New rules could allow Maine's unbridged islands to hang onto licenses when relinquished by local fishermen, or even increase the number of licenses available for islanders. That could give younger residents a chance to stay and fish when older lobstermen quit or retire, and in the long run it could help preserve a way of life.
Jeff Putnam of Chebeague Island, speaking by cell phone from his 40-foot lobsterboat, said the law is "definitely" a good idea. "I really think it's necessary. It's more for the sustainability of the island community than for the fishermen."