Tags: lepage | maine | fishing | rights

Maine Indian Tribe in Bitter Fight With LePage Over Fishing

Tuesday, 02 Apr 2013 01:38 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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An Indian tribe has accused Maine Gov. Paul LePage of being “loud, enraged, and demanding’’ during a meeting over fishing rights, The Bangor Daily News reports.

The state wants to cut the number of nets the Passamaquoddy — a Native American tribe of 2,500 who speak both English and the ancient Passamaquoddy-Maliseet — use to fish baby eels, called elversin, from the St. Croix River.

But a teleconference with the governor’s office to hash out a possible compromise turned ugly, tribe leaders say.

“He’s going to try to hold us hostage, that’s what he’s going to do . . . I heard it. I heard his tone. There was no mistake,” Newell Lewey, a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribal Council, told the News.

“Gov. LePage also threatened he would shut down the entire fishery.’’

At present, the tribe casts up to 575 nets. The state claims that’s way too many and wants to cut the number to 150.

The newspaper reports rumors are swirling that LePage has threatened to call the National Guard to help enforce the state’s rules. But repeated efforts to contact LePage’s press secretary this week were unsuccessful, the paper added.

In recent years, the price of elvers, a delicacy, has skyrocketed because of a worldwide shortage.

Maine is now one of the primary sources of elvers, which can cost up to a $1,000 a pound.



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