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ROCKPORT, Maine - The Maine Lobstering Union has voted to spend $4 million to buy a lobster business in a move members hope will give fishermen a bigger share of profits.

The union voted Saturday to buy the wholesale side of the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound in Trenton. The Portland Press Herald reports that the pound includes a tank that can hold up to 180,000 pounds of lobster.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

It’s a dirty job, but digging for blood and sand worms along the Maine coast can pay well, particularly in areas of the state where it can be hard to make a living. Maine’s annual harvest of these popular bait worms, however, continues to decline, posing a quandary for marine biologists who cite climate change and predation as possible factors.

Wormers, as they’re called, would like to work with marine biologists to ensure a healthy and robust industry.

Central Maine Power’s customers will see some significant savings on their bills starting this summer, thanks to the end of expensive, long-term power contracts.

The contracts originated under a federal law that aimed to hedge against price surges seen in the 1970s energy crisis. Maine Public Utilities Commission spokesman Harry Lanphear says decades-long contracts Maine utilities signed with Maine-based biomass generators ultimately locked them into rates that were far above market rates.

Fishermen at Odds over Impact of Trump Executive Order

Feb 23, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine -Fishing groups are divided over whether President Donald Trump's "one in, two out'' approach to federal regulations will benefit their industry, harm it or affect it at all.
 
Trump issued an executive order in January that says when a public agency proposes a new regulation, it must also identify two regulations to be repealed. The order caused a flurry of debate, and a lawsuit from political opponents, over whether it's a wise idea or even possible.
 

PORTLAND, Maine - New numbers from the online short-term rental marketplace Airbnb show that about 174,000 people used the service in Maine 2016.  The company says that's a 100 percent increase from the year before. "Hosts," as they're called, in Maine, earned more than $26 million last year.

The majority of those rentals were in Portland, where about 51,000 people rented Airbnb's -- earning owners about $7 million.

The other top markets were Bar Harbor, South Portland, Ellsworth and Old Orchard Beach.

As President Donald Trump prepares to rewrite his controversial travel ban, a coalition of 500 business leaders and mayors is calling for meaningful immigration reform.

The group, New American Economy, has released an interactive map with state and congressional district-specific data about the economic contributions of immigrants. Supporters are hoping that it will bolster the argument for expanding immigrant worker visas.

DURHAM, N.H. - New Hampshire's maple syrup producers say they are feeling the impact of climate change, as winters become warmer and frigid nights so critical to their business become fewer.

Producers joined climate experts and Democratic U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire on Tuesday to talk about the state's changing climate and how it is affecting one of the state's most important industries.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine agency that holds the state's tourism account is picking up another high-profile client.
 
Nancy Marshall Communications has been named the agency of record for The Orvis Company, the fly-fishing retailer based in Vermont.
 

Scallops Scuffle Pitting Small Boats Against Big

Feb 20, 2017
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

PORTLAND, Maine - A disagreement over the right to fish for scallops off of New England is pitting small boats against big boats in one of the most lucrative fisheries in the U.S.
 
The federal government maintains different rules for the small- and big-boat fisheries, though they work some of the same areas. Small boat fishermen say the conflict has arisen in the northern Gulf of Maine, a fishing area stretching roughly from Boston to Canada.
 

Poland Spring is looking to expand.

A continuing surge in the sale of bottled water has the company looking for two new sources of spring water and making plans for a fourth bottling facility somewhere in western Maine or northeast of Bangor.

Last summer, Progressive stirred controversy by asking to raise auto insurance premiums for older Mainers based solely on their age. Legislation is before lawmakers to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Maine Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa proposed clarifying language to the current law.

“Prohibition on refusal to issue solely because an applicant ages is 65 or over, and a clarification that the prohibitions against discriminatory rating practice apply to new applicants as well as existing insured,” he says.

STACYVILLE, Maine — An Alabama company has bought a closed power plant in Maine.

The Press Herald reports that an Alabama-based company called 42 Railroad Ave LLC agreed to buy a biomass power plant in Stacyville from Niagara Worldwide for an unspecified amount. Sherman Development last operated the plant.

Steven Johnson, the company’s CEO, says he plans to rebuild the turbine in an attempt to produce more than 100 tons of activated carbon each day.

LL Bean Offers Employee Buyouts, Ends Contributions to Pension Plan

Feb 10, 2017
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

FREEPORT, Maine — L.L. Bean announced on Thursday that it would offer voluntary buyouts to eligible employees in 2018, discontinue contributions to the company’s pension plan and expand its parental leave benefit.

PORTLAND, Maine - Some Maine fishermen say a proposal to create a new lottery system to allow people into the state's big-money baby eel fishery is the best way to keep the industry sustainable.
 
Baby eels are a prized resource in Maine, where they are fished from rivers and streams and sold to Asian aquaculture companies. The baby eels, or elvers, can sell for more than $2,000 per pound.
 
The eels eventually get raised to adulthood and turned into food, such as sushi.
 

Tom Porter / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine - The head of the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, Chris Hall, is stepping down. 

Hall says in his 10 years of working at the chamber, including the past four as CEO, membership has remained stable, while advocacy has grown.   

"Evidence of that was our victory in 2015, when we stepped up to oppose that $15 an hour minimum wage, which was just too far, too fast," he says.

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