In the coming weeks, DMR will hold meetings with the 7 Lobster Zone Councils to facilitate the development of a plan that meets targets established by the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team (TRT) for right whale protection.
The measures put forward by the TRT are driven by federal laws designed to protect whales – the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Because of the current status of right whales, the ESA and the MMPA require action, and action will be taken by NOAA if Maine fails to come up with a plan that meets their goal.
As a reminder, the TRT has recommended broad measures for Maine that include removing 50 percent of vertical lines from the Gulf of Maine and the use of a weak rope topper.
I’m committed to working with industry to guide the development of a plan to present to the National Marine Fisheries Service that is informed by your unique knowledge and insight. We will present proposals for your consideration that come from an analysis of vertical line data and fishing practices along the coast.
For this process to work, your input is critical.
Patrick C. Keliher
Maine Department of Marine Resources