Online license renewal is not one size fits all

HALLOWELL — Some Maine lobstermen have been able to go online to renew their state licenses with the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) this year, officials said, but only those with straightforward renewals and no special circumstances.

The online system has some limitations, DMR licensing supervisor Cathy Fetterman said, and they’re working on building a new, more robust system to roll out next year.

“Our online system was not set up for verification,” she said. There’s no way to verify documents that might be relevant to a renewal, such as registration forms from special fishing zones, like Swans Island.

If your boat registration has changed, or you do not own the boat you are using for lobstering, the online system won’t work, according to the renewal website. Lobstermen renewing online also must not be changing declared fishing zones and must not hold a federal fisheries permit.

“The site has seen a lot more activity since we started to promote online renewal,” Fetterman said. The lobster year is Jan. 1-Dec. 31, but “you can renew all year long,” she said. “Some people don’t renew until May or June if they have no intention of going fishing before then.

“I’m grateful that industry is very patient with us. I’d love to have more people renew online,” she said. “Hopefully next year, we’ll have a new system in place.”

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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