Is The Maine Lobstah In Hot Water?

These Articles came out in today’s “The Daily”.

Lobster catches fall in 2007
The amount of lobster caught in Maine in 2007 dropped nearly 23% from the previous year.

Preliminary numbers released yesterday by the state’s Department of Marine Resources show that Maine lobstermen landed 56 million pounds of lobster last year, with a total value of $248.5 million, the Bangor Daily News reported. That’s a decrease of 16.6 million pounds, nearly 23%, from 2006, when the amount of lobster totaled 72 million pounds and was worth nearly $300 million.

State officials say such fluctuations in the lobster industry are considered normal, and noted last fall that catches seemed to be lower than the previous year. The department will continue to receive more data on 2007 transactions in the next few months and determine final totals, the paper reported.

Snowe pans lobster gear changes
Sen. Olympia Snowe yesterday criticized a new federal rule that will require lobstermen to buy more expensive gear to help protect whales.

Snowe yesterday presided over a U.S. Senate subcommittee field hearing in Brewer on the requirement. About 160 people at the hearing, mostly fishermen, said the National Marine Fisheries Service didn’t have enough data to support the new requirements and that replacing floating lines with sinking lines would be too expensive, according to the Ellsworth American. “It’s no exaggeration that this could put many lobstermen out of business,” Snowe said, according to the paper.

Snowe said the NMFS should push back the October compliance deadline and conduct more research, but George Lapointe, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, said there are no plans to push back the deadline, the paper reported.