A final public hearing on the New England region's first ocean management plan is set for Thursday in Portland.
The Northeast Regional Ocean Plan was released in draft form a month ago, with public hearings in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maine.
The plan comes as a result of President Obama's 2010 executive order establishing a National Ocean Policy. It's the first time such a policy has been attempted.
"Many fishermen don't know that this plan exists," says Ben Martens, of the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association.
Martens says the Northeast plan comes at a time when groundfishing in the Gulf of Maine has troughed. He says he doesn't think that the groundfishing maps in the plan accurately represent the region's historical activity or future targets.
And he says, with the plan being many pages long, digesting it all has proven a Herculean task for most fishermen.