DMR Hosts Meeting in Bucksport to Discuss Fishing Ban

Terry Stackhouse

Updated 9 months ago

Part of Stockton Springs is closed to lobster and crab fishing, likely for the next two years or longer.

Officials from the Department of Marine Resources want to make a 90-day emergency ban, passed last month, permanent.

They held a public hearing on the issue at Bucksport Middle School Monday.

Recent data suggests lobsters and crabs, harvested from the area, contain hazardously-high levels of mercury.

Scientists believe Orrington’s Holtra-Chem company is responsible for dumping chemicals in the Penobscot River, decades ago.

They’d like to study areas surrounding the seven-square-mile space closed to harvesters.

“This is a continuing thing. Somebody does something, gets away with it, and somebody else pays for it,” said one angry fisherman, during public input.

“You should question some of the lobstermen here. They know they move. Them same lobsters are way down the bay,” said another fisherman, bringing to light that many of the animals from the area migrate to others where they can be harvested.

“I really commend the DMR at this time for really stepping back and taking the initiative to say, hey look, we have an issue, we need to address it,” said one man who supports the measure.

“I think the department’s hope is that people understand that we made this decision for public health purposes, to be health protective, and to protect the lobster industry,” said Meredith Mendelson, Deputy Commissioner Department of Marine Resources.

State officials say the upcoming study aims to determine, after two years, if the area is safe to re-open or if it should remain closed.

 


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