By Sheila Dassatt

        In the September issue of Maine Coastal News, I wrote an article entitled “Do the Simon Says.”  Just to sum it up, in case you hadn’t read it, with all that has been expected of the Maine lobster fishery concerning Atlantic Right Whales, we are expected to do more without proving the test of time for the changes that we have already made.  So I said it was like the game, Simon Says, which is a child’s game and we are all being treated that way. In that respect, we do all of these changes, which include time and money,  and if we don’t say Simon Says, we have to go back and do it all over again.

This is exactly what is happening to all of us, with a great turnout in our defense. I don’t want to bore you with the same subject each month, but this issue is very serious for our livelihoods and needs to stay updated  for your information.

I have been reading the social media posts, newspaper articles, watching the news, and staying involved ourselves with just trying to stay on top of all that is happening.  With all of this in mind, we still have to make a living!  (or try).  I just read the letter that the Maine delegation has sent to the Monterey Bay Aquarium concerning the “red list” that they have put us on.  It is a very good and supportive letter on our behalf.  A lot of what was said, I found myself saying in last month’s article about being guilty until proven innocent.  I’m glad to see that we are all starting to feel that way.  As a matter of fact, if you want to join us by sending a letter, here is the contact information:  Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly-Vice President of Global Ocean Initiatives, Monterey Bay Aquarium, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA  93940.  At this point in time, to my knowledge, there has been no reversal of the “red list” accusation.

This letter that I’m referring to was signed by:  Angus S. King, Jr. – U. S. Senator, Susan M. Collins – U. S. Senator, Chellie Pingree – Member of Congress, Jared Golden – Member of Congress and Janet T. Mills – Governor of Maine.  One of the quotes in this letter is:  “In any fair system of justice or public proceeding, it’s required to provide evidence of wrongdoing before a verdict can be rendered – innocent until proven guilty.  The process you have undertaken turn this principle on its head.  How would you like to be the defendant in a process where the standard is guilty until proven innocent?”

“You have appointed yourself Judge, Jury, and Executioner of the Maine lobster industry-ignoring the clear fact, and not meeting even the most basic burden of proof before coming to a conclusion.”  So this is an exert from the letter that was sent.  When I think about this, it is like our industry is sitting on the “Green Mile” just waiting for how they are going to do us in.  Or in that case, you get to choose your demise, correct?  Which is kind of like these meetings that we are all invited to, “give us more ideas.”

Well, this all sounds like gloom and doom, I admit, but we do not want to give in to this.  I can’t help but think of the generations before us and the next generation coming up.  We are known to be stewards of the sea and when people are in need, the lobstermen and women are the first ones to lend a helping hand.  I can’t leave out the folks that have arrived to take pictures, buy lobsters and literally talk with us at the dock.  Since this latest development, people have been arriving and talking with us in support of our industry here in Maine.

It is obvious that there has to be more to this agenda than just saving whales.  We know that the windmills represent big money for a lot of folks and politicians that are involved with them….green energy, correct?  You see, I used to work with the shipping industry as well, and I receive shipping magazines that keep me updated with their green energy progress. The latest quote that I read goes as this:  “The Biden administration’s just announced plans to jump start U. S. Offshore wind will generate a boom in demand for specialized Jones Act-compliant vessels and services.  To help give you the insights needed to meet the needs of the new market, we have launched a new weekly newsletter.”

I will keep the news magazine anonymous, but the next quote says “we will host a pod cast and webcast series focusing on the latest offshore wind farm development, policy and regulation and the implications for U. S. shipyards and vessel operators.”  I receive this information every month, and I feel that it’s time that I share this with you.

We need to stay on top of our challenges, but I believe that the court system should treat us with the same fairness that was mentioned in the letter that was sent by our Maine delegation.  “Simon says” that we are not guilty of anything and should be treated as such. We don’t give up easily, and need to work together.  We have a lot of good people on our side, I truly believe that.