- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A panel of the Maine Legislature has postponed its vote on a bill that could have far-reaching implications for the state’s lobster industry.

Changes before the committee are designed to accelerate the process of getting new lobstermen off the license waiting list, which has nearly 300 names. It can take a decade for a young lobsterman to get a license.

The Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources considered the changes on Wednesday and requested more information. The committee will revisit the issue on Feb. 24.

The proposed changes come as the state is experiencing record-high annual catches. Maine lobsters were worth a record of nearly $457 million at the docks in 2014.

Some veteran lobstermen and trade groups say they fear allowing too many new people into the fishery.

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