“Each of Maine's more than 4,500 commercial lobstermen and women are small, self-employed business owners,” Senator Collins continued. “That's why the SBA advocated for them. But NOAA totally ignored what the SBA asked for, in reinforcing what the industry, the entire Delegation, and the Governor also requested.”
In light of reports that NOAA is considering imposing further regulations on the industry, Senator Collins asked Secretary Raimondo: “[H]ow can the industry trust that NOAA's not going to regulate them out of existence given that the agency has rejected recommendations from the SBA's Office of Advocacy, not just those of us who represent the state, but an independent office within the SBA, another federal agency?”
Secretary Raimondo responded that the head of NOAA Fisheries is in regular contact with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, and they are working to find suppliers who can provide the required gear for an affordable price.
Secretary Raimondo continued by saying that NOAA’s enforcement goal is to be as “lenient as we can to assist with compliance, instead of a gotcha sort of approach.” She also said that her Department expects to distribute $14 million by the end of June to help alleviate the cost of compliance for Maine lobstermen and women. Senator Collins secured this funding in the government funding legislation that was signed into law in March.