Governor Mills Signs Into Law Her Bill to Protect Sustenance Fishing for Maine Tribes

Joined by Maine Tribal leaders and lawmakers, Governor Janet Mills today signed into law LD 1775, An Act to Protect Sustenance Fishing, introduced by Speaker Sara Gideon on the Governor’s behalf. The legislation, which passed the Legislature with near unanimous support, establishes in Maine for the first time water quality standards designed to protect sustenance fishing in certain waters for Maine tribes.

“This legislation is an important example of the meaningful progress we can achieve when state government works in good faith with the Tribes to address our challenges,” said Governor Mills. “By signing this bill into law, we are establishing stronger water quality standards, preserving the time-honored tradition of sustenance fishing, and strengthening the relationship between the State of Maine and the Tribes. I thank Maine’s Tribal representatives for their partnership on this important issue, Commissioner Reid for his work in spearheading the bill, and Speaker Gideon for shepherding it through the Legislature with strong bipartisan support.”

Governor Mills signs LD 1775

“The time is long past due that we show Tribal communities in Maine that their concerns are our concerns, and that we take action to address them responsibly—and address them together," said Speaker Sara Gideon."That's what we've done with this new law, and I applaud the Governor and her Administration for working in collaboration and partnership with Tribal communities in Maine to move us forward on this issue.”

“It was a pleasure working collaboratively with Tribal leaders and representatives in the development of this legislation,” said Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, Jerry Reid. “It marks an important achievement both in terms of environmental protection, but also shows how we can work together successfully to address issues of common concern.”

LD 1775 establishes a new designated use of sustenance fishing in Maine's Water Classification Law and the most protective fish consumption rate in the country for select waters in Maine. The law will take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the Legislature.