AUGUSTA – The Maine House delivered a strong bipartisan vote Thursday to advance a measure sponsored by Rep. Holly Stover, D-Boothbay, that would provide direct relief funds to Maine’s lobster fishermen impacted by recent federal regulatory changes. The vote was 116-18.
Following the closure of approximately 1,000 square miles of federal waters off the coast of Maine, LD 1898 would establish the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Impact Fund to provide compensation for the immediate financial losses felt by lobster fishermen.
“I’m grateful that so many of my colleagues voted to support our lobstering community today,” said Stover. “These funds will support those working in the industry first, but will also support local businesses that rely on the lobster industry to draw folks to our coastal communities.”
Funds would be administered by the Maine Department of Marine Resources and would only be available to Maine residents. To be eligible, fixed gear fishermen would need to have held at least 400 trap tags in two of the last three years and have a Class I, Class II or Class III license. A three-tier system would be used to determine the funds received by those eligible.
Stover is serving her second term in the Maine House and represents Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Edgecomb, South Bristol (part), Southport and Westport Island and is serving her second term in the Maine House. She is the House chair of the Government Oversight Committee and sits on the Health and Human Services Committee.