Letter to President Trump: Help halt suffocating regulations on Maine’s lobster industry

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December 17, 2019

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump,

I hope you, the First Lady, and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thank you for taking the time to visit our brave troops in Afghanistan. The Poliquin family had a special celebration, including a visit with my only son, Sam, whom you met during Christmas 2017 at the White House.

I’m asking for your help, Mr. President, with an urgent situation that is hurting 10,000 hardworking Maine lobstermen and their crews. These independent small business owners and their delicious catch are the backbone of Maine’s prized coastal economy.  

Your help solving this issue will be a visible example of supporting Maine and America’s rural economy and jobs. These workers and their families are your most loyal backers. 

On Election Day 2016, you worked hard to win Maine’s one electoral vote from our 2nd District, which I represented in Congress from 2015 to 2018. This expansive district includes one-half of our breathtaking coastline, stretching from midcoast Maine to Canada. 

For generations our commercial lobster fishermen, working in concert with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, have sustained one of the healthiest and most valuable fisheries in the world. They are careful and thoughtful to protect their livelihoods, as well as our pristine natural environment for all to enjoy.

As you know, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the part of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), which regulates Maine’s lobster fishery. Since June 2017, nine North Atlantic right whales have died along the U.S. coast, none as the result of Maine lobstermen. Twenty-one others perished along the Canadian coast primarily because of ship strikes and entanglement in the trap lines of Canadian fishermen.

The only recorded right whale entanglement in Maine lobster gear was more than 15 years ago, in 2002. That’s because our lobstermen have already taken effective measures to adjust their lines and other gear to protect right whales. As the data shows, the initiatives have been successful. 

Even though the data concludes that Maine lobstermen have not caused recent right whale deaths, NOAA is considering a drastic 50% reduction in the number of vertical trap lines allowed by Maine lobstermen, threatening their ability to earn a living. It’s not fair for our lobstermen to be punished. They did nothing wrong. 

I know you care deeply about hardworking Americans struggling in economically disadvantaged parts of the county. One such place is rural, Downeast Maine where our rugged lobster fishermen harvest one of the world’s most iconic delicacies in an unforgiving marine environment.

Right now, stakeholders in Maine are in the final discussions with your NOAA officials. I ask you please, Mr. President, to call on your DOC Secretary Wilbur Ross to make sure we fix this serious situation. 

We need every Trump supporter to show up at the polls next November like they did in 2016. Please use this opportunity to do what’s right, while also showing how much you care about 10,000 hearty Maine lobstermen, their crews and their families. Your action would be a greatly appreciated Christmas gift to the hardworking people of Maine.

I look forward to welcoming you to God’s Country next year, and helping you again win at least Maine’s one electoral vote from our 2nd Congressional District. 

My very best wishes to the entire Trump family for a blessed and joyous Christmas! 


Bruce Poliquin
Former Congressman, Maine’s 2nd District

CC: Mr. Wilbur Ross
Secretary of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20230

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