Panel approves changes to Maine's lobstering license system

AP News
Posted: Feb 24, 2016 3:06 PM

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A panel of the Maine Legislature has signed off on a series of changes to the way the state hands out valuable lobster fishing licenses.

The bill would raise the age for young lobstermen to automatically get a license when they finish an apprenticeship. It would also change the way old licenses are retired.

The Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources unanimously approved the changes on Wednesday. The proposal will likely go before the full Legislature next month.

Some of the changes are aimed at speeding up the process of getting fishermen off a waiting list that's nearly 300 names long. The proposal has divided members of the industry.

The proposal comes as Maine is experiencing record catches. Maine lobsters were worth nearly $457 million at the docks in 2014.