George's Outdoor News

George’s new outdoor issues blog. He goes all over the state. He listens. And he reports on issues of concern to sportsmen, conservationists, and environmentalists.

Will Maine legislators support fish and wildlife marketing?

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The following briefing paper and request, written by me, will be distributed in the Maine House of Representatives by Representative Bob Duchesne and in the Maine Senate by Senator Tom Saviello. If you care about this issue, please contact them and ask them to vote for Rep. Duchesne's bill to establish a marketing position and budget at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.


Message for Legislators

Confused by fishing rules? Get this app.

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                 When Ron Cote of West Gardiner called to tell me he’d created an app for Maine’s fishing rules, I knew immediately it would be popular. It wasn’t quite ready for sale, but he said he hoped to make it available in the next couple of months.

                Well, now he has, although so far it’s only available for Android phones, for $3.99. Because you download it to your phone, you don’t need internet service to access the information. The app works on your smartphone’s GPS so you’ll know where you are and what the rules are governing that lake or pond.

Going, going, gone – the Maine Fishing Initiative

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 This week I’ve been telling you about recommendations from a 2008 Angler’s Congress, and the comprehensive Maine Fishing Initiative created by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine following the Congress. In 2009 SAM proposed the Maine Fishing Initiative in a legislative bill, sponsored at our request by Representative Bob Duchesne.

Seventy one State Representatives and 24 State Senators had endorsed the Maine Fishing Initiative’s goals in their 2008 candidate survey. So it must have been enacted, you say? Well, you’d think so, but the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife opposed the bill, and it was defeated.

Maine Fishing Initiative - It's time to enact this!

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 In 2008, after gathering ideas at a statewide conference of organizations and clubs focused on fishing, the Fishing Initiative Committee of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine created this Maine Fishing Initiative, which SAM submitted as legislation in 2009. Seventy one State Representatives and 24 State Senators had endorsed the Maine Fishing Initiative’s goals in their 2008 candidate survey. Tomorrow I’ll tell you what happened to the initiative. Today, I present the goals, principles, and tactics that comprised the initiative.


Anglers Congress created Maine fishing initiative – in 2008.

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 It’s never too late – at least I hope not. The Sportsman’s Alliance organized an Anglers’ Congress in 2008, with statewide participation by many organizations and clubs, to create a state fishing initiative. As Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife works this year to create new fisheries management plans, the suggestions of the Anglers’ Congress provide excellent direction and ideas. Here they are.

General Themes

There is no accountability at DIF&W for the decisions, plans, and policies created by fisheries biologists (including no financial accountability).

An underfunded unresponsive system has caused a decline in Maine’s fishery and number of anglers.

DIF&W does not grasp the economic value of anglers as other states have done.

We are unable to interact effectively with DIF&W.

Fishery management problems are not new – but it’s time to fix them

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 It’s always good to look back, as we look ahead, and that is especially true as we work on new fisheries management plans. And I urge you to step up and take advantage of a new opportunity offered by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife by expressing your opinions and concerns in DIF&W’s online forum, which you can access here.

2002 Review

In 2002, the Management Assistance Team of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies reviewed DIF&W’s fisheries management program, thanks to successful legislation proposed by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine where I worked as executive director. Here is some of what we learned in the MATT report.

I’m volunteering to help reduce Italy’s out-of-control wild boar population

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 They’re calling my name, those beautiful hills of Tuscany, where wild boar and deer are chowing down on the grape vines and grapes and endangering my favorite wines.

A friend sent me the news story, written by Gaia Pianigiani and published in the New York Times on March 7, which started out this way:

GAIOLE IN CHIANTI, Italy — Fences are rising. There is talk of a brutal and destructive insurgency, invasions and a slaughter that could include hundreds of thousands in the years ahead. If that sounds something like a war, the battlefield is the prized vineyards of Chianti, Italy’s vaunted wine region in the heart of the rolling hills of Tuscany.

And the enemy? An exploding population of voracious wild boars and deer that savor the sugary grapes and the vines’ tender sprouts, but that are also part of the region’s famed landscape, hunting traditions and cuisine.

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