Heritage and conservation clash over elver fishing

7:35 AM, Jan 29, 2014   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission is urging the state and tribes to work together to meet conservation goals for the lucrative elvers fishery without harming tribal rights.

The commission wants the Legislature's Marine Resources Committee, which meets Wednesday, to reject a bill that would invalidate tribal elver fishing licenses unless they're approved by the state. The Maine Department of Marine Resources is backing the emergency legislation.

The tribal-state commission says the bill would undermine tribal fishing rights and strain tribal-state relations. Chairwoman Jamie Bissonette Lewey called it "unacceptable."

The value of elvers last year was second only to lobster, and the state is being required to reduce the catch to avoid emergency action by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

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