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Maine Passes Legislation to Preserve Marine Great Salt Bay Shellfish

Apr 02, 2002Maine State Representative David Lemoine reports that the state recently enacted legislation to preserve marine shellfish in the Great Salt Bay. The entire Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources supported and submitted the bill, LD 2172, An Act to Designate the Great Salt Bay Marine Shellfish Preserve, to the Maine Legislature for its action. Representative Lemoine, House Chair of the Marine Resources Committee stated, "the bill is the first of its kind to be passed in Maine." It was signed by Governor King on March 25, 2002 and will become law 90 days after the Legislature adjourns. This is a small, but important step forward in our efforts to create a sustainably productive and fully diverse marine ecosystem," said Representative Lemoine.

The bill designates the Great Salt Bay in Lincoln County as a marine shellfish preserve. The purpose of the designation is to gain a better understanding of the structure, function and integrity of marine shellfish ecosystems and to improve educational and study opportunities provided by marine ecosystems that are subject to minimal human disturbance. The bill prohibits the harvesting of shellfish and other harvesting activities that involve bottom disturbance. Research activities are excluded from the prohibition. The bill also directs the Department of Marine Resources to participate in a privately funded study of the bay. While it is anticipated that minimal costs will be incurred as the Department of Marine Resources participates in the privately funded study, the costs can be absorbed within the department's existing budgeted resources. It is anticipated that the study will be completed on June 30, 2002.

For more information, contact Representative David Lemoine at or contact NCEL.

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