Fishermen's Forum in Maine discusses industry challenges

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March 1, 2013, 7:53 pm
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(NECN: Marnie MacLean) - Hundreds of New England fishermen, scientists and government regulators are in Rockport, Maine for the annual Fishermen's Forum.

The forum is an opportunity for all stakeholders to come together to talk about challenges facing the industry and discuss possible solutions.

One of the topics being discussed is the severe restrictions being placed on the cod harvest, a seventy percent reduction. Ground fishermen say allocations are so limited it just doesn't make sense for many of them to bother to go out and fish any longer.

"That's one of the real tragedies here, that the community is coming apart due to the fact this stuff is being shut down," Mass. fisherman Tim Barrett says.

One potential piece of good news for fishermen to come out of the forum is that the government announced plans to pay for at sea monitoring which is a $6.7 million cost that was going to fall to the fleet.

However, that could change if automatic federal spending cuts go into effect.

Maine's lobster industry facing its own set of challenges. Last year fishermen caught plenty of lobsters but it created a glut on the market and prices crashed.

Lobstermen say they have to do a better job at handling their product. Less die-off would mean a better price. There is also some support for a bill that would dramatically increase license fees, but put the money towards marketing efforts. Right now, Maine spends less than $400,000 a year to market its signature product. The new measure would increase that figure to several million dollars over time.

Tags: maine, Marnie MacLean, Rockport, fishing industry, government regulations, federal spending cuts, Fishermens Forum
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