Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine

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The attorney general's office has struck down the tribe's claim of jurisdiction over some large lakes and rivers in eastern Washington County. The tribe set a $20 charge for a seven-day Passamaquoddy fishing license or $40 for a seasonal license for anglers using the St. Croix River and a variety of lakes and brooks. It relied in part on a provision in Maine's 2000-2001 open water fishing regulations in setting the rules. The provision says the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over fishing on any pond greater than 10 acres with at least half its shoreline within Indian territory. It also covers any section of a river, brook or stream with both sides in Indian territory, or one side in Indian territory for a continuous mile. But an opinion issued April 13 found that the Indian Land Claims Settlement Act limits tribes' exclusive authority over fishing to ponds smaller than 10 acres that are wholly within Indian territory. It said the bodies of water covered in the Passamaquoddy regulations are greater than 10 acres and not completely surrounded by Passamaquoddy shoreline. Former Indian Township Gov. John Stevens, a member of the tribal council, said the tribe would review the opinion, and hoped the tribal governor would issue a public statement.