Tribal elver quota exemption bid nixed

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A last-minute bid by the Passamaquoddy Tribe to avoid a requirement to impose individual catch quotas on its licensed elver fishermen has come up short.
 
Rep. Madonna Soctomah, the tribe’s representative in the Legislature, proposed an emergency bill that would have allowed legislators to consider whether the tribe should adhere to one tribal catch quota for elvers instead of setting individual quotas for each of its members.
 
The Legislative Council, 10 legislative leaders who decide which proposed bills can move forward for consideration during the shorter second session, on Thursday rejected Soctomah’s proposal, according to council staff. The rejection means that the Passamaquoddys and Maine’s three other federally recognized Indian groups will have to assign individual quotas to their licensed members if they want to receive required electronic transaction cards from the state.
 
Newell Lewey, a Passamaquoddy tribal council member at Pleasant Point, said Thursday evening that the vote in Augusta was not a surprise. What avenue the tribe might pursue next is the “1,600 pound question,” he said, referring to the tribe’s expected overall quota for this year.
 
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