National Fisherman


AUGUSTA — A bill designed to protect Maine’s $340 million lobster industry by banning two pesticides that have been partially blamed for decimating lobster populations in New York and Connecticut is facing a headwind in the Legislature.
 
L.D. 1678 is sponsored by Rep. Walter Kumiega, D-Deer Isle. It would prohibit the use of methoprene and resmethrin, chemicals that were used during a massive mosquito spraying operation in 1999 to combat an outbreak of West Nile in areas along Long Island Sound.
 
Shortly thereafter, a severe die-off of lobsters wiped out the fishery there, although warming ocean temperatures and other factors are also believed to have played a role.
 
Rep. Michael Devin, D-Newcastle, told lawmakers on the Agriculture Conservation and Forestry Committee on Thursday that Maine should join Connecticut and ban the two chemicals, traces of which were found in dead lobsters studied in the sound.
 
“Whatever we apply in the terrestrial environment eventually makes its way to the coast and out to sea,” Devin said.
 
“The cigarette butt you saw this morning on the sidewalk will end up in the Kennebec River and then flow down to the ocean. Insecticides ... all end up in our ocean.”
 
The proposal, however, lacks the support of the LePage administration and the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, a trade group representing the industry. Patrice McCarron, the association’s executive director, told lawmakers Thursday that lobstermen are concerned about pesticides, but worry that banning methoprene and resmethrin could give a “false sense of security” while ignoring other chemicals that could be more harmful to lobsters.
 
Read the full story at the Morning Sentinel>>

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

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