Governor Paul LePage attended the 27th annual Maine Fisherman's Forum Friday in Rockport where he addressed more than three hundred fishermen, clammers, lobstermen, and aquaculturists and others from Maine's Marine Resource Industry. This event is the largest of its kind in New England. The forum allows participants to meet with fisheries managers, Legislators, and members of Maine's Congressional Delegation.
Governor LePage highlighted the important role that the fishing industry has as part of Maine's economic engine. "Maine's fishing industry is an important part of our heritage. Our coastal communities rely on this important industry for economic security," said Governor LePage.
The Governor also talked about how sustainability and the fishing community will play a role in keeping Maine's fishing industry thriving. "It is crucial that the people of Maine know they can rely on this industry for employment, providing them with good jobs so they can raise their families. The fishing industry is more than a job to Maine families; it is a way of life," added the Governor.
Several promising steps taken by the administration to improve Maine's fishing industry were underscored at the annual conference. This past year marks the first time in history that Maine has recorded lobster landings of over 100 million pounds. The Department of Marine Resources has also opened more than 2,000 acres of prime shellfish flats.
Despite several successes, Governor LePage also noted that Maine's fishermen still feel the adverse effects of rising fuel and bait costs. The Governor called on Maine's fishing industry to get involved and be part of the discussion when addressing these tough issues. "Although our fishing industry is showing signs of growth -- high fuel and bait costs continue to negatively impact your bottom line," said Governor LePage. "I want industry to be part of these discussions and help find ways to make your operations more profitable. By working together, we can create more opportunities to enhance the lives and job opportunities for Maine people," added the Governor.
The Maine Fisherman's Forum was founded in 1976 and provides opportunities to educate the public and the fishing industry about fisheries and marine resource issues, and to provide a neutral platform for constructive discussion and decision making.