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Business and Economy

Proposal Would Change Maine Lobster Licensing

By Patrick Whittle, The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s lobstermen are debating a proposed law designed to streamline the process of obtaining a coveted lobster fishing license.

Lobsters are the cornerstone of Maine’s marine economy, and the state is in the midst of a multiyear boom in catch. There is also a backlog of nearly 300 people on the waiting list for a license. Some of the fishermen have been on the list for more than a decade.

Rep. Walter Kumiega, a Deer Isle Democrat, has proposed changes to the system. Fellow Rep. Robert Alley is also a Democrat and a Beals lobsterman. He says changes will prevent lobstermen from being sidelined for years.

David Cousens is the president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. He says changes risk overexploiting lobsters.

A public hearing is set for Feb. 10.