From the Maine Senate

Maine’s hardworking lobstermen deserve better

Mon, 09/19/2022 - 5:00pm

    As Mainers, we take our responsibility to our environment seriously. Maine’s natural beauty and abundant natural resources are among the top reasons most of us choose to make this place our home. We rely on a clean and healthy environment for recreation, our health and our way of life. Our heritage industries, from farming to fishing to forestry, have powered our economy for hundreds of years by drawing upon our natural resources in a sustainable and responsible way. In our corner of the state, with our beautiful and abundant coastline, generations of Mainers have worked on the waters of the Gulf of Maine to build a reputation for Maine seafood that is recognized around the world as second-to-none.

    That’s why the recent attacks on our lobster industry have been so disappointing for many of us, especially those who rely on lobstering to make a life for themselves and their families. This month, the lobster industry was shaken by news that Seafood Watch, an organization whose stated mission is to promote sustainable seafood practices, recommended avoiding lobster caught in the Gulf of Maine because of its negative environmental impact. This is just the latest in a series of unfair challenges the lobster industry has faced from the federal government and outside organizations that don’t understand Maine’s lobster fishery, the people who steward it and the importance it holds to our economy and way of life.

    Most of these recent challenges have centered around the North Atlantic right whale, a species of whale native to the east coast of the United States that has been endangered since the 1970s. As an endangered species, it is important that we take our duty to protect these whales seriously. But the steps we take to protect these creatures must be based in science and facts, and recent decisions from the federal government and from Seafood Watch have decidedly not been. Despite the fact that not a single right whale death can be attributed to Maine’s lobster industry, the federal government is trying to force a significant overhaul of how our lobster fishery operates. These changes would no doubt have a devastating impact on lobstermen and our economy as a whole, and Maine’s entire congressional delegation as well as Gov. Janet Mills have been outspoken about how critical it is for the federal government to reconsider its flawed judgements.

    The Maine Legislature, meanwhile, recognizes Maine’s lobster industry for what it is: an industry with a longstanding tradition of responsible environmental stewardship. Just this year, the Legislature stepped up our support for this critical industry by establishing the Lobster Legal Defense Fund, a fund that supports the lobster industry as it continues to fight these unfair regulations in court. We also voted to extend lobstering hours for the month of September, giving lobstermen more time to harvest during the peak season.

    As a legislator, one of my biggest priorities has been protecting and conserving our natural environment. It is our responsibility to care for our oceans – to ensure that the creatures who live there are treated well, that our waters are kept clean and that future generations of Mainers are able to enjoy the ocean we all know and love. Few know that better than Maine lobstermen, and they deserve better than this. While action taken on the federal level continues to be a threat, the Maine decision makers who know this industry best will continue to fight for it.

    As always, please reach out to me any time if I can answer your questions, connect you with resources or help you navigate a state agency. You can send me an email to, call or text my cell phone at (207) 200-6224, or find me on Facebook at You can also sign up for my regular e-newsletter by visiting