Conservation groups and state officials are launching a new strategy to save coastal Maine's fishing communities.
Three non-profit groups announced they have created the state's first "permit banks" by purchasing fishing rights and sharing them with local fishermen. In these cases, the fishing rights — days at sea — are being given out to Down East or midcoast fishermen who help study and rebuild fish populations.
Maine's Department of Marine Resources, meanwhile, is developing a state permit bank using $1 million in federal fisheries assistance. DMR officials planned to meet today to finalize details of that bank, which will buy and lease fishing days to fishermen who need additional access to stay in business.