Maine’s two U.S. representatives say lawmakers should approve a bill to exempt sea urchins and sea cucumbers from federal inspection when they are imported or exported.

Sea urchins and sea cucumbers are harvested off of Maine and both are sold to buyers in Asia. Urchins have especially high economic value as they are used in sushi. Both have short shelf lives.

Reps. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, and Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, say delays in shipping while awaiting inspection has resulted in spoilage of the products.

Pingree and Poliquin are testifying in favor of exemptions to inspection at a House Committee on Natural Resources meeting on Tuesday. Pingree introduced a bill to provide exemptions last year. She says there isn’t scientific basis for “singling out” the species for inspections.

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