At Maine Fishermen’s Forum, Sen. Angus King lauds fishing industry

Fri, 03/01/2019 - 4:30pm

    U.S. Senator Angus Kingcommended the work of the men and women in Maine’s fishing industry at the Maine Fisherman’s Forum in Rockport today, listening first-hand to the priorities and concerns of Maine fishermen from around the state.

    “Here in Maine, generations of families have made their living at sea, and they have helped shape the traditions, culture, and economy of our state,” King said, in a news release. “The Maine Fishermen’s Forum is a wonderful way to celebrate our rich fishing heritage and to come together to put Maine’s collective expertise in the industry to work. With the increased communication and mutual understanding we solidified today, the Maine fishing industry is better positioned to further it’s important role for our state. It was an honor to speak with so many Maine men and women today whose hard work drives the economy and helps support families and communities up and down the coast.”

    This week, Senator King and the rest of the Maine delegation wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, calling on him to make the lobster industry a priority in the ongoing trade negotiations with the Chinese government.

    In July, King released a statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that their proposed $12 billion in aid to farmers affected by retaliatory tariffs would not extend to the lobster industry.

    Also in July, the Senator met members of the lobster industry, fishermen, and local community leaders in Stonington, which lands more lobsters and has more lobstermen than any other port in the state, to discuss the economic and environmental challenges facing the industry.

    Senator King has also worked to protect that the natural resources that drive Maine’s fishing industry and is concerned about the effects of climate change on those same vital fisheries. Earlier this week, Senator King took to the Senate floor to echo the call of his predecessor, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who urged action on climate change more than 30 years ago. During his speech, Senator King emphasized the lack of substantive action since former Senator Mitchell’s speech was made, and pushed for more forceful bipartisan efforts to protect our planet. Following a January 2018 proposal from the Department of the Interior to open up federal Atlantic waters to offshore drilling and natural gas exploration and extraction, Senator King joined a bipartisan group of his New England colleagues to introduce legislation to bar offshore drilling along the region’s coast, as it could threaten the fishing industry and coastal environment in Maine.

    The Senator is a strong supporter of the National Sea Grant Program, which provides resources for marine businesses and fishermen in coastal communities. He is a cosponsor of the Young Fishermen’s Development Act, legislation that seeks to mitigate the challenges facing new entrants into the fishing industry. Senator King has also worked to ensure that federal agencies like the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife respect the traditions and work of Maine harvesters working in intertidal zones.