Right Whale Summary

NMFS is holding two meetings where you can comment on the proposed Whale Rules. Please register so that you can speak and make your concerns heard! While the meetings have been broken down by location feel free to participate in any or all of the meetings: Pre-Registration is required! -New Hampshire/ LMA 1: Wednesday Feb 17, 6:30 to 8:30
-Southern Maine: Tuesday Feb 23, 2021 6:30 to 8:30
Northern Maine: Wednesday Feb 24, 6:30 to 8:30

Written comments are due March 1st. Find out more information HERE

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Maine-Sea-Grant-1.jpg

“The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is currently in the process of developing new regulations to protect the North Atlantic right whale (right whale). The recent court decision in Center for Biological Diversity v. Ross, also known as the “DC Case,” requires NMFS to finalize new regulations by May 31, 2021. If NMFS does not finalize regulations by that time, lobster fishing will have to immediately shut down. As part of the process of developing new regulations, the public has the opportunity to voice their thoughts and opinions.”

-Maine Sea Grant

Sea Grant Maine has created a page with information on how to submit public comments, what the regulatory process is and the background information on explaining why new federal regulations are being developed. On their page they do a great job summarizing all this information! Click here to read more!

The right whale issue has been ongoing for Maine lobstermen for many years. The Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance has covered the stories in their monthly newsletter since 2011. The links below (newest to oldest) range in topic from NOAA management plans including coverage of the Take Reduction Team, other issues plaguing whales, the Canadian response and more.

Stories from 2021————————-

January/February 2021: Info session for NMFS proposed Right Whale Rules

Pre- recorded slides to learn more about the rule

Stories from 2020 ————————-

December 2020: Court Case on hold and New Regulations in Mass….

November 2020: NOAA Estimates Only 366 Right Whales Alive…

October 2020: The New Whales Rules…..How Did we Get Here??

September 2020: Federal Court Keeps Lobster Fishery Open…for now

August 2020: Draft Whale Rules Expected by Fall

July 2020: US Federal Laws Create Complex Path for Lobster Fishery


June 2020: Economic Impact of Whale Regulations Would Be Profound


May 2020: Lobstering Laws:Will the Whales Win?


April 2020: NOAA officials answer tough questions about whale plan


March 2020, DMR and NOAA struggle to find agreement on whale plan


February 2020, lobstermen frustrated over proposed whale rules

January 2020, 2019 Year in Review; packed with conflict

Stories from 2019 ————————

December 2019, from Commissioner Keliher, whale plan reflects practicality, federal reality

December 2019: Lobstermen worry about impact of state whale plan

November 2019: MLA continues to challenge NMFS whale proposal

November 2019, DMR releases right whale risk reduction plan

November 2019, MLA urges DMR to simplify proposed gear marking

October 2019, MLA Legal Team Expands, Support from Lobstermen Key to its Success

October 2019, Steaming Ahead, MLA Focus on Whales

October 2019: Right Whale Debate Heats Up


September 2019, New analysis shows NMFS must look beyond lobster to save right whales

September 2019, ropeless fishing tests frustrate snow crab fishermen

September 2019: Steaming Ahead: MLA pulls out of NMFS plan

August 2019, Maine officials go on defensive over whale rules

July 2019, more than a thousand lobstermen turn out for state whale meetings

July 2019, Five Right Whales dead in Canada

June 2019, Copepod presence key to Right Whale movements

June 2019, DMR to hold meetings with lobstermen in June, August to discuss whale rules

June 2019, seismic testing permits still under review

May 2019, Maine lobstermen must reduce Vertical Lines by 50%

April 2019, Steaming Ahead: Discussion on Whale rules heating up

March 2019, Teaming up for Right Whale survival, from Mike Pentony, head of GARFO

February 2019, snow crab quota in Gulf of St. Larence corresponds to Right Whale entanglements

Stories from 2018 ———————————

November 2018, Take Reduction Team Meeting update

November 2018, MLA Continues legal battle on possible whale rules

October 2018, Maine’s concerns heard at whale meeting

October 2018, Long Island Lobsterman grows up with whale rules

August 2018, Young lobstermen weigh in on 20 years of whale regulations

July 2018, tiny copepod causes quivers in Gulf Of Maine food web

June 2018, its not that easy to keep track of right whales

June 2018, MLA files motion to enter court case

June 2018, Adaptation a part of life for Maine lobstermen (Dwight Carver)

May 2018, Right Whale dilemma may be beyond federal law

May 2018, Traditions under siege (Mike Sargent)

April 2018, Canada announces new whale protection measures in Gulf of St. Lawrence

February 2018, Steaming Ahead: Right whales remain hot topic

Stories from 2017 ——————————-

November 2017, New Statistical Model for Estimating Right Whale population (Pace model)

November 2017, Groups threaten to sue over Right Whale decline

November 2017, NOAA recommends actions to help right whales

September 2017, Right Whale deaths reveal differences in US vs Canadian whale protection laws

August 2017, High mortality among Right Whales in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence

August 2017, Steaming Ahead, bad year for Right Whales

July 2016, disentangling a whale takes skill and training

July 2017, surge of Right Whales deaths in Gulf of St. Lawrence

June 2017, Steaming Ahead on April 2017 Take Reduction Team meeting

Stories prior to 2016 ————–

March 2011, Fishermen offer perspective on whale entanglement

November 2010, Lobstermen find trouble with whale rope

June 2011, understanding the Endangered Species Aact

November 2013, where have Bay of Fundy whales gone?

May 2015, Researchers document offshore route of right whales

For more information on right whales and Maine lobstermen, check out the following webpage and this great video.