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Maine Senators Join Fight to Ease Sea Urchin Shipping Burden

LUBEC, Maine - Maine's U.S. senators are on board with a plan to make it easier for seafood dealers to export sea urchins and sea cucumbers outside of the United States.

The senators say unnecessary inspections result in the highly perishable seafood products to be held in warehouses for long periods of time, increasing the likelihood that they will go bad.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Independent Sen. Angus King say their proposal would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from burdening the industry with inspections that they say are repetitive.

Democratic Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin are behind a similar effort in the U.S. House of Representatives. They say Maine's sea urchin harvesting industry employs some 650 people and needs to be protected with smarter regulations.