New Restrictive Lobstering Rules Paused

Two years before federal rule change to protect whales

PORTLAND—U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled yesterday that “new lobster fishing restrictions designed to conserve rare whales will be delayed until 2024 to give the government time to design them.”  

In July, a U.S. District judge determined that there needed to be stronger restrictions on lobstering in order to protect North American right whales, which could become extinct.

The July ruling created outcry among Maine politicians and lobster fishers and their communities.

Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association told the AP, “The bottom line is the court’s decision provides us some additional time to ensure that a final whale plan is based on the best available science and commercial data, but not enough time to help recover right whales without needlessly sacrificing the Maine lobster fishery.”

A federal court decision by U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg did not allow the industry to postpone restrictions that are meant to help keep right whales safe (Maine Lobstermen’s Association Inc. v. National Marine Fisheries Service et al, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, case No. 21-2509.)  

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association said that the decision “failed Maine’s lobster industry” and that it was clear that neither the court nor the National Marine Fisheries Service realized “the devastating impacts their decisions will have on the Maine lobster industry, our coastal communities and the state of Maine.”


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