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DMR Home > Eels > Elver Update

Update on Passamaquoddy Elver Issue - Issued April 1, 2013

Today, in an effort to reach out to the tribe, Governor Paul R. LePage spoke by phone with Passamaquoddy Chief Clayton Cleaves to seek resolution. Unfortunately, the call did not result in an agreement by the Tribe to abide by state law.

Pursuant to recently enacted LD 451, the Passamaquoddy tribe is authorized by the legislature to issue 200 elver harvesting licenses. On Friday, March 29, the tribe had issued a total of 575 licenses.

Despite ongoing attempts to communicate these statutory requirements and potential law enforcement actions, the Passamaquoddy tribe has chosen to ignore the law and issue licenses that are invalid.

As a result, the Marine Patrol will continue, with the support of the Governor, Department of Marine Resources Commissioner, Patrick Keliher, and additional law enforcement agencies as necessary, to ensure appropriate response designed to protect the resource as well as public safety.

Last night, the Maine Marine Patrol, along with Commissioner Patrick Keliher encountered Passamaquoddy tribal members in Pembroke fishing without valid licenses and took appropriate action by confiscating gear that may result in issuance of summonses.

Meanwhile, additional enforcement authority over the elver fishery moved closer to passage today when the Marine Resources Committee voted that LD 632 ought to pass as amended, subject to language review. The amended language included several provisions to improve enforceability of elver laws.

Despite the recent increased attention on the Passamaquoddy Tribe, these amendments address the fishery as a whole.