[Editor's Note: Representatives at Maine's Department of Marine Resources did not reply to Boats & Gear Editor Paul Molyneaux's request for comment before press time. The original story has been edited to reflect this response.]
The article about Henry Bear’s acquittal suggested that the charges were based on the amount Bear exceeded his quota, which was inaccurate.
Bear was charged with fishing after reaching his elver individual fishing quota. The charge had nothing to do with the amount by which he exceeded his quota, but its emphasis in the headline and the article only contributes to misunderstanding of the violation, and the department’s obligation to regulate and enforce the quota system.
The quota system, implemented in 2014, is designed to manage this valuable resource and to ensure that Maine does not exceed its overall quota allotted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Maine has been able to retain this fishery because of its ability to manage and enforce the quota system and because of the compliance of harvesters.
This fishery today is worth more than $20 million to Maine.
In addition, Bear’s assertion that this investigation was a “political hatchet job” is not just wrong, it’s an irresponsible, defamatory statement. The charges were filed based on evidence that indicated a violation of a law. Plain and simple.
The specific section of law, §6575-K, prohibits fishing after an individual fishing quota has been met.
The Department of Marine Resources and the Maine Marine Patrol enforce this and all marine resource laws impartially. The section of law at issue arose from the quota system authorized by the ASMFC and is intended to ensure that Maine and the harvesters to whom an individual fishing quota is assigned do not exceed the limits authorized in law.
Again, Maine’s overall quota, and the quotas assigned to individuals are designed to manage and sustain the resource, so this fishery can continue to provide economic benefit to all harvesters and to our state.
Maine Department of Marine Resources