To the Editor:
Is this new Lobster License Law in Maine, LD 1503, as written about in the Islander on April 14, perhaps a little (maybe a lot) discriminatory?
What about all the people who already have jumped through the hoops that the state required them to do? Yes – the waiting list people.
If these students choose this life, then wait time is what goes with it. Marine Resources (DMR) Commissioner Patrick Keliher talks of extracurricular activities. Is this a requirement? If so, it was not listed. Will it be basketball, football or drugs and alcohol?
Giving these kids easy access to such a lucrative fishery should have requirements. I cannot believe that Gov. Paul LePage, with his war on drugs missed this one. Where there is money, there are drugs. With other commercial licenses in Maine (captain, truck, pilot) there is testing. Why not for a lobster fishing license?
And shouldn’t the DMR take a good look at the person who is sponsoring this student? Is their license active or latent? Do they have a clean fishing record? Any license in Maine is a privilege, and a well-rounded student would need a well-rounded teacher. And how will the public know who gets to use or lose this privilege?
The people that have been on the waiting list have put their lives aside for years. What about other taxpaying Mainers who would like to have a chance to go lobstering?
It is not like these kids have to have fishing family history or even be enrolled in a coastal community school. All they need is a connection.
They could move someone from Kansas and have Uncle Steve in Maine sign them up and have a license before someone who was born in Maine and been on the list for years gets a chance.
The whole purpose of limited entry was to limit traps in the water. Now this is going at it from the back door.
Look at the Islander story of April 14 showing how the elver fishermen are already up against it. But apparently the almighty lobsterman and the state can do just as they damn please.
Is there not a legislator or a lawyer who sees injustice here?