Maine lawmakers urge help for fishermen

Lawmakers from Maine and two other states are urging federal regulators to “exercise all authority under the law” to help the New England groundfishing fleet weather severe catch limits that many fear could decimate the industry.

In a letter sent Thursday, 13 members of Congress from Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire asked acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank to help owners cover the costs of having catch monitors on vessels as mandated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. All four members of Maine’s delegation — Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King and Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud — signed the letter.

“NOAA Fisheries must seriously consider the impact of further burdening our fishermen with at-sea monitoring costs and dedicate the resources necessary to continue to cover these costs,” the members wrote. “Even without the drastic reductions in catch limits, our fishermen cannot feasibly afford their expected share of at-sea monitors.”

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