AUGUSTA — Lawmakers on the committee that handles marine resources issues voted Wednesday to make modest changes in the rules that control lobster fishing licenses in Maine, side-stepping a more controversial proposal for access to Maine’s most lucrative fishery.
Members of the Marine Resources Committee voted 11-1 to increase the age for young people to finish a required apprenticeship program, and to take steps to verify the validity of hundreds of names on a license waiting list. The action was a compromise between attempts by the Department of Marine Resources to trim the waiting list without hurting the resource and resistance from established lobstermen, who were opposed to what they saw as a loss of control and the potential for overfishing.
“It’s not a giant change,” said Patrick Keliher, the marine resources commissioner, “but it will redefine the list and make it smaller.”
A spokesman for many fishermen, however, said he would have been happier if nothing was changed.
“It could have been worse,” said David Cousins, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.
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