American lobster. The DMR has recently changed the exit ratio for lobster license holders in Zone B. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

New lobster license ratio now in effect

AUGUSTA — Measures approved by the Lobster Management Zone B Council last fall were accepted recently by the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Advisory Council.

The regulations expand the Hancock County Trawl Limit area in Zone B to the six-mile line. This rulemaking also changes the Zone B commercial lobster and crab fishing license exit ratio from one license granted for every five licenses surrendered, to one license granted for every three licenses surrendered. This change follows a unanimous vote in favor of the exit ratio by the Zone B Council last fall.

The Advisory Council’s approved regulations also include establishing Zone C as a limited-entry zone with an exit ratio of one license issued for every one license surrendered.

The recent rulemaking addresses commercial lobster license waiting lists, which currently consist of both apprentices who do not have a lobster license as well as individuals that do hold a lobster license but are requesting to transfer to another zone.

The Legislature recently passed a law directing the DMR to remove those individuals who already hold a lobster license from the existing waiting list and create a separate transfer waiting list. This list is established with a one-for-one swap, meaning a fisherman in any given zone would need to transfer his or her license before someone on the transfer waiting list can swap zones. The DMR will authorize any such swaps annually until there are no matches remaining.

Finally, this rulemaking clarifies that if an individual completes the apprentice program in multiple zones, individuals would still be required to document at least the minimum of 1,000 fishing hours that is accumulated over a minimum of 200 calendar days in each desired zone. However, the minimum of the 24-month requirement is met 24 months from the date the individual logs their first day in the apprenticeship program.

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