Maine Voices: Landing lobster won’t save fish fleet

Massachusetts’ commitment to investing in the fishing infrastructure is what attracts Maine boats to move.

Bringing Maine’s groundfishing fleet back to Portland has once again become a hot topic. Recent press coverage of this issue has done the state, the city of Portland and the groundfishing industry a huge disservice by suggesting responsibility for solving this issue lies with the lobster industry.

Let’s look at a few facts. Maine’s groundfish landings took a dive in the 1990s and 2000s not because Maine draggers couldn’t land lobsters in Portland but because federal days-at-sea regulations inevitably made it sensible for those vessels to berth in Gloucester, Mass., or Boston rather than in Portland. Why? Because with a limited number of days available in which to fish, a sensible captain moved his boat as close to the fishing grounds as possible. As landings declined, cutting costs became essential to make up for lost revenue.

To read the full editorial in the Portland Press Herald, click here…

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