Public Laws

124th Legislature

First Regular Session



Chapter 294

H.P. 851 - L.D. 1231

An Act To Protect the Long-term Viability of Island Lobster Fishing Communities

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 12 MRSA §6448, sub-§8, ķE  is enacted to read:

E A person who has either successfully completed the requirements of the apprentice program under section 6422 or 6475 or held a Class I, Class II or Class III lobster and crab fishing license in the previous calendar year and who has registered to enter an established island limited-entry program as described under section 6449 may declare as that person's declared lobster zone the zone in which that island limited-entry program is located when the person becomes eligible to enter the island limited-entry program.

Sec. 2. 12 MRSA §6449  is enacted to read:

§ 6449.   Island limited-entry programs

An island limited-entry program may be established pursuant to this section in order to maintain a number of licenses appropriate for the needs of an island community and the local lobster resource.

1 Proposal to the commissioner.   Notwithstanding section 6448, subsection 7, a year-round island community may petition the commissioner for the establishment of an island limited-entry zone program if a minimum of 5 island residents that are holders of a Class I, Class II or Class III lobster and crab fishing license or 10% of the island residents that are holders of a Class I, Class II or Class III lobster and crab fishing license, whichever is greater, signs the petition submitted to the commissioner. If 2/3 of the Class I, Class II or Class III lobster and crab fishing license holders that are residents on the island voting in a referendum held pursuant to section 6447, subsection 6 support the establishment of an island limited-entry zone program, the commissioner may adopt rules to establish such a program, including a waiting list. Before establishing or amending the number of licenses available to island residents, the commissioner shall determine the number of licenses preferred by 2/3 of the Class I, Class II or Class III lobster and crab fishing license holders resident on the island. The commissioner may accept the preferences proposed by 2/3 of the license holders as reasonable and adopt those preferences or reject the preferences as unreasonable. The commissioner shall consult with the lobster management policy council for the lobster management zone in which the island is located before making the decision.
2 No longer resident.   An individual who obtains a Class I, Class II or Class III lobster and crab fishing license through an island limited-entry program but who no longer wishes to maintain residency on the island is subject to the following requirements.
A A person who held a Class I, Class II or Class III lobster and crab fishing license and maintained residency on the island for a period of not less than 8 years and who can document to the commissioner that the person harvested lobsters in each of the 8 years may end the person's residency on the island and fish elsewhere in the lobster management zone in which the island is located without going on a waiting list as established in section 6448.
B A person who holds a Class I, Class II or Class III lobster and crab fishing license and who either has maintained residency on the island for less than 8 years or who has maintained residency on the island for at least 8 years but cannot document to the commissioner that the person harvested lobsters in each of the 8 years may end the person's residency on the island and become eligible to fish elsewhere in the lobster management zone in which the island is located if that person complies with the waiting list requirement established in accordance with section 6448.
3 Restriction.   This section applies only to an island in the coastal waters with a year-round community that is not connected to the mainland by an artificial structure.
4 Rules.   The commissioner shall adopt rules to implement the island limited-entry program. The rules must include but are not limited to:
A A definition of residency on an island;
B Allowances for the temporary absence from an island due to a medical condition or educational requirements; and
C Providing for an opportunity for increasing the number of Class I, Class II or Class III lobster and crab fishing license holders on an island, if appropriate, based on the characteristics of the island and the lobster resource.

Rules adopted pursuant to this subsection are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.

Effective September 12, 2009

Office of the Revisor of Statutes
State House, Room 108
Augusta, ME 04333