Maine’s top marine official is opposed to proposed federal regulations that would require all commercial lobster harvesters in Maine to file landing reports.
Maine currently selects at random 10 percent of the state’s lobstermen for reporting. Maine Department of Marine Resources spokesman Jeff Nichols says DMR Commissioner Patrick Kelliher believes 10 percent is sufficient, but that it’s possible to improve the data by eliminating a couple of classes of license holders who currently can be chosen to submit data.
One is so-called latent license holders, people who have a license but who aren’t fishing.
“If we can develop a mechanism to eliminate those people and also eliminate recreational harvesters who fish far fewer traps than commercial harvesters, that’s a big step in the right direction,” Nichols says. “By taking those folks out of the equation we’re only going to be capturing commercial harvesters who are actually actively fishing, and so that’s the kind of data that you want to inform management.”
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says the expanded information will help with lobster estimates and conservation efforts.
Public comments are being accepted until 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22.