AUGUSTA — Patrick Keliher, the state Commissioner of Marine Resources, said in a letter to the lobster industry Monday afternoon that he does not have “any immediate plans to close any commercial fishery in response to the coronavirus.”
He advises fishermen and dealers to “actively communicate with each other about the realities of the market” and “refrain from landing product if there is no market for it.” But he does not have the authority, under the current circumstances, to order the lobster fishery to close.
“I am monitoring this situation and am receiving thoughts and guidance from all segments of the industry,” he wrote. “Many of these recommendations from the industry are in conflict with each other. I am currently evaluating the appropriateness of management actions I am authorized to take within our enabling legislation. I am also working directly with the Governor’s office to fully understand what other authorities may — or may not — exist. I will remain in constant communication with industry as this situation unfolds.”