Maine Lobstering Union testifies for lobster processing bonds
Augusta — More than 20 lobstermen members of the Maine Lobstering Union from up and down the coast lobbied in Augusta March 27 in support of two bonds that will help strengthen the lobster industry and sustain coastal communities for the future.
Both bonds were being heard before the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. If passed and if eventually approved by the voters, both would benefit Maine fishing communities, according to a news release from the Maine Lobstering Union.
“We believe we can preserve our way of life, but it’s going to take creativity and hard work. We have to invest in the future,” said Rock Alley of Jonesport, lobster fisherman and president of the Maine Lobstering Union.
LD 1709 sponsored by Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash would invest up to $10 million in the development of lobster processing facilities. LD 1756, sponsored by Rep. Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, would invest $15 million for research institutions to partner with Maine fishing families and seafood processing facilities to identify challenges and opportunities, to develop new products and diversify offerings, and to find new ways to increase value added processing to the industry here in Maine.
“Right now, when we haul our traps and bring lobsters to the dock, a majority of them end up shipped out of Maine to be processed,” said Alley. “It does not make sense to send all of the lobsters we catch across the border to have them turned into value added products and then come back into the US,” he said.
“Investing through these bonds will be a win-win for everyone. It will create jobs and help us preserve our way of life in Maine’s coastal communities. We ask the Legislature to support us,” said Alley.
For more information, go to mainelobsteringunion.org.