Lobster Trawl Limits and
Notice of Agency Rule-Making Proposal
Three Public Hearings
Chapter 25.04 Lobster Trawl Limits
• 25.93 Management Framework for Limiting Lobster Fishing Effort on a Local or Regional Basis - Operational Rules
• 25.96 Lobster Apprentice Program
BRIEF SUMMARY: This proposed rule-making addresses 1) expanding the Hancock County Trawl Limit area in Zone B, 2) amending the exit ratio for Zone B, 3) creating an exit ratio for Zone C, 4) amending the exit ratio for Zone E, 4) creating a separate waiting list for existing lobster license holders wishing to change their declared lobster zone (a “transfer” list) and 5) making minor clarifications for consistency with recent legislative changes.
This proposed rule-making proposes to expand the Hancock Country Trawl Limit area in Zone B. In this area it is unlawful to have more than 3 lobster traps on any trawl. One of the lobster zone council authorities is to propose the number of lobster traps allowed on a trawl. The Zone B Council is proposing to extend the western boundary of the Hancock County Trawl Limit line to the 6-mile line.
This proposed rule-making proposes to change the Zone B 5:1 exit ratio using the currency of lobster licenses not renewed to a 3:1 exit ratio using the currency of lobster license not renewed. At the Lobster Zone B Council meeting on September 21, 2016, there was a unanimous vote by the Zone B Council to advance this to rule-making.
This proposed rule-making also proposes to establish Zone C as a limited entry zone with an exit ratio of 1:1 using the currency of lobster licenses not renewed. At the Lobster Zone C Council meeting on September 8, 2016, there was a majority vote by the Zone C Council to advance to rule-making.
This proposed rule-making would also propose to change the Zone E 5:1 exit ratio currency from the number of trap tags associated with licenses not renewed to the number of licenses not renewed. At the Lobster Zone E Council meeting on February 29, 2016, there was a majority vote by the Zone E Council to advance this to rule-making.
For consistency with changes in statute, this proposed rule-making would also require that limited entry zones that opt to use trap tags retired in their exit ratio calculation, use the historic high of trap tags purchased, up to the current zone limit.
This proposed rule-making would also address the lobster waiting lists, which currently consists of both apprentices who do not have a lobster license, as well as individuals that do hold a lobster license, but are requesting to switch to a different lobster zone. The Legislature recently passed a law directing the Department of Marine Resources to remove those individuals who already hold a lobster license from the existing waiting list, and create a separate “transfer” waiting list, as authorized by 12 MRS §6448 . This rule-making proposes to create a single “transfer” list and make transfers “one for one” with no net increase from transfers in any zone. The Department of Marine Resources would authorize any such “swaps” until there were no matches remaining.
Finally, this proposed rule-making provides a clarification that if an individual completes the apprentice program in multiple zones, individuals would still be required to document at least the minimum of 1,000 fishing hours that is accumulated over a minimum of 200 calendar days in each desired zone. However, the minimum of the 24-month requirement is met 24 months from the date the individual logs their first day in the apprenticeship program.
Date, time and location of Public Hearing:
Monday, January 30, 2017, 6:00 PM, Ellsworth High School Cafeteria
Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 6:00 PM, Wiscasset Elementary School Cafeteria
Thursday, February 2, 2017, 6:00 PM, Portland City Hall, State of Maine Room
Comment Deadline: February 13, 2017
Contact Person for this filing:
NAME: Sarah Cotnoir (207-624-6596)
AGENCY: Department of Marine Resources
ADDRESS: 21 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0021
TELEPHONE: (207) 624-6596
FAX: (207) 624-6024
TTY: (207) 633-9500 (Deaf/Hard of Hearing)