IFW Committee kills bill to simplify fishing rules

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 The bill to create a commission to simplify Maine’s complicated fishing rules got a unanimous ought-not-to-pass recommendation from the legislature’s IFW Committee yesterday, even though five members of the committee had cosponsored the bill.

That was a big disappointment for me, as I had proposed the bill and asked Representative Michelle Dunphy to sponsor it.

Committee members, and representatives of SAM, the Maine Professional Guides Association, and Trout Unlimited, seem to have a lot of confidence that DIF&W can accomplish this task itself. But Representative Bob Duchesne, the House chair of the IFW Committee, asked the best question, “How can a department fix a problem they created?”

There was a bit of encouragement in the public hearing testimony and the work session discussion. A lot of suggestions were offered that would simplify the rules, and Francis Brautigam, Fisheries Division Director, said that his staff would be working this year to simplify the fishing rules.

This morning I emailed Commissioner Chandler Woodcock and Francis, suggesting that they pull together an informal group to work with them on simplifying the fishing rules. They could include SAM, TU, and MPGA, and ask them to spread the word and collect suggestions from their members and others. The group wouldn't have to meet often, maybe just a couple of times, but it would be a simple way to gather recommendations, something that Francis said they would like to do.

If a process is established that would let you offer your own suggestions for simplifying our fishing rules, I will let you know.

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