UPDATE 4:52 PM ET:
Gov. Paul LePage's office says Maine's acting Marine Resources Department commissioner has contacted the city of Portland to "reaffirm" that it plans to work with the city to revitalize its fishing fleet.
"The infrastructure in Portland is of the utmost importance to the future of the groundfishing industry. The Administration is making every effort to preserve the boats that have been able to persist and bring additional boats back to Maine," Keliher says in a statement released last this afternoon.
Officials say the governor and Keliher will meet with Portland Mayor Nicholas Mavodones "in the near future."
2:08 PM ET:
Portland Mayor Nicholas Mavodones today requested a meeting with Gov. Paul LePage in the wake of a statement released by Maine's former Marine Resources Commissioner, Norm Olsen, who resigned abruptly yesterday.
Olsen complained that LePage rejected an initative he proposed to collaborate with the city of Portland on bringing groundfish boats back to the city. "Portland was against him, he said, and we will not work with that city," Olsen claims the governor said. "Rather than work with Portland, he said, we'll build a new port somewhere."
In his letter, Mavedones says such statements are "harmful to the business climate" in Portland and statewide.
"I trust you understand that regardless of the veracity of these statements, the public and the City of Portland need to be reassured that economic development in all Maine communities, both large and small, are a priority for the Governor's office," the mayor writes. "More germane to Mr. Olsen's claim, is a need to clearly understand your commitment to the state's marine industries of which groundfishing has and continues to be an integral part."
A spokesman for LePage tells The Associated Press that Olsen's assertion is "absurd." Adam Fisher says Olsen was angry when he wrote the letter and that it showed.
Read Mayor Mavodones' letter to Gov. LePage.
Read former Commissioner Norm Olsen's statement.