Things are bad enough, now our lobster industry is under attack

This is Representative Laurel Libby of Auburn with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.

High energy costs, high taxes, and unprecedented cost increases for everyday items like food, are making Maine increasingly unaffordable for the people who live here.

Even though Democrats are firmly in control of our government, Maine House Republicans have done our best during this time to steer the legislature toward policies that will help. Despite the odds we have had some success in:

  • Demanding that money from the $1.2 billion in over-collected state taxes be returned to struggling Mainers.
  • Increasing the state income tax exemption for retirees and pensioners to help people stay in Maine.
  • Creating a program that can freeze property taxes for qualifying seniors over 65, while ensuring additional costs aren’t borne by municipalities.

These steps ARE NOT ENOUGH, when:

  • August inflation is still 8.3% higher than a year ago.
  • Grocery prices in August rose 13.5%, the largest increase since 1979.
  • Fuel oil has increased 68.8 percent from August 2021 to August 2022.
  • The latest average heating oil price from the Governor’s Energy Office is $4.59 a gallon, up from $2.65 at this time a year ago.

Maine is in worse shape than it was two and four years ago.

This week I want to focus on an area where everyone should agree…

Maine’s lobster industry is vital to our states’ economy, heritage and future.

It is under attack from environmental groups and out-of-state extremists.

Last week, the California-based group red-listed Maine lobster. Their “Seafood Watch” is urging consumers to avoid eating lobster because lobstering allegedly poses a risk to endangered right whales.

That group is now calling for boycotts of national food retailers.

This boycott of Maine lobster is supposed to help the endangered right whale.

It will not. It will only destroy the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Mainers.

It will not help the right whale.  

Maine lobstermen have been at the forefront of right whale conservation for more than 20 years. They are conservationists who have a direct stake in the long-term survival of lobsters and the fishery.

They have implemented several effective changes, including:

  • Removing all surface float rope and implementing weak links in 1997
  • Marking vertical lines to identify origin gear in 2000
  • Replacing 27,000 miles of floating ground line with whale-safe sinking line in 2009
  • Requiring minimum traps per buoy line to reduce vertical lines in the water in 2015
  • Marking all vertical lines with Maine specific colors in 2020
  • Implementing seasonal closures in 2021, and
  • Converting all gear to include weak links/weak rope, and increasing the number of traps per buoy.

The result:

  • A 90% reduction in known U.S. lobster gear entanglements since enhanced gear safety measures were adopted in 2009.
  • There are now 25% more right whales than there were in 1990.
  • In 2021, there were 20 recorded right whale calf births, the highest total in nearly a decade.

The biggest statistic of all….

NO RIGHT WHALE DEATHS or serious injuries have ever been attributed to Maine lobster gear. 

House Republicans commend those who are speaking out in unison with us against Seafood Watch and efforts to boycott Maine lobster.

Destroying a fishery that employs over 4,000 people and contributes over $1 billion to the Maine economy would be devastating, even if we were not in a recession.

It is just another example of progressive policies that are needlessly destroying lives and livelihoods to pursue agendas that don’t even address the problems they are allegedly trying to solve.

Enough is enough.

Maine House Republicans want you to ask yourself, am I better off than two, even four years ago?

For those at risk in this economy, the answer is clearly NO.

Maine House Republicans have achieved some small, but important victories as the minority party, imagine what Republicans can do if we control state government! 

This has been Rep. Laurel Libby with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.  Thank you for supporting our efforts, listening, subscribing, sharing, and following us on Facebook and Instagram.

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