STONINGTON- On Sunday, fishermen held a rally to express their concerns about new regulations.
Federal and state lawmakers were there to listen and share their thoughts.
“It really gives me a lot of heart and reminds me what politics is all about and what my job is supposed to be, which is fighting for the people I represent, which is being your voice, but that starts by listening to you,” said Representative Jared Golden.
One of the most discussed topics was federal regulations being imposed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that aim to save right whales.
“NOAA needs to examine the statistics and it is evident the regulations are so wrong,” said Senator Susan Collins. “In the past 3 years, not a single right whale entanglement has occurred of the coast of Maine.”
Fishermen at Sunday’s rally said they’ve cooperated enough and have already made costly changes, some of which creating safety risks for crews.
“Vinyl Haven, Swans Islands, they’re all islands that depend solely on lobsters,” said Dick Larabee Jr., a local fisherman. “If you take lobstering out of the picture, what do you have? You have nothing.”
Fishermen are concerned these regulations will kill the lobster industry and take away a future that many kids and teens living in Maine envisioned for themselves.
“Fishing is something in your blood. You either have it or you don’t,” said Rylee Eaton, a student at Deer Isle-Stonington High School. “This island is full of people who have fishing in their blood, people raised to be fisherman. If the industry continues to be regulated the way it is, the younger generation of fisherman will have no choice but to move elsewhere and give up the work they know and love.”
Lawmakers at the rally said they’ve written President Trump in hopes of gaining his support.