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DMR Home > Governor Signs Lobster Bills

Governor Signs Two Bills to Support Lobster Industry

Swans Island Lobstermen

Governor LePage joins a group of Swans Island lobstermen and residents after recently signing a bill to allow
an increase in the number of traps for island lobstermen.

Two bills signed by Governor Paul R. LePage in the past week will help the Maine lobster industry take advantage of the recent historic abundance in the fishery.

The Governor last week signed into law LD 486, which will ultimately provide an annual budget of over $2 million to conduct a global marketing campaign for Maine lobsters.

On Monday of this week, the Governor also signed LD 1020, which will allow Swans Island lobstermen to increase the number of traps they can fish.

“Both of these bills go a long way toward ensuring that hard-working Maine lobstermen and the communities they support can benefit from this abundant fishery,” said Governor LePage.

The marketing bill is the culmination of many industry meetings and conversations aimed at developing strategies to increase the value of Maine lobster across all segments of the industry. It creates a new marketing entity called the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, which will be formed in September 2013.

Through surcharges on harvester, dealer and processor licenses, the marketing bill is designed to fund an aggressive marketing program that will highlight lobster’s many unique attributes, including sustainability of the harvest.

In March, the Governor announced that the Maine lobster fishery had received the prestigious international Marine Stewardship Council’s Sustainable Seafood Certification at the International Boston Seafood Show. MSC certification recognizes ecologically sound practices, from the harvest through delivery to consumer.

“The lobster resource here in Maine is the strongest it has ever been thanks conservation measures that have been developed and support by industry,” said Patrick Keliher, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources. “This tremendous supply has posed a challenge and an opportunity to create new markets, both here in the U.S. and overseas.”

The bill for lobstermen fishing in the Swans Island Lobster Conservation Area will extend the limit the number of traps they can have from 475 to 550. “Living and working on an island poses some unique challenges,” said Governor LePage. “With this moderate increase in the number of traps available for Swan’s Island fishermen, there is a good balance between continued conservation and increased economic opportunity that will make this year-round community more prosperous.”