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State Shortens Matinicus Fishing Ban, Meeting Planned 

A two week fishing shutdown around Matinicus island has been shortened to four days.The ban from the state came after a shooting there Monday, when one lobsterman was accused of shooting another fishermen.Fishermen from the island and Marine Resources officials came together Thursday in Rockland – and the discussions are just beginning.”They overstepped their bounds. They punished the entire community including people who couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with anything that happened,” says lobsterman Clayton Philbrook.He’s one of the Matinicus fishermen who challenged the state’s two-week shutdown in a Knox County courtroom Thursday.”I understand that the department is really frustrated at some of the enforcement challenges they have in such an isolated location,” says Nat Hussey. He represented Philbrook in court Thursday. He’s also a sternman who lives on the island.”We are a community of hard-working families and we want to get back to work. We’re really glad the department’s going to work with us now,” he says.”We came to an agreement to open the area up Monday morning if there’s not any more violence on the island,” says Col. Joseph Fessenden, chief of Maine Marine Patrol.He says the ban was never intended as punishment, but instead to send a message.On Saturday, Marine Resources officials will travel to the island for a meeting.”And hopefully work out a plan where we can resolve some of the long-term issues out there, the trap cutting, vandalism, and try to get fishermen to get along a little better,” Col. Fessenden says. “A lot of it is over territory, it’s a very protective area…it’s a traditional thing. They’ve protected their bottom for years.”Philbrook says some people have the wrong idea about their island.”A lot of the pirate island, lawless thing is overblown. It just sounds romantic. It’s not true. I mean there’s a little of that – you’ll have a little of that anywhere, all fishing communities have a little of this going on.”Fishermen say one item they’d like to discuss Saturday is the potential for their own fishing zone around the island, like others have.”We’ve asked them for meetings. Now they’re finally going to come out,” says Philbrook. “I hope they listen to us.”Hussey says many people on the island are still trying to deal with what’s happened. Shooting victim Chris Young is still in the hospital, listed Thursday in fair condition.Meanwhile, patrol crews will stay near the island through the weekend.