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News Feature

Augusta
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, January 16, 2014 and The Weekly Packet, January 16, 2014
Rep. Kumiega, coastal lawmakers introduce bill to protect lobster fishery

A bill introduced by Rep. Walter Kumiega, D-Deer Isle, would help keep Maine’s lobster fishery free from two harmful pollutants that have been blamed for massive lobster die-offs further south, according to a press release.

The measure, L.D. 1678, would prohibit the use of methoprene or resmethrin, two chemicals used for mosquito control, in any body of water that drains into the Gulf of Maine or on land where it might be possible for runoff to empty into the ocean.

“We need to prevent these two chemicals from doing the same kind of damage they have done to other lobster fisheries in New England,” said Kumiega. “Too many Mainers’ livelihoods depend on having a healthy lobster population not to act.”

Lobster landings in Connecticut plummeted from 3.7 million pounds in 1998 to 142,000 pounds in 2011. Both chemicals were found in the tissue of dead lobsters in Connecticut and are blamed for the demise of that state’s lobster fishery, as well as the fishery in Long Island.

According to the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, Maine is the nation’s largest lobster producer, bringing in over three quarters of the country’s catch. The total impact of Maine’s lobster industry on the state’s economy is estimated to be up to $1.7 billion.

For more information on the bill, go here.