Program aims to preserve Maine fishing communities

Posted July 08, 2009, at 10:24 a.m.

Conservation groups and state officials say initiatives to purchase commercial fishing rights and distribute them to local fishermen will help preserve Maine’s fishing communities.

Three nonprofits — the Island Institute, The Nature Conservancy and Penobscot East Resource Center — have created the state’s first “permit banks” in which they buy fishing permits and the fishing days or catch histories that come with them.

The groups are giving those fishing rights to Down East and midcoast fishermen for research on fish population, fishing gear and fishing practices.

The Department of Marine Resources is also developing a permit bank using $1 million in federal money to buy fishing days and then lease them to Maine fishermen who need more time at sea to stay in business.