March 26, 2020
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Maine political leaders say right whale protections must not undermine lobster industry

Michael Dwyer | AP
Michael Dwyer | AP
In this March 28, 2018, file photo, a North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Maine’s most prominent politicians are calling for the federal government to take a new approach to saving an endangered species of whale so protections don’t threaten the state’s lobster industry.

The four members of Maine’s congressional delegation sent recommendations to federal fisheries regulators late Tuesday about how to protect the North Atlantic right whale, which numbers about 400. Maine Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, also called on the government Wednesday to protect whales in a way that keeps lobstering viable.

A federal government team has called for removal of many vertical trap lines from the Gulf of Maine to reduce risk to whales, which can become entangled in gear. Mills said in a statement that federal officials should take into account that most recent right whale deaths happened in Canada.

Related: This right whale gets partially disentangled off Cape Cod


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