ELLSWORTH — The Legislature will take up bills dealing with the lobster and elver fisheries when it returns to work next month, but new licensing rules for the scallop industry will likely have to wait.
Last month, the Legislative Council approved two bills proposed by Rep. Walter Kumiega (D-Deer Isle) for consideration by the full Legislature when it returns to work in January. The council has to green-light any new bills that lawmakers want to introduce during the Legislature’s second session.
Kumiega, House chairman of the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee, will offer a bill that would, he said, “provide increased flexibility and promote maximum utilization of the elver quota by Maine’s elver harvesters,” if enacted.
Current law calls for a 48-hour fishing closure each week to provide an opportunity for juvenile eels to pass upstream on their seasonal journey from the sea to their spawning areas in Maine’s streams, lakes and ponds. The closed period is now set by statute and runs from Friday at noon to Sunday at noon. Kumiega’s bill would give DMR flexibility to set the 48-hour weekly closed period by rule prior to the start of the season based on the timing of the tidal cycle.
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