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8/31/2021 – Maine Lobstermen’s Association Statement on the Final Rule to Reduce Risk of Serious Injury and Mortality to North Atlantic Right Whales Caused by Entanglement in Northeast Crab and Lobster Trap/Pot Fisheries
Today, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released the long-awaited final rule which outlines measures for the Northeast lobster fishery to reduce the risk of entangling right whales by 60 percent. The MLA is committed to action to recover the North Atlantic right whale but the species cannot rebuild without a conservation plan supported by scientific evidence and comparable measures implemented in Canada and the U.S. shipping industry. MLA remains extremely concerned that NMFS is placing an unwarranted burden on the Maine lobster fishery.
The U.S. lobster fishery implemented new regulations more than a decade ago which have reduced known right whale entanglement in U.S. lobster gear by 90%.
Statement from DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher Regarding the Final Rule to Amend the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan
9/1/2021 – As you know, the Final Rule to amend the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan is out. While I am encouraged that NOAA has included some of the zone-specific conservation equivalencies (CEs) in the minimum traps per trawl provision that Maine fishermen worked so hard to develop, I still have serious concerns about other aspects of the rule.
The inclusion of CEs acknowledges the different fishing practices along Maine’s coast and the need to protect fishermen safety. But I am disappointed the CEs we proposed for harvesters outside of 12 nautical miles were not included –
8/31/21 – Message to Maine’s Lobster Industry from Governor Janet T. Mills
To Members of Maine’s Lobster Industry:
As you may have seen, earlier today NOAA Fisheries released its final rule to modify the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan. They have made a number of changes from the proposed rule, and I have directed Commissioner Keliher and his team at the Department of Marine Resources to review it closely.
My Administration and Maine’s entire Congressional Delegation have spent the better part of the past three years working with the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, the Maine Lobstering Union, and other stakeholders to insist that NOAA: 1) focus on the science and 2) consider the impact of its rules on your safety and your livelihoods. Protecting the right whale population must be done through regulations that are fair, that are safe for fishermen, and that accurately reflect the reality in the Gulf of Maine.
Protect your future! And the future of our fishing children.
The new rules are just the first round in a 10 year battle that will put an end to the lobster fishery as we know it. MLA’s Legal Defense Fund is needed more than ever. We could not have come this far and fought so hard without the support of donors from the lobster fishing industry and beyond. Help us keep up the fight!