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Senator Collins Delivers Remarks at Maine Fishermen’s Forum

Senator Collins provided a behind-the-scenes account of the negotiations of the lobster provision in the government funding bill, which just made it on the last page of the 4,155 page bill.

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Rockport, ME – U.S. Senator Susan Collins attended the Maine Fishermen’s Forum Fish Dinner and Auction at the Samoset Resort in Rockport last night and spoke with fishermen and commercial stakeholders about Maine’s lobster and fishing industry.  Senator Collins also delivered remarks and provided a behind-the-scenes account of how the Maine Delegation secured a six-year regulatory reprieve from NOAA regulations that would have devastated Maine’s lobster fishery.


“It is a pleasure to join in this celebration of Maine’s great fishing heritage.  It is wonderful to get back together again with the hard-working men and women who are the ultimate entrepreneurs and conservationists,” said Senator Collins.  “I want to take this opportunity to give you an inside look at how we managed to block additional unfair and unwarranted regulations that would have devastated the lobster fishery and the related businesses.”


Senator Collins described in detail how the Maine Delegation, Governor Mills, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, the Maine Lobstering Union, and several State lawmakers worked together to prevent NOAA’s disastrous rules from going into effect.  Their efforts culminated in a very early morning phone call the day that the text of the government funding bill was released.


“Here's how close we came to the legislative deadline.  In the entire Senate funding bill of 4,155 pages, our lobster provisions end on the very last page, page 4,155,” Senator Collins continued.  “These provisions aren’t in the section funding the Department of Commerce.  Or NOAA.  Or NMFS.  The language blocking implementation was the very last issue resolved and included in the bill.”


“Our lobster fishery is one of the best managed, most sustainable fisheries in the world. Our lobstermen and women have always exhibited great concern for the health of our oceans and for the health of the lobster population. They have been innovators in conservation measures, and I am proud to stand with them,” Senator Collins concluded.  “This Congress, I serve as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  In this position, I will continue to advocate for Maine lobstermen and women who have been burdened by unfair regulations.”


The Maine Fishermen’s Forum is an annual three-day event that hosts fishermen, gear suppliers, scientists, government officials, and other stakeholders to collaborate on all things fishing: markets, resource status, regulations, the latest in technology, the environment, and more.  Each year, the Forum provides free seminars for fishermen covering a wide range of topics such as the health of the lobster resource, commercial fishing safety, and upcoming regulatory actions.