April 1, 2019

Maine: Caucus-driven Legislation Grants Commissioner Camuso Authority to Extend Ice-Fishing Season

By Joe Mullin, New England States Coordinator

On March 26,  Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC) Member Governor Janet Mills (ME) signed An Act to Enhance Fish and Wildlife Laws (LD 1298) into law through emergency rulemaking authority.

This legislation was introduced by Maine Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus member Representative Roland Martin and was co-sponsored by Caucus Co-Chair Senator Troy Jackson and Caucus member Representative John Martin.

LD 1298 authorizes Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso discretion in extending Maine’s ice-fishing season. This bill allows the Commissioner to “change the established closing date of a recreational ice-fishing season” when weather conditions warrant such an alteration. An extended ice-fishing season would result in more dollars being spent on fishing gear and equipment, further contributing towards Maine’s economy and the American System of Conservation Funding.

Maine’s ice-fishing season was scheduled to close on March 31, but with the passage of LD 1298, and with areas of the state still experiencing prime ice-fishing conditions the season may now be extended.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds the work of the Maine Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and GSC Member Governor Mills for their work to expand access and opportunity for Maine’s sportsmen and women.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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