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2022 License And Other Fees To Be Reimbursed

Gov. Janet Mills announced in late June that commercial fishermen and aquaculture operators will be reimbursed their 2022 license and tag fees. The Department of Marine Resources will use $8.3 million in federal funds from the Consolidated Appropriations Act to reimburse the costs of commercial harvesting licenses, as well as the initial fees for tags required for each lobster trap. To be eligible for reimbursement, the license must be a renewal of a commercial license held in 2021 and the license holder must have been 18 years or older as of January 2022. The department is extending the reimbursement offer to dealers and processors as well. It will waive and reimburse 2022 commercial aquaculture lease fees through a separate process.

“I think everyone in the industry appreciates the opportunity to have that little bit of extra cash at a time when the season is just beginning,” said Dustin Delano, a Friendship lobsterman and vice-president of the Maine Lobsterman’s Association in an interview with the Portland Press Herald.

“Obviously fuel is about double, bait is almost double,” he said. “Everything you buy is that way… everything you need is higher, and lobster is lower than it was last year. Lobster doesn’t seem to be going up with inflation, so it’s going to be tricky.”

The state will process reimbursement payments quarterly through the end of 2022. It is currently processing reimbursements for 2022 licenses sold between Nov. 15 and March 31. Next, the department will process reimbursements for licenses sold between April 1 and June 30. Dealers will be reimbursed after the 2022 dealer licensing year ends on March 31, 2023.

Delano also holds a menhaden license and a dealer license for buying and selling bait. With reimbursement for those license fees and for his lobster license and tags, he expects to receive several thousand dollars back from the state.

Delano said he is planning on donating that money to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s Legal Defense Fund, and he has heard that some other lobstermen will be doing the same. “The way I look at it, it’s money I already spent, and we really need every penny we can get to help with our legal fight,” he said.

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