Lobstermen to report on catch

About 850 lobstermen, representing 10 percent of those licensed in Maine, will have to turn in logbook reports of how many times they went out on the water, how many traps they set or hauled each time, and how many lobsters they caught.

The purpose of the reports is to give Department of Marine Resources officials and scientists a better idea of how many traps are being used and how long they are in the water. more

– A.P.

Proposed ban of calcium chloride

A legislator is proposing a statewide ban on calcium chloride, a liquid salt mixture used to melt snow and ice from roads. Many mechanics believe the substance is causing a lot of damage to vehicles.Brewer auto mechanic Andrew Bowden has worked on a lot of vehicles over the years. He said he’s doing a lot more brake jobs these days and he thinks it’s due to calcium chloride.

“The stuff on the roads, no matter what it is if it’s metal it seems to rust,” he said.

That’s one of the reasons State Rep. Dave Miramant of Camden wants to ban calcium chloride from roads. He testified in a hearing in Augusta today on the proposed legislation.

“You see experienced automotive technicians and mechanics finding the same problems over and over,” he said. “Five year old cars with rusted out brake lines.”

State fines mortgage broker


A licensed mortgage loan broker has entered into a Superior Court Consent Decree that resolves the state’s Unfair Trade Practice Act Complaint.

The State charged that Maine Mortgage Group helped falsify a homeowner’s mortgage application in order to persuade the lender that the homeowner was a good loan risk.

The state’s complaint alleged that Maine Mortgage Group made a $7,000 short-term loan to the homeowner in order to make the homeowner’s assets appear larger than they actually were.

Supreme Court upholds groundwater testing


Portland scrap yards must comply with environmental and zoning regulations that were enacted by the city council in 2004, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court has decided.

The decision affects E. Perry Iron & Metal Co. and New England Metal Recycling in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood, which the city has targeted for redevelopment. It also affects Louis Mack Co. on Warren Avenue.

Under the ordinance, scrap yards must submit groundwater test results to receive annual operating permits, said Penny Littell, assistant city attorney.

State passes emergency bill for truckers


An emergency bill to help truckers in Maine’s forest products industry was signed today by Gov. John Baldacci, just hours after it was passed by the House and Senate.

The bill temporarily allows truckers hauling forest products to increase the weight of their loads by 5 percent. It is effective immediately and will expire April 1.

“We know that our forest product industry and Maine’s truckers are being hurt by record high diesel prices,” Baldacci said. “They are struggling right now, and they need help. With the quick action on this legislation, they’ll get some relief right now.”

AG files unfair trade suit


Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe has has filed an unfair trade practices complaint against a Maine oil dealer after receiving 124 complaints from customers.

The complaint alleges that Nicholas Curro, doing business as Price Rite Oil, Veilleux Oil & Service and Perron Oil, misrepresented when and how the oil in pre-paid contracts would be delivered, failed to deliver oil according to the contract terms and failed to honor customers’ request for refunds.

Fishing groups bring suit to protect groundfish

The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance and the Midcoast Fishermen’s Association have brought a lawsuit to have federal regulatory agencies to enforce laws meant to protect populations of cod, haddock and other groundfish from industrial herring boats.

“Small fishermen in New England have made sacrifices to preserve a livelihood for future generations. But the current rules are undermining our hard work,” said Glen Libby, a commercial fisherman and chairman of the Midcoast Fishermen’s Association. “When the rules are applied unevenly, everybody suffers.”

Mid-water trawlers drag massive small-mesh nets behind them, sometimes working in pairs towing an even bigger net between them. Stretching to 165 feet, these vessels can hold more than one million pounds of catch.

Midwater trawlers were initially banned from groundfish-closed areas in 1994. But in 1998 federal regulators decided to re-open these areas to trawlers, based on an assumption that the herring ships would catch little or no groundfish in their nets.

The policy has proved disastrous. While shortcomings in the federal monitoring program make precise numbers difficult to obtain, it is estimated that in recent years midwater trawl vessels have caught hundreds of thousands of pounds of mature and juvenile groundfish as bycatch. In a well-publicized 2004 enforcement sweep, personnel from the Maine Marine Patrol and Massachusetts Environmental Police caught midwater herring trawlers illegally trying to land thousands of pounds of juvenile haddock and hake mixed with their herring catch.