AUGUSTA — A bill from Representative Ann Matlack, D-St. George, to provide additional support to municipalities and regional shellfish management organizations was signed into law Wednesday by Governor Janet Mills.
LD 454, as amended, raises shellfish depuration fees. This would be the first increase in the fee in 24 years.
“I want to thank harvesters and the Georges River Regional Shellfish Management Board for their work on this bill and all they to do preserve and protect our clam flats for future generations,” said Matlack. “This modest fee increase of 50 cents will provide additional resources to municipalities and regional shellfish management groups to address the issues facing Maine’s soft-shell clam industry.”
Depuration fees, along with license fees, fines, grants and other revenue sources, are used by towns and regional shellfish management organizations with state-authorized shellfish management plans to ensure sustainable harvest practices and optimum utilization of soft-shell clam resources.
All monies received from depuration harvesting are used for clam flat management.
Each year, municipal shellfish management committees must submit to the Department of Marine Resources a report on the work done over the past year and an accounting of revenues and funds raised for shellfish management.
During the bill’s public hearing before the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee, several municipal leaders and members of the public testified in support of the measure.
The bill will go into effect 90 days after the first special session of the 130th Legislature adjourns sine die.
Matlack is serving her second term in the Maine House and represents the communities of Cushing, Thomaston, South Thomaston, St George, Matinicus, Criehaven and the Muscle Ridge Islands. She serves as House chair of the State and Local Government Committee and as a member of the Taxation Committee.