Habitat Closures an Overreach!
Eastern Maine Says Feds Beyond Their Rights
by Laurie Schreiber
BREWER – “Fishing matters here.”
That was the gist of comments about proposals to close large swaths of fishing areas in federal waters off eastern Maine.
The above comment was offered by Robin Alden, executive director of the Penobscot East Resource Center (PERC) in Stonington. PERC, she said, focuses on the coastal areas from Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border, an area with 50 fishing communities that are part of the two most fisheries-dependent counties on the East Coast, with 3,000 fishermen.
The proposals, to shut down some types of fishing in some federal waters, are part of the New England Fishery Management Council’s (NEFMC) Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2, which could be implemented in late 2015, or early 2016. The amendment is based on the premise that there are habitats, where fishing occurs, that allow for higher survival and/or growth rates of juvenile fish. According to NEFMC, protection of these habitats is expected to increase productivity of managed species with life stages that rely on those habitats. Proposed protection measures include various levels of restrictions on fishing that is mainly done by mobile bottom-tending gear.