PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine lobster fishing trade group said Monday it will fight for the future of the fishery in court in the wake of a judge’s ruling that the federal government hasn’t done enough to protect rare whales.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled last week that the National Marine Fisheries Service failed to protect North Atlantic right whales by understating lobster fishing’s ability to kill the whales via entanglement in ropes. The ruling stated a remedy will come in the future, and members of the U.S. lobster industry have said they’re concerned that could mean new fishing restrictions.
Maine Lobstermen’s Association executive director Patrice McCarron said Monday the court has only heard from environmental groups and the federal government so far in the case. She said the group will make sure the judge will “consider evidence about what happens on the water to protect whales.”
Lobster fishing, based mostly in Maine and Massachusetts, is one of the most lucrative marine industries in New England. The fishery is facing a difficult time in part due to a weakened worldwide seafood market because of coronavirus.
The right whales number only about 400. They’re vulnerable to death by entanglement in gear and collisions with ships.