A bill that would make it easier to export American sea urchins was introduced by Maine’s members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday.
The problem, according to U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin, is that federal officials recently began requiring inspections of urchins entering and leaving the country. So, urchins are inspected when they’re brought from Canada to Maine for processing and again before they’re exported to Asian markets.
Shellfish have gotten an exemption for these inspections since the 1980s, but the federal government recently changed its exemption rules, according to U.S. Sen. Angus King’s office. Now, they no longer include the sea urchin and sea cucumber, which are echinoderms. The bill would reinstate that exemption.
In Maine, urchins were once the state’s second-largest fishery after processors opened markets for urchin roe in Japan in the 1980s and 1990s. But the population declined sharply and it was just a $5.4 million fishery in 2014, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources.
King, an independent, said in a letter to a Senate committee that this new rule is “having significant and debilitating economic impacts” on seafood processors. Poliquin, a Republican from the 2nd District, said in a statement that the bill “will root out overly burdensome and unnecessary regulations” and “help protect these Maine jobs.”
“Sometimes the urchins end up sitting in a hot warehouse for days and at times waiting for an inspection and this has resulted in the loss of a very valuable product,” said Pingree, a Democrat from the 1st District, in a statement.
- Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald told conservative radio host Howie Carr that he supports Republican frontrunner Donald Trump for president, but he told the Sun Journal he doesn’t back Trump’s plan to ban all Muslim travel to the U.S.
- Gov. Paul LePage and his wife, Ann LePage, were in Arlington, Virginia, this weekend to lay flags on the graves of soldiers who died in action. Their visit was part of the annual Wreaths Across America ceremony.
- Ahead of the holidays, nary a political creature will be stirring at the Maine State House: The biggest official event on the legislative calendar is a public hearing on rule changes implementing a 2015 law that allows asylum seekers to get General Assistance for two years.
- Why conflict is more likely than progress in Maine’s upcoming legislative session — Christopher Cousins, Bangor Daily News
- Lewiston wasn’t ready for change, but is Maine? — Michael Shepherd, BDN
- BIW union in narrow vote OKs new labor contract — Stephen Betts, BDN
- FBI data: Rates of violent crimes in Maine remain among nation’s lowest — Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN
- We wanted to learn how to grow Maine’s economy. Here’s what we found. — Erin Rhoda, BDN
- Maine needs a central hub to attract more immigrants — Seth Koenig, BDN
- If you’re in the middle class, you’re no longer part of the majority — Dan MacLeod, BDN
- An inmate dies, and no one is punished — Michael Winerip and Michael Schwirtz, New York Times
Best of Maine’s Craigslist
- A man is looking for a woman who “looked so hot” and gave him a lap dance at The Wharf in Hallowell (one of the better dive bars around, for my money). Alas, the star-crossed pair was separated when the man “went to smoke and then had to leave but if you remember I didn’t want to leave but I had to.”
- A “dark electronic” musical act called “TRIPLE BLVK DVRKNESS” needs a woman with a gothic look for “a low (read: near zero) budget music video” in the Portland area. Warning: “There will be smoke, fire, blades, and blood (fake),” so it’s “not for the timid or squeamish.” Also, you have to provide your own wardrobe and compensation is “unlikely.”
- A free male potbelly pig is available in Vienna, but he needs to go fast because the “landlord isn’t happy with us for having him.” — Michael Shepherd