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Maine Delaying Plan to Track Sea Urchin Fishery With Cards

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's plan to track its sea urchin fishery with swipe cards will be delayed until fall 2016.

A spokesman for the state Department of Marine Resources says the swipe cards have software issues and more testing is needed to resolve them before the state implements the system.

Maine sea urchins are harvested for their roe, which is especially popular in Japan. The swipe card system is similar to a program the state unveiled for its baby eel fishery last year. State regulators say the new cards will allow the state to collect information about volume and price of urchin sales in real time.

Maine and California have the country's most valuable sea urchin fisheries. Maine's urchin fishery was valued at nearly $5.4 million in 2014.