Maine Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher says research is crucial to the future of the lobster fishery, and he says lobstermen are relieved Gov. Paul LePage now wants to fund that research with state surplus funds instead of fee increases.
“The money we have asked for will allow us to do some really critical research on lobster,” Keliher says. “We’re riding high right now — we set another new landing record of almost 131 million pounds, but we all know there is a decline coming.”
The lobster industry generates sales of about a $1.5 billion a year. The research would cost about $660,000 a year.
Under the earlier fee proposal, lobstermen with two crew members would have paid about $114 more a year for a license. That would have raised the cost of a license to more than 1,000 for the first time.