DMR Commissioner Hopeful After Meeting with Tribal Representatives - Issued April 3, 2013
Today, the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources met with members of the Passamaquoddy Tribal Council at the State House in Augusta to seek resolution to the license dispute between the Tribe and the State. The dispute stems from the Tribe issuing licenses far in excess of the number allowed in recently enacted LD 451.
“The tone of this meeting was positive and clearly showed that both sides are working to understand each other’s point of view and are committed to finding a resolution to this issue in the near future,” stated Keliher. “We have some more work to do to reach a clear understanding with the Tribe around the license cap and compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission compliance issues that Maine faces.”
Currently, under the management plan established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), Maine can only issue 744 licenses and 1242 pieces of gear. “Maine remains well under the gear limitations, however by issuing 575 licenses to tribal members, the Passamaquoddy puts the State out of compliance with the license limitation” stated Keliher.
“We’re obligated to enforce state law to remain compliant with the ASMFC plan and we will do so in a fair and just manner with anyone in violation of our laws,” he added. “With that being said, I remain hopeful that we will reach an agreement soon and I will continue to reach out to the tribe in an effort come to an understanding.”
The Commissioner explained that the public will have an opportunity to provide input into statewide management measures during an upcoming ASMFC public hearing on April 30 in the Augusta Armory from 1pm to 5pm. “The public hearing provides an opportunity for broad stakeholder input and participation where management measures, including the concept of quotas for this fishery as asserted by the Passamaquoddy, will be discussed.”
More information on the upcoming meeting can be found on the ASMFC website at http://www.asmfc.org/.