Sea urchins ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Urchin news



WASHINGTON A bill that would end mandatory inspections of urchins and sea cucumbers being exported from the country, introduced by Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin, has taken a step forward.

The bill has been included as an amendment in one of the major spending bills being considered by the House of Representatives.

Since the 1980s, certain shellfish, such as shrimp, lobster, urchins and cucumbers, have been exempt from such inspections. In 2011, federal officials started requiring inspections of sea urchins and sea cucumbers entering and leaving the United States, claiming that urchins are technically echinoderms instead of shellfish.

“This amendment is a huge victory for hundreds of hardworking Mainers who dive for, harvest and process urchins and cucumbers. We must continue to ensure the federal government is there to help, not hurt, our jobs, local businesses and communities in Maine,” Poliquin and Pingree said in a statement. “It is time to revise burdensome regulations in order to support the more than 650 Maine jobs in our state’s urchin and cucumber industry.”

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