Maine fishermen will be able to give feedback on proposed regulations on bluefin tuna fishing
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said this afternoon that federal officials have agreed to her request to schedule a hearing in Portland and extend the comment period on the proposed rules by an additional 15 days.
"I'm glad NOAA is giving Maine fishermen a chance to make their voices heard. They play by the rules and depend upon this valuable fishery, and it's important that they weigh in on any proposed rules," Pingree said this afternoon.
Federal officials said they will hold a hearing in Portland, probably in mid-April, to allow fishermen to comment on the proposed rules.
Earlier this week, Pingree called Eric Schwaab, head of the National Marine Fisheries Service and urged him to schedule a hearing on the proposed rules in Maine and extend the comment period. Four hearings on the proposal have been scheduled up and down the East Coast, but the only New England hearing is next week in Massachusetts.
Last year Pingree criticized the Obama Administration for considering an endangered species listing for bluefin tuna. "I'm concerned that the Administration isn't in touch with what is actually happening in Maine," she said. "For decades Maine tuna fishermen have acted responsibly, they've conducted research at their own expense and done everything they can to make sure that tuna aren't over fished. Now I'm concerned that they will be subjected to unnecessary regulations that could put them out of business."