LUBEC, Maine — Maine’s two U.S. representatives are trying again to make it easier for seafood dealers to send sea urchins and sea cucumbers out of the country.

Reps. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, and Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, says mandatory inspections of urchins and cucumbers cause perishable products to be held so long that they spoil.

They say the inspections are repetitive and not necessary. Their bill would put an end to them.

Pingree says sea urchin roe is critically important to Maine’s economy, as it brings in $25 million annually and employs some 650 people. Much of it eventually heads to Japan.

Poliquin says the current rules make the already taxing jobs of diving for and processing urchins more difficult.

The two representatives supported a similar measure last year.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.