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Salmon Rules in Maine: Help or Hindrance

US - A federal proposal to strengthen protections for Atlantic salmon in Maine's largest rivers was being proposed on Thursday. The community and industry gathered to discuss if the proposals will help or harm the beloved fish species.

Sixty to 70 people attended a public hearing with federal regulators on a proposal to add the Penobscot, Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers to the list of eight Maine waterways with populations of endangered Atlantic salmon.

According to the Kennebec Journal, supporters argued that expanding the list of protected Gulf of Maine salmon will help focus federal money and public attention on the restoration effort without harming the fishermen and industries that use the rivers.

"I would like to have my kids fish these rivers that I love with large numbers of fish, not just the trickles of fish coming in now," Darrin Kelly, a registered guide who operates an ecotourism business in Gouldsboro, told the journal.

But critics warned that an endangered designation on three of Maine's most economically important rivers could undercut recent successes.