Squid fishing concerns on docket in Kittery

By Deborah McDermott
September 03, 2014 2:00 AM

NOFISHINGKITTERY, Maine — The Kittery Port Authority will be holding a workshop Thursday to discuss recent concerns that have been raised about squid fishing at Pepperrell Cove.

The KPA at its July meeting voted to put up signs prohibiting squid fishing, after boat owners complained squid ink was staining dinghies. KPA Chairman Bob Melanson has said the ink has also stained the newly opened float system there.

But there have been concerns that the KPA has no authority to ban the practice if it is done by licensed fishermen. Over the summer, people also complained to Town Manager Nancy Colbert Puff that the KPA would need to change its rules and regulations, which would require a public hearing. That has not yet occurred, according to KPA agendas.

The squid fishing has been done in the overnight hours, when at least one squid fisherman said as many as 30 people are at the cove. That fisherman, James Forbes of Kittery, charged the KPA with actions “bordering on racist” for banning the practice, as many of the squid fishermen are Asian.

That statement is something Melanson strongly contested, saying the KPA’s sole concern for taking action was to stop the fishermen from defacing public and private property. At a recent Town Council meeting, Councilor Chuck Denault agreed. He said the issue “places a cloud” over the KPA that he doesn’t believe it deserves. He did, however, suggest that the KPA and other boards take sensitivity training offered by the Maine Municipal Association.

The workshop is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, at Town Hall.