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ACA health insurance options in 2017
With cold and flu season upon us, the last thing you need is to get caught without health insurance. An illness or injury can happen any day, but thankfully, you don’t have to worry about how to pay for your healthcare or medical bills. Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance began on November 1 and will go through January 31, 2017.
The ACA requires individuals to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. The requirement can be met by having a plan with minimal essential coverage either through one’s employer or another group, or by purchasing an individual/family policy through Maine’s health insurance Marketplace.
Lobster Leadership Institute returns next year
In May 2014, the Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance (MLCA), the nonprofit sister organization to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA), conducted its first Maine Lobster Leadership Institute. The idea behind the Institute was simple: give young lobstermen and women the tools they need and encourage them to step into positions of leadership in an industry dominated by those over 50. The twelve men and women who took part in the first Institute spent one week learning about the management, science, and marketing of lobster before traveling to Prince Edward Island to see for themselves how lobstermen to the north operate. Now it is time to do it again.
Giving safety a competitive advantage
Falls overboard are the leading cause of death in the northeast lobster fishery, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies, and could largely be prevented with the regular use of personal flotation devices (PFDs).
Lobstermen from Maine and Massachusetts will be asked to try out existing, commercially available PFDs and to share what they like or don’t like about these designs. This information will be used to adjust existing designs whenever possible, then lobstermen will be given opportunities to try out these improved designs. A similar study was done with Alaskan fishermen, and one of the major takeaways from that study is that PFD design needs vary from fishery to fishery and from region to region. So the insights and experiences of lobstermen are very important.
The 18-member Council meets five to six times annually, usually for three consecutive days. Venues are chosen because of their proximity to New England ports or because they are centrally located to accommodate attendees.Please click HERE for this meeting’s agenda.
Notice of Agency Rule-Making Proposal
Chapter 25.04 Lobster Trawl Limits
25.93 Management Framework for Limiting Lobster Fishing Effort on a Local or Regional Basis – Operational Rules
25.96 Lobster Apprentice Program
This proposed rule-making addresses 1) expanding the Hancock County Trawl Limit area in Zone B, 2) amending the exit ratio for Zone B, 3) creating an exit ratio for Zone C, 4) amending the exit ratio for Zone E, 4) creating a separate waiting list for existing lobster license holders wishing to change their declared lobster zone (a “transfer” list) and 5) making minor clarifications for consistency with recent legislative changes.
This proposed rule-making proposes to expand the Hancock Country Trawl Limit area in Zone B. In this area it is unlawful to have more than 3 lobster traps on any trawl. One of the lobster zone council authorities is to propose the number of lobster traps allowed on a trawl. The Zone B Council is proposing to extend the western boundary of the Hancock County Trawl Limit line to the 6-mile line.
This proposed rule-making proposes to change the Zone B 5:1 exit ratio using the currency of lobster licenses not renewed to a 3:1 exit ratio using the currency of lobster license not renewed. At the Lobster Zone B Council meeting on September 21, 2016, there was a unanimous vote by the Zone B Council to advance this to rule-making.
This proposed rule-making also proposes to establish Zone C as a limited entry zone with an exit ratio of 1:1 using the currency of lobster licenses not renewed. At the Lobster Zone C Council meeting on September 8, 2016, there was a majority vote by the Zone C Council to advance to rule-making.
This proposed rule-making would also propose to change the Zone E 5:1 exit ratio currency from the number of trap tags associated with licenses not renewed to the number of licenses not renewed. At the Lobster Zone E Council meeting on February 29, 2016, there was a majority vote by the Zone E Council to advance this to rule-making.
For consistency with changes in statute, this proposed rule-making would also require that limited entry zones that opt to use trap tags retired in their exit ratio calculation, use the historic high of trap tags purchased, up to the current zone limit.
This proposed rule-making would also address the lobster waiting lists, which currently consists of both apprentices who do not have a lobster license, as well as individuals that do hold a lobster license, but are requesting to switch to a different lobster zone. The Legislature recently passed a law directing the Department of Marine Resources to remove those individuals who already hold a lobster license from the existing waiting list, and create a separate “transfer” waiting list, as authorized by 12 MRS §6448 . This rule-making proposes to create a single “transfer” list and make transfers “one for one” with no net increase from transfers in any zone. The Department of Marine Resources would authorize any such “swaps” until there were no matches remaining.
Finally, this proposed rule-making provides a clarification that if an individual completes the apprentice program in multiple zones, individuals would still be required to document at least the minimum of 1,000 fishing hours that is accumulated over a minimum of 200 calendar days in each desired zone. However, the minimum of the 24-month requirement is met 24 months from the date the individual logs their first day in the apprenticeship program.
Date, time and location of Public Hearings:
Monday, January 30, 2017, 6:00 PM, Ellsworth High School Cafeteria
Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 6:00 PM, Wiscasset Elementary School Cafeteria
Thursday, February 2, 2017, 6:00 PM, Portland City Hall, State of Maine Room
Comment Deadline: February 13, 2017
Contact Person for this filing:
NAME: Sarah Cotnoir (207-624-6596)
AGENCY: Department of Marine Resources
ADDRESS: 21 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0021
TELEPHONE: (207) 624-6596
FAX: (207) 624-6024
TTY: (207) 633-9500 (Deaf/Hard of Hearing)
The full text of the proposed rule is available at:
Notice of Agency Rulemaking Proposal – Chapter 25.04 Lobster Trawl Limits; 25.93 Management Framework for Limiting Lobster Fishing Effort on a Local or Regional Basis – Operational Rules; 25.96 Lobster Apprentice Program – Public Hearing Dates: January 30, 31, February 2, 2017 – Deadline for Comments: February 13, 2017– pdf file, 186 KB
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The agenda is subject to change. Bulleted items represent the anticipated major issues to be discussed or acted upon at the meeting. The final agenda will include additional items and may revise the bulleted items provided below. The agenda reflects the current estimate of time required for scheduled Board meetings. The Commission may adjust this agenda in accordance with the actual duration of Board meetings. Interested parties should anticipate Boards starting earlier or later than indicated herein.Find the Preliminary Agenda HERE.
Public Comment Guidelines
With the intent of developing policies in the Commission’s procedures for public participation that result in a fair opportunity for public input, the ISFMP Policy Board has approved the following guidelines for use at management board meetings:
For issues that are not on the agenda, management boards will continue to provide opportunity to the public to bring matters of concern to the board’s attention at the start of each board meeting. Board chairs will use a speaker sign-up list in deciding how to allocate the available time on the agenda (typically 10 minutes) to the number of people who want to speak.
For topics that are on the agenda, but have not gone out for public comment, board chairs will provide limited opportunity for comment, taking into account the time allotted on the agenda for the topic. Chairs will have flexibility in deciding how to allocate comment opportunities; this could include hearing one comment in favor and one in opposition until the chair is satisfied further comment will not provide additional insight to the board.
For agenda action items that have already gone out for public comment, it is the Policy Board’s intent to end the occasional practice of allowing extensive and lengthy public comments. Currently, board chairs have the discretion to decide what public comment to allow in these circumstances.
In addition, the following timeline has been established for the submission of written comment for issues for which the Commission has NOT established a specific public comment period (i.e., in response to proposed management action).
- Comments received 3 weeks prior to the start of a meeting week will be included in the briefing materials.
- Comments received by 5:00 PM January 24, 2017 will be distributed electronically to Commissioners/Board members prior to the meeting and a limited number of copies will be provided at the meeting.
- Following the Tuesday, January 24, 2017 5:00 PM deadline, the commenter will be responsible for distributing the information to the management board prior to the board meeting or providing enough copies for the management board consideration at the meeting (a minimum of 50 copies).
The submitted comments must clearly indicate the commenter’s expectation from the ASMFC staff regarding distribution. As with other public comment, it will be accepted via mail, fax, and email.