Search for balance

To the Editor:

As the 128th Legislature starts its work, the Marine Resources Committee will begin to act on proposed legislation regarding our coastal fisheries. The harvesting of lobster, clams, scallops and other marine species is critically important to many of Maine’s coastal communities and offshore islands. It is our job to ensure that harvesting is done in a sustainable way so future generations also will have these opportunities.

The committee’s work will be defined by the fine line between the financial needs of today and the responsibilities of tomorrow. Our marine ecosystem and communities depend on it. The committee’s focus has to be broad, avoiding near-sightedness that could impact our economy and environment.

The envy of the nation, Maine’s lobster, clam, scallop and other marine harvests should allow as many people as possible to earn a living while maintaining our environment.

Additionally, a growing area of marine activity is aquaculture, and the committee has to balance that growth with traditional uses of our coastal waters. Aquaculture has the potential to greatly benefit coastal communities and maintain our working waterfront, but we have to ensure it can coexist with other users of the marine environment.

As House chair of the Marine Resources Committee, it is my hope that we strive for that balance in a bipartisan manner that takes public input and crafts policy with thought and respect for the people we represent.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Walter Kumiega

State Representative

Editor’s Note: Rep. Walter Kumiega, D-Deer Isle is serving his fourth term in the Maine House and represents the Cranberry Isles, Deer Isle, Frenchboro, Isle au Haut, North Haven, Southwest Harbor, Stonington, Swans Island, Tremont, Vinalhaven and Marshall Island Township.

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