisherman therefore land there catch in Gloucester. Opponents argue the Bill, if passed, would weaken the perceived sustainability of the Maine lobster fishery and would have a negative conservation impact.

The Bill is supported by Governor Paul LePage, Portland Mayor Michael Brennan and the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR). It is opposed by several prominent scientists and the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA), which posted on their Facebook page earlier today:

A big victory for the MLA! LD 1097 was just voted down by the Marine Resources Committee! The MLA says a big THANK YOU to all of our members who supported MLA’s effort to ensure that the groundfish draggers are not allowed to land lobster bycatch in Maine!

As a result of today’s action, it appears Maine will remain the only New England state that prohibits sales of lobster bycatch from federally regulated waters.

For more on the issue, see:

Lobster Bycatch Bill to be Discussed in Marine Resources Committee Today

Maine Department of Marine Resources Backs LD 1097

A Legislative Threat to Maine’s Reputation for Landing High Quality, Sustainably Harvested Lobster?

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About Ret Talbot

Ret Talbot is a freelance writer who covers fisheries at the intersection of science and sustainability. His work has appeared in publications such as National Geographic, Mongabay, Discover Magazine, Ocean Geographic and Coral Magazine. He lives on the coast of Maine with his wife, scientific illustrator Karen Talbot.
This entry was posted in Groundfishing, Legislation, Maine Fisheries, Northeast Fisheries and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Unanimous Committee Vote on LD 1097

  1. Pingback: Is It a “One Way Street” When it Comes to Incidentally-Caught Lobsters? | The Good Catch

  2. Pingback: Emergency Measure Attempting to Save Maine Groundfishing Fleet Gets Mixed Reviews | The Good Catch

  3. Pingback: Maine Senate Votes Down Another Lobster Bycatch Bill | The Good Catch

  4. Pingback: Latest Maine Lobster Bycatch Bill Dead in the Water | The Good Catch

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