Northeast
AMANDA GOKEE / Concord Monitor

NH - Senate rejects lobster licenses for recreational scuba divers

Lobsters were the unlikely subject of a lively debate on the Senate floor Thursday, culminating in the chamber voting down a bill that would have granted lobster licenses for recreational scuba divers.

Lobsters were the unlikely subject of a lively debate on the Senate floor Thursday, culminating in the chamber voting down a bill that would have granted lobster licenses for recreational scuba divers.

Opponents of House Bill 1297 said it could harm the state’s commercial lobster industry, which makes up 70 percent of the value of the state’s commercial catch. In testimony, the chief of marine fisheries for New Hampshire Fish and Game, Cheri Patterson, pointed to an economic model estimating it contributes $132 million to the state economy. Opponents of the measure also said scuba divers harvesting lobster could damage the coastal environment, potentially harming lobster populations.

Sen. Kevin Avard, a Nashua Republican and co-sponsor of the bill, spoke in favor of the measure. “All this is doing is allowing scuba divers to grab a couple of lobsters, to bring them home. They’re not allowed to sell them. You gain some revenue because there has to be a fee,” he said.

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