Maine Permit Bank Opens
by Mike Crowe
After a year of negotiations the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) have initiated the first transactions of the Permit Bank Program as a going concern on July 21.
“The purpose,” said Togue Brawn of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, “is to buy as much access as possible with the money they have.” The program is not economic relief for those who want to get out of fishing by selling their permit. She said the program wants to get bids (to sell) permits that will bring the most access possible.
With the establishment of the catch shares system earlier this year further consolidation of the fleet and access rights has been expected. Small ports are being hit the hardest. NMFS, or NOAA Fisheries, as it currently prefers to be known, agreed that something needed to be done to mitigate the loss of access to the fishing grounds in Maine.