Robert F. Bukaty/AP
Elvers are prized by Maine tribes for both their price and their cultural value.

Passamaquoddy Tribe Amends Fishery Law to Protect Its Citizens From State Threat

Gale Courey Toensing

“We’re going with a dip net only fishery for conservation purposes,” Lewey said. “I would ask the state to do the same but they’re not going to.”

Non-tribal fishermen interviewed by ABC News affiliate WMTW 8 said they were not focused on conservation, telling the news station that the new individual-quota system imposed by the state “has put a damper on the season's opening but they will try and make as much money as they can,” the report noted.

Lewey said the tribe asserted its sovereignty in making the decision. Each tribal fisher will bear a tribally issued license and a statement from the tribal government that reads, “This license is issued pursuant to the inherent rights of the Passamaquoddy Tribe as secured under various treaties and federal law, and as implemented through the Tribe’s Fisheries Management Plan Governing Salt Water Hunting, Fishing and Gathering.”

Socobasin said tribal leaders have done everything in their power to ensure access and safety for tribal members who will fish on the rivers of Passamaquoddy territory.

“We have done our job,” Socobasin said. “We have the inherent power to regulate how our fishers engage with the state. We made a difficult but necessary decision, and we will go to the rivers where we have since the very beginning. We will never stop. It is who we are.”


You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page