Urchin action

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bill to promote Maine’s urchin industry took a step forward last week when it was reported out by the Natural Resources Committee in the House of Representatives.

The bill, introduced in December by Rep. Bruce Poliquin and Rep. Chellie Pingree, would exempt imports and exports of sea urchins and sea cucumbers from licensing requirements under the Endangered Species Act.

Poliquin requested a hearing on the bill in February and worked with the committee to support the bill, a statement from his office said.

“Our state’s sea urchin and sea cucumber harvesting industry employs about 650 hardworking Mainers and is a vital part of our coastal economy,” said Poliquin.

Atchan Tamaki, president of the Maine Sea Urchin and Sea Cucumber Association said, “This is a very positive development for our industry, and we thank Congressman Poliquin for the hard work he has done and continues to do for Maine’s seafood harvesters and processors.”

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