BAR HARBOR — The town’s Cruise Ship Committee now will have a seat for a “maritime industry representative” rather than a “fishing industry representative,” following unanimous approval of an ordinance change last week by the Town Council.
“Over the years, it has been difficult to fill the fishing industry seat,” Town Manager Cornell Knight said. He noted that the change would not preclude a lobster fisherman or other fishing industry member from holding the seat.
Several residents expressed concern about the proposal during a public hearing on the change and suggested that the meeting time is difficult for lobstermen.
“Cruise ships affect the fishing industry,” resident Arthur Greif said. “The committee should return to an evening start time and get some real input.”
“Lobster fishing has been a very important part of our local economy for a very long time,” resident Anne Marie Quin wrote in an email to councilors. “To schedule the meetings of this committee so that a lobsterman may attend is of great importance.”
Current Cruise Ship Committee Chair Eben Salvatore and Councilor Paul Paradis said the group often has adjusted their meeting time, sometimes at the request of the fishing industry representative, and that hasn’t worked to retain that committee member.
“Most of the lobstermen I’ve talked to have said they don’t have the time no matter what time the meeting is,” Councilor Matt Hochman said.
Councilor Anne Greenlee said other fisheries are part of the area economy and Frenchman Bay as well, and other maritime professionals, such as harbor pilots, are stakeholders in cruise operations. “The expertise it takes to represent the working waterfront doesn’t rest solely with lobster fishermen,” she said.