Maine lobsterman sues the federal government over right whale rules

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The Maine Lobster Association has filed a lawsuit with the federal government over new regulations designed to protect endangered right whales. Maine lobster dealers say that the upcoming restrictions threaten their livelihoods, are misled, and are inconsistent with the best available science. They also argued that the new rules will not help protect right whales. The rules issued by the National Marine Fisheries Administration are part of a 10-year plan to reduce the risk of right whales becoming entangled in lobster fishing ropes and dying. These rules include new standards to reduce the number of ropes connecting buoys and lobster traps that may be in the water. The Maine Lobster Association’s lawsuit alleges that these rules did not take into account the modification of fishing gear that began ten years ago. “We really feel that we were singled out, and it was wrong, so our fishery may disappear because of this,” said Patrice McAllen, executive director of the Maine Lobster Association. McAllen added that as the Gulf of Maine warms, more and more right whales migrate north to Canada and die there. “When they model to 2050, they will be farther and farther away from the fishing industry and higher in Canada. The agency did not take this into account,” McAllen said. The lawsuit also warns that these regulations will bring “destructive economic hardship” to Maine’s 4,800 lobster fleet and more than 10,000 jobs supported by the industry. McAllen believes that the government is pushing for cordlessness, and high-tech lobster fishing is impractical given Maine’s infrastructure. “You will rely on cellular signals, Wi-Fi signals and acoustic equipment. You will equip your boat with high-tech computers and technology. You need a lot of space on the boat. You need to carry additional crew members,” McAllen said . Restrictions will begin next month, and lobster fishing will be banned on nearly 1,000 square miles of water off the central coast of Maine. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that this regulation will reduce the risk of death and serious injury to right whales by 70% in the following ways. The National Maine Fisheries Bureau has not yet responded to WMTW News No. 8 request for comment on the lawsuit.

The Maine Lobster Association has filed a lawsuit with the federal government over new regulations designed to protect endangered right whales.

Maine lobster industry owners say that the upcoming restrictions threaten their livelihoods, are misled and are inconsistent with the best available science. They also argued that the new rules will not help protect right whales.

The rules issued by the National Marine Fisheries Administration are part of a 10-year plan to reduce the risk of right whales becoming entangled in lobster fishing ropes and dying.

These rules include new standards that reduce the number of ropes connecting the buoy to the lobster trap that may be in the water.

The Maine Lobster Association’s lawsuit alleges that these rules did not take into account the gear modification that began ten years ago.

Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobster Association, said: “We really feel that we have been singled out by mistake and our fishery may disappear as a result.”

McAllen added that as the Gulf of Maine warms, more and more right whales migrate north to Canada and die there.

“When they simulate to 2050, they will be farther and farther away from the fishing industry, and farther and farther away from Canada. The agency did not take this into account,” McAllen said.

The lawsuit also warned that these regulations would cause “destructive economic hardship” to Maine’s fleet of 4,800 lobster boats and more than 10,000 jobs supported by the industry.

McAllen believes that, given Maine’s infrastructure, it is impractical for the government to promote cordless, high-tech lobster fishing.

“You will rely on cellular signals, Wi-Fi signals and acoustic equipment. You will equip your boat with high-tech computers and technology. You need a lot of space on the boat. You need to carry additional crew members,” McAllen said .

Restrictions will begin next month, banning lobster fishing in nearly 1,000 square miles of water off the central coast of Maine.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that the regulation will reduce the risk of death and serious injury to right whales by 70%.

The Maine National Fisheries Service has not yet responded to WMTW News’ No. 8 request for comment on the lawsuit.

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