New State Budget Provides Increased Funding for Department of Marine Resources
In the 2014-2015 state budget proposed by Maine Governor Paul LePage on January 11, it was clear that fishing remains a top priority for Maine. The general fund budget recommendations contain an increase of almost 10% over the 2012-2013 budget, from $17,874,541 to $19,581,460.
A press statement from the Governor’s office stated that “DMR has evaluated the priority issues facing Maine’s marine resource users, with the objective of reorganizing the Department to direct resources to high priority work creating economic opportunity for the state. This budget reflects a clear separation of DMR’s science and policy work, increased focus on the Bureau of Public Health to support the shellfish industry and improved services to aquaculture (a growth sector), and improved efficiencies in Department administration.”
In response to the budget news, Rob Snyder, the Island Institute’s president-elect, issued the following statement:
“Fishing, particularly lobstering, is important to island communities – depending on the island, between 15% and 50% of residents hold lobster licenses. With recent increases in the costs to go fishing – both bait and fuel costs have more than doubled in the past 15 years – and the recent declines in prices paid to fishermen, we need to make sure that efforts to improve the marketing of lobsters continue to move forward. We remain hopeful that marketing will continue to be a priority for the governor and the legislature. The wise management of our fisheries relies heavily on both the conservation measures that Maine fishermen use and a strong scientific research program. Investing in the science and future of the resource is a smart investment for the state to make.“