Meeting Minutes

Advisory Council Meeting
September 17, 2020 @ 9:30 a.m.
Inland Fisheries and Wildlife ((This council meeting was held during Governor Mill's State of Emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic limiting the ability to hold public meetings. Participation was by video conference - Microsoft TEAMS meeting))


Judy Camuso, Commissioner
Timothy Peabody, Deputy Commissioner
Nate Webb, Wildlife Division Director
Francis Brautigam, Fisheries Division Director
Becky Orff, Secretary/Recorder

Matt Thurston (Chair)
Jerry Scribner (Vice-Chair)
Brian Smith
Al Cowperthwaite
Shawn Sage
Kristin Peet
Lindsay Ware
Shelby Rousseau
Vacancy in Piscataquis/Somerset Cty

34 additional Department staff and members of the public

I. Call to Order

Council Chair, Matt Thurston called the meeting to order.

II. Introductions

Introductions were made.

III. Acceptance of Minutes of Previous Meeting

Amotion was made by Mr. Smith to approve the minutes of the previous meeting and that was seconded by Mr. Sage.

Vote: unanimous - minutes approved.

IV. Rulemaking

A. Step 3

  1. Bear Feeding Rule Petition

Commissioner Camuso stated the Department gave a thorough overview of our opinion on the proposal at Step . Jen Vashon gave a review of public comments as well as the Department's considerations and why we did not support the petitioner's request.

A motion was made by Mr. Thurston that the proposed rule change ought not to pass and that was seconded by Mr. Smith.

Vote: The seven (7) members present voted unanimously ought not to pass. (Mr. Cowperthwaite was not present at the time of the vote.)

B. Step 2

  1. Fishing Regulations/State Heritage Waters 2021

Mr. Brautigam stated as part of the Department's commitment to make the public more aware of our rulemaking process we utilized .Gov delivery with an email blast on August 12, 2020 that went to about 147,000 members of the public. In addition, we reached over 20,000 individuals through a Facebook post. Public comment closed on September 10, 2020 and we received 75 written comments. Many of the comments gravitated towards one of three areas, Cushman Pond, Moosehead Lake and Big Reed. The public hearing that was held had three members of the public participating and all three submitted testimony. Overall, public input had been positive but there were always areas of individual water concerns. We also received comments that were not germane to the proposal, but something for future consideration. We also responded to public questions regarding the rule packet. Sometimes there was misinformation or misunderstanding about what was being proposed and we were diligent in trying to provide information back to the public so they were more accurately aware of what we were trying to accomplish. The theme bundling used for the proposals seemed well received and helped the public orient to what was in the packet and better clarify what the intent of the rule bundles were.

Mr. Brautigam stated on Moosehead Lake, the public comments were overall very supportive. The ones that werent suggested alternative strategies that the Department had previously considered. There wasnt any additional information that came in through public comment that represented information the Department had not considered in the development of its rule proposal. What Tim Obrey put together and developed in the draft proposal represented an appropriate balance between resource interests while also providing meaningful angling opportunities. There were a number of comments suggesting we had not gone far enough. Mr. Brautigam felt the proposal struck the right balance there.

Mr. Brautigam stated on Big Reed Pond, the comments that came in expressed some concern. The concern was mostly uncertainty regarding whether the charr population had actually recovered to a point that we could reestablish a rule regimen that was historically in place. If you looked at some of the earlier planning that went on with Big Reed the plan was to reestablish those rules once we had an established restored population. There were some that had concerns with reallowing some of the terminal tackle restrictions that were allowed under artificial lures only (ALO). There was a general recognition that use on Big Reed Pond, because it was a remote pond, was very low. Most of the use was supported by a couple of guides that worked the water and managed their clients there. They would have an influence, ultimately on what was harvested or gear type used. A strong sentiment was expressed by some of the public that the rules that we were proposing at Big Reed did not align with the agencys commitment to conservation there. Mr. Brautigam stated he took exception to that perspective. While the rules were not necessarily focused on conservation, they were consistent with our long-term planning and management of the resource. The comment was made more the perception of optics, how did it look in a water with a high value resource that we were now allowing people the opportunity potentially to harvest. Was that sending the wrong message? The Departments perspective, one of the challenges we had in a statewide context was that people had gotten to a point where they felt releasing fish was a good thing and they were doing it so much now it had created some challenges in our ability to create harvest and to help managers to improve the quality of the fisheries in the state.

Mr. Brautigam stated it was mentioned the proposal at Big Reed was born out of a public request. One of the outfitters, Bradford Camps, had reached out to regional biologist Frank Frost expressing concern that his clients were not able to have successful fishing trips later in the season. He was looking to explore the prospect of a liberalized terminal gear provision that would allow people that may be less skilled to have the opportunity to catch a charr which were very deep dwelling later in the season. There was another guide, Matt Libby, who had guides that were very proficient at catching charr with a fly rod. Other guides were not as proficient. So, there were some that were very happy keeping things the way they were for FFO because they had figured out how to catch the fish and their clients were happy. Other clients were struggling and they would like some of the same success. It had always been the Departments plan, even from the onset of rebuilding the population at Big Reed to reestablish reasonable opportunities for limited harvest. The proposal was very consistent with Department plans and certainly supported interest by at least one of the two prominent guides on the water.

Mr. Brautigam stated there were a couple of comments related to the integrity of the data that was used to make a determination that the charr population had recovered there. We had previously conducted telemetry work on the pond in an effort to identify where Arctic charr were spawning. That was to facilitate collections and private culture of the fish for restocking. None of the work using telemetry equipment in any way had any benefit or influence on our status sampling that we did there to determine whether or not a recovery had been realized. Status assessment we conducted was done with gill nets during the summertime, not in the fall. Information on where the charr were in the fall in no way biased any of the sampling that was conducted during the summer months. There was no way he or staff would advance any rule proposals that would undermine the integrity and health of the Arctic charr population. We were committed to conserving the resource into the future and provide a variety of use opportunities in managing that resource. Looking at the other Arctic charr waters, we did allow harvest. There were a few where we did not such as Floods Pond because it was a water district pond and closed to fishing. We currently did not allow harvest on Big Reed and Wadleigh Ponds. We did not allow harvest at Wadleigh because the charr population was still in recovery and we hadnt made an assessment in determining whether the population had recovered. When it was determined the population had recovered we would revisit the regulations that should be in place to manage the resource into the future. By practice, we did allow some limited harvest on all our Arctic charr populations in support of recreational fishing and to provide recreational anglers with a diversity of opportunities including harvesting a fish.

Mr. Brautigam stated the bulk of the comments received on the rule packet pertained to Cushman Pond. It had been the focus of a nearly 20-year milfoil eradication effort. It never had very heavy infestations of milfoil, but it was present and the local community had been working diligently to remove and eradicate milfoil from that water. It appeared they were successful based on recent reports. There was a perception that milfoil was established in that water as the result of bait harvesting. It could not be confirmed, but maybe possible. Many of the commercial harvesters were using gear type that was more difficult to clean and disinfect, primarily sweep seines. Nets remained wet, there were a lot of folds and surface area that allowed for material to become entangled and unless there were deliberate actions to sort through and dry out the nets there were opportunities for plants to be moved inadvertently by transferring nets to different water bodies. It was for that reason the Department had really looked at the commercial and recreational harvest of bait fish very closely. We determined that using sweep seines was a high-risk gear type for translocating invasive plants. We looked at use of bait traps which were much smaller and made of non-porous materials which could be easily inspected and cleaned. We looked at the use of bait traps as a low risk gear type for transporting and translocating invasive plants. In the mid-2000s we established a policy as it related to commercial harvest of baitfish on waters that were infested with invasive plants. On waters that had established populations of invasive plants, we prohibited the use of sweep seines because of the higher risk of translocation. We did allow the use of bait traps because we viewed that as a low risk gear type that could be fished with minimum risk for translocating invasive plants. In Maine we were fortunate to have well established baitfish populations that supported long traditions of people fishing with baitfish. There was an important economy that revolved around commercial harvest and retail sale of baitfish. We wanted to ensure that we maintained baitfishing opportunities and had a strong local source of clean baitfish. If there were reduced opportunities and ability to satisfy the retail baitfish market in Maine, it would create strong incentives for baitfish to come in from outside the state. Even though it was illegal to import from outside the state, that didnt preclude people from taking advantage of financial incentives to bring fish from outside the state into Maine. Along with fish that came in from outside the state were other things that accompanied them including invertebrates and mollusks.

Mr. Brautigam stated at Cushman Pond a lot of misinformation had been circulated as it related to what we were proposing. Two years ago, we had opened Cushman Pond to harvest using bait traps for commercial harvest which was consistent with what we allowed on all the other waters that were infested with invasive milfoil. We had a rule in place on Cushman Pond that prohibited recreational harvest. The proposed change was to create consistency between commercial and recreational interests. We were trying to understand how allowing recreational anglers to harvest bait would impact ongoing efforts to eradicate milfoil and we had not received a good answer. Mr. Brautigam thought a lot of the concerns the public had on Cushman Pond was more related to the perception that it was the bait dealers that brought in the milfoil to begin with and if we allowed people to continue to harvest with gear types including traps that might create a low risk of reestablishing milfoil back into the waterway. At a recent meeting that Jim Pellerin conducted with the local community it was very productive and generated some very constructive comments for recommendations. Some of the recommendations were not related to the rule proposal but were related to additional efforts the Department should consider to better manage commercial bait harvest including the development of some biosecurity protocols and expectations, maybe license conditions, in terms of what the bait dealers should be expected to do in terms of cleaning and gear inspections between water types. The Department supported that and planned to move forward with the recommendation. They had also requested additional messaging in the lawbook. Adding some increased awareness regarding moving gear types between waters was valid and something we would explore further.

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mr. Scribner stated he thought the public comments by and large had been very complimentary. From a biological perspective, it was his opinion they had done a wonderful job even with Cushman Pond and Big Reed Pond questions. His concern moving forward was, we had the biological end of the discussion and from an Advisory Council perspective, there was also a responsibility on their part to understand and hear the public comments. In terms of Cushman Pond, they had been inundated with input against the proposal. Going forward to Step 3, he wondered if this wasnt a situation whereby recognizing the publics concern regarding Cushman Pond if we were not losing something. We needed the public support going forward with any of the proposals and given the body of work was so welcomed by the public he hoped when they went to Step 3 that we were able to balance the public comments with the biological reasoning and responses and see whether or not we wanted to make any edits to the proposal based on one or two bodies of water going forward.

Mrs. Peet stated we all had bodies of water that we loved in the state and she would be devastated if the lake she loved became infested with milfoil so she felt for the community and folks that worked so diligently to remove the milfoil from Cushman Pond. She also heard Mr. Brautigams comments about baitfish and did not want to see anything imported from out of state. She wondered if this one pond would make a significant difference in the bait dealers. Did we know how many bait dealers were working out of Cushman Pond?

Mr. Brautigam stated it was a small water. The proposal would only allow recreational anglers to harvest for personal use. We were already allowing commercial harvest on the water, that was not in play. The only proposal in play was whether or not we also allow recreational anglers to put in a bait trap to collect bait for personal use. There were probably a few local people that would use the pond on occasion to harvest for personal use.

Mrs. Peet asked if they were required to use box traps as opposed to nets.

Mr. Brautigam stated the only group of people in Maine that could use any kind of nets were commercial fisherman. Recreational fishermen could only use the rigid bait traps. At Cushman Pond even though the pond was open to commercial harvest, it was only open to commercial using bait traps. We viewed the nets as being a high risk of translocation which was why we did not allow their use on any of the waters that had milfoil.

Mr. Smith asked how many acres the pond was and what types of baitfish were there.

Mr. Brautigam stated it was approximately 50 acres and there were golden shiners there. It historically was a reclaimed trout pond and now there were suckers, bullheads and a pretty good mix of other things that had ended up in the waterway. It was predominantly golden shiners. Mr. Sage stated on Big Reed, what was the capacity of fish allowed to be harvested without effecting all the hard work that had been done there.

Mr. Brautigam stated looking back prior to 2008 when we did allow harvest, now with the current catch and release ethic and the fact this was a remote pond most people were coming in with a guide and they were probably going to continue to advocate for catch and release. There wouldnt be much harvest opportunity occurring. Charr were a difficult fish to catch especially later in the season even if we allowed ALO which was what we had prior to 2008. He could not give a specific number of fish that would have to come out to affect the integrity of the fishery. Under the new strategic plan that was being drafted, we were going to be monitoring Arctic charr waters on a more regular basis.

Mr. Sage asked if it were possible to set up a permitting system or lottery for a set number of fish to be removed. He assumed they would need guides to get set up to fish there and there would be more control. He assumed Arctic charr were a trophy fish and hard to catch similar to moose.

Mr. Brautigam stated he felt a lottery would be challenging to implement on a small water when looking at the scope of our management responsibilities statewide. He didnt feel there were a lot of people that would harvest fish there. Some may want to try one to eat or there may be a situation where they felt the fish they caught would not survive because of water temperature or the way it was hooked. It provided the opportunity for some harvest, but there would not be any meaningful harvest that would occur by reestablishing the rules that we previously had in place that did maintain a good viable population.

Ms. Ware stated Mr. Brautigam mentioned a meeting with the local community and getting some constructive feedback. She was curious when they were talking to people if there was an understanding of the explanations having to do with the bait traps being a lower risk way of trapping bait. The Council understood, but they wanted to make sure the people that were having concerns were also understanding. They saw the comments but were not always sure there was an understanding in return of the explanation and clarification. Some people were confused as to what the proposal really was, a lot of the comments were on commercial trapping.

Mr. Brautigam stated Jim Pellerin conducted the meeting on behalf of the Department. The meeting addressed a number of misunderstandings that were floating around. Anything that could bring in a plant, that was something they viewed as unacceptable. There were a lot of people that were not aware there were different gear types that were in play. We were able to provide some clarity in distinguishing the risk levels with the different gear types. The people that lived on the water and made the investments they had were very committed to maintaining a water that was free of milfoil and we certainly wanted to see the same outcome and supported those efforts. We were trying to balance risk and benefit in all user groups, this was a public water of the state not a private pond.

Ms. Ware stated she just wanted to know once they were provided with more information if there was understanding or if they were still opposed even with the low risk.

Mr. Brautigam stated they would like the Department to delay implementing the rule change to allow recreational harvest for personal use for 10 years. He could not justify or explain why the delay would be meaningful, but it was requested.

Ms. Ware asked if we felt a lot of the local community missed when it was changed for commercial harvest. The comments indicated a lot of people were unaware that happened.

Mr. Brautigam stated the effort that was changed involved changing lists that we manage that currently did not go through a rulemaking process.

Mr. Cowperthwaite stated his experience with Big Reed Pond and the access difficulties to get there and the two guides that fished it, he was comfortable with what the Department had proposed.

Mr. Thurston stated with Moosehead Lake he got the sense we hadnt gone far enough, but the Department going forward with the proposal and protecting a wonderful natural resource that was growing trophy fish was a step in the right direction. Most people he spoke with wanted to protect it even more. It was a wonderful thing when there was so much support and they felt passionate about protecting that resource. On Big Reed Pond, he thought Mr. Cowperthwaites comments held a lot of perspective because he was very familiar with that. Catch and release, and he used the example of lake trout on Sebago Lake, they had a hard time getting people to support them to eliminate some of the lake trout. Catch and release was huge and he felt the Department was accurate saying that most individuals that caught an Arctic charr would be more apt to let the fish go. People were very concerned about the resource because it was a prize or a trophy and they loved the opportunity to catch one. Nothing hurt an angler more than when you put a fish back in the water and knew it would die and not be able to bring it home, the opportunity to do that seemed right. On Cushman Pond, he represented Cumberland County and had a couple of high-profile bait dealers that lived in the district and contacted him regularly about the state limiting their ability to harvest bait. He thought consistency was the answer. Last year, some bait dealers in the Sebago region had a bait shortage. They were going all over the state to try to meet the demands. It was a lot of kids and was part of the R3 initiative, the kids loved to go out and recreate and if we couldnt provide them ample opportunity for bait and things of that nature, we were going to be in trouble. We needed to utilize all resources of Maine especially if they were public resources. Mr. Thurston asked Mr. Brautigam if Cushman Pond had a public boat launch.

Mr. Brautigam stated he believed it was town owned. The water was closed to motorboats.

Mr. Thurston stated that was important to know, some of the small ponds had an observer there to go over the boat trailer for inspection. With some information to the recreational people that would be taking bait, which he thought was a pretty small group of people. He would like to know if there were any commercial bait fishermen there within the last two years since the change.

Mr. Brautigam stated he thought one of Mr. Thurstons constituents had been there. He put in a few bait traps, he was a commercial license holder, while he was in the area deer hunting. There was little use on the commercial side there.

There were no further questions or comments.

C. Step 1

  1. Notched Pond horsepower restriction petition

Commissioner Camuso stated the Department received a valid petition. The proposal would be advertised and open for public comment beginning September 23, 2020. There would be a public hearing on October 15, 2020. It was a request to add Notched Pond in Gray to limit it to watercraft with motors 10 horsepower or less. Along with their petition they listed reasons why they thought it was important for the Department to consider. It was a small pond so their feeling was watercraft with greater than 10 horsepower compromised safety of people swimming, using small watercraft, destroyed the natural shoreline, caused destruction, loss of property, decreased property value, decreased water quality and cleanliness, etc. The petition was brought forward to the Department by residents in the area looking to limit the horsepower on the body of water.

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mrs. Rousseau asked how many acres the pond was and what was the average depth of the deepest part.

Commissioner Camuso stated it was 77 acres and 21 feet at its deepest.

Mr. Brautigam stated there was no public access to the pond, it was privately accessed. It was interesting the regulation request came forward it appeared they were policing themselves.

Mr. Thurston stated probably someone had a big boat on the lake and others were not happy.

Mr. Brautigam stated Notched Pond was a water that did not have public access, there were no real opportunities unless you knew someone on the water to get access. On parts of the pond some of the roads were gated. It was just the people on the water that were going to be affected by the proposal.

Mrs. Rousseau asked if the fishery was managed by the Department.

Mr. Brautigam stated because there was no public access the Department did not actively manage the fishery. It predominantly supported warm water species.

There were no further questions or comments.

  1. Predator killing contests prohibition petition

Commissioner Camuso stated this was a petition brought forward to the Department. The public hearing was scheduled for October 6, 2020 via Teams. The comment period was open, and we had received comments. The petition included more than just predator hunting, and she asked Nate Webb to give an overview.

Mr. Webb stated the proposal would make a number of changes regarding coyote hunting and management in general. It would establish a definition in rule for coyote as a hybrid between coyotes, wolves and domestic dogs. It would also establish a definition for predator hunting contests and then prohibit those contests. The proposed rule would require that coyotes taken during the hunting season be registered in the manner similar to other big game species at registration stations; adjust coyote hunting season dates from what was currently a year round season to one that was closed from March through August for hunting during the day; it would establish a daily bag limit on coyotes of one animal and possession limit of five; prohibit the harvest of any coyote equal to or greater than 40 pounds, and prohibit the use of bait for hunting coyotes.

Mr. Sage asked how they were supposed to determine if the canine was below 40 pounds? Were they supposed to weigh them before harvesting them?

Commissioner Camuso stated it was a petition that was brought forward. We would have Shevenell Webb give an overview to the Council after the comment period closed and give the Departments perspective on how any of the items might be implemented.

Colonel Scott stated it would be a challenge. Hunters, the first time they encountered bear or coyote which they did not often see, they found it typical that people under or over estimated the size of an animal. That would be something they would need to explore further if it were to move forward as to how someone would determine a coyote was 34 pounds or 41 pounds prior to shooting it.

Mrs. Peet asked if Maine allowed predator killing contests or competitions.

Mr. Webb stated there was no prohibition on contests, fishing derbies, big buck contests, etc. There were a number of different contests to reward or promote otherwise legal activities. This would fall in that category currently.

Mr. Thurston stated he did not believe the Department sanctioned or sponsored the events. The events usually took place as a purpose for a store or some other fish and game club. They were used to drive incentive to hunt a particular animal and receive some recognition after the fact on who shoots the biggest. It was not an IFW sponsored thing, it happened outside in the sporting community. It was a contest, you were out doing the thing you loved to do and that was some recognition for being successful doing what you love to do. Obviously, it was different with coyotes but some of the perspective of the sportsmen engaged in the contests was they believed they were doing a stroke of business for yarding deer in some areas or things of that nature.

Mr. Smith asked if it had been definitively decided that coyotes were an invasive species, and would the Department put out a position paper on the petition similar to what they received on the bear feeding proposal.

Mr. Webb stated we would go through the public comment period and based on feedback and perspectives on the petition and the management of coyotes we would present the Council with Department recommendations and our position on the petition. Regarding coyotes and whether or not they were invasive, that was a challenging question. Coyotes were native to Western North America, they expanded into Eastern North America after wolves were extirpated and in doing so interbred to some degree with both wolves and domestic dogs. The animal here now came here on its own, it wasnt transported into the state by humans, but the latest research showed it was a genetic mixture of western coyote, wolves and domestic dog, primarily coyote. It was a challenging issue, biologically the genetics there was constant debate over eastern wolves, coyotes, western wolves and where the line was between those different animals. From a policy perspective, nationally, wolf genetics was very complicated and subject to a great deal of debate and there were significant implications for that discussion because of the fact wolves had been listed under the Endangered Species Act. The animals we had that we referred to as coyotes, did come here on its own. Whether it was considered an invasive species, that was subject to each individuals perspective.

Mr. Scribner asked if the Departments response during Step 2 was going to delineate IFWs position on predation and its impact on managed hunting species such as whitetailed deer.

Mr. Webb stated would could incorporate that.

Mr. Scribner stated another item that should be discussed when the Department gave their response to the petition was whether or not there was a belief that by designating coyotes as a distinct species whether that would open the door to Federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Mr. Webb stated there was no Federal protection for coyotes. He did not feel that would be an issue in regard to the petition.

There were no further comments or questions.

  1. Coyote trapping prohibition petition

Commissioner Camuso stated this was a petition that was brought forward to the Department to prohibit coyote trapping. The comment period was open and a public hearing was scheduled for October 7, 2020 via Microsoft Teams. The furbearer biologist, Shevenell Webb would be at the Step 2 meeting to give an overview of the petition and the Departments perspective once the comment period was closed.

Mr. Webb stated this would remove coyotes from both the statewide general trapping season and the early fox and coyote season. It would prohibit trapping for coyotes in Maine.

Mr. Thurston asked if this was a group or individual that brought the petitions forward.

Commissioner Camuso stated the two coyote petitions were brought forward by John Glowa from China, Maine.

Mr. Thurston stated basically it appeared they were attributing the coyote as a wolf. He asked if they had done that at a Federal level in any other state or set precedent?

Mr. Webb stated as he understood it, there were currently no states that regulated the management of coyote due to concerns over the fact that wolves were listed Federally in portions of the country.

V. Other Business

Commissioner Camuso stated she would like to make the Council aware the Department's podcast, Fish & Game Changers, was recognized by Downeast Magazine as one of the best Maine 2020 which was quite amazing.

VI. Councilor Reports

Councilors gave reports.

VII. Public Comments & Questions

Tom Johnson stated he was representing the Maine Native Fish Coalition. They had submitted a detailed written response to the fisheries rulemaking packet and would like to take the opportunity to reiterate and elaborate on their concerns about the changes proposed for Big Reed Pond. The proposal would remove the catch and release mandate on Arctic charr and replace it with a two fish limit to include both brook trout and Arctic charr and remove the fly fishing only restriction and replace it with an artificial lures only restriction. Big Reed Pond was chemically reclaimed in 2011 to remove non-native baitfish that were threatening Big Reeds rare Arctic charr population. They did not believe enough time had lapsed since the reclamation to declare Big Reed as fully recovered. Reinstituting terminal gear and harvest restrictions consistent with the pre-registration regulation seemed premature and unnecessary considering what was at risk. The Native Fish Coalition was concerned that the removal of the FFO restriction in favor of ALO would result in an increase in incidental mortality due to the use of treble hooks, multi hook lures, lead to use of synthetic bait as well as trolling which made targeting Arctic charr that much easier. ALO also put them one step closer to the illegal use of live fish as bait which could result in reestablishment of non-native invasive minnows in Big Reed Pond. There was also no reason to allow any harvest of Arctic charr, the rarest salmonid east of the Rocky Mountains especially in a water that was still recovering from a recent chemical reclamation. They were also concerned that those seeking regulation changes were initiated by a public request appeared to come from a private business, rather than a biological need. They were concerned with the precedent it set. Utmost caution should be exercised when the recovery of one of only twelve wild native Arctic charr populations in the contiguous United States was at risk. There seemed to be an increasing amount of outdoor activity with the virus going on and an increase in recreational dam construction in the rivers and streams and that seemed to be growing. The Department should be aware of the possibility that it would prevent fish from moving in those waters.

Claire Perry stated she would encourage everybody to consider and be clear about the coyote status as an invasive species. She was 99.9% sure they were not an animal to be considered an invasive species in Maine especially in the lower half where they really needed them for many reasons from overpopulation of deer to Lyme disease problems. Coyotes were helpful in that regard. To be killing them indiscriminately was causing problems for them. The predator contests were worth considering, personally she thought the 40-pound weight limit was ridiculous. The predator killing contests for keystone species were not beneficial for the majority of the state. In Aroostook County they were having considerations for trying to bring their deer herd back, but there was more to Maine than up there and they were appreciating the coyotes where she was in the lower half.

VIII. Agenda Items & Schedule Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. via Microsoft Teams.

IX. Adjournment

A motion was made by Mr. Sage and that was seconded by Mr. Smith to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.