The Legislative Council denied Rep. Pinny Beebe-Center’s appeal of a bill to give the commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources the ability to vary the start date of the elver season depending on weather conditions.

“I think the council made a poor decision,” said Beebe-Center, D-Rockland. “If we have another season with a late start, it will result in a shorter season for fishermen who depend on getting every day of fishing they can to make ends meet.”

Last year, the late spring meant that many elver harvesters had an extremely short season.

Under Maine law, the elver fishing season goes from March 22 to May 31. Beebe-Center’s proposal would have allowed the start date to change based on prevailing weather conditions, but the season would stay at 71 days, allowing fishermen to have a full season.

“I’ll propose this bill again next year,” Beebe-Center said. “Elvers don’t run because the calendar says so, but when the weather is right. The law needs to recognize that.”

During even-numbered years, the Legislature generally limits bill submissions to those that address emergencies and other pressing situations. The Legislative Council, which is made up of each party’s leaders in the Maine House and Senate, decides which bills fit the criteria.

Beebe-Center’s bill was rejected on a 5-5 party-line vote, with Republicans on the council voting against it.