New Whale Rule might prove harmful to the lobster industry

New Whale Rule might prove harmful to the lobster industry


New rules sought to protect the critically endangered North Atlantic whales will prove costly to the lobster industry.

The National Marine Fisheries Service(NMFS) rule comes into effect on May 1. To protect the North Atlantic whales, the new rule would direct the lobster fishermen to use ‘rope with weak links, mark gear again and attach more traps to each line, or ‘’trawl up’’. ‘
Critics believe that the new rule will prove costly to the lobster industry and other coastal businesses, as it cannot protect the critically endangered right whales, and also, the whales don’t migrate to the Gulf of Maine.

In a letter sent to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Gov. Janet Mills, senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, ask for a postponement of the installation of the rules from May 1 to July 1.
The lawmakers in the letter stated the impossibility of the new rule as the fishers would not be able to get the gear to comply with the rule. At the height of the fishing season, fishers use about 800,000 vertical lines, ‘but the sole NMFS- approved manufacturer, is producing just 3,000 weak links per week’.

The Lobster’s Association at Maine estimates a total cost of $45 million to the fisheries because of the new rule’s implementation.

To mitigate the troubles which might arise from the implementation of the new rule, Senator Collins has asked for additional money, other than the $10 million, from the Senate appropriations subcommittee to cover the cost of compliacne; representative Bob Faulkingham has filed for the creation of a legal defense fund for the lobster industry, and Rep. Holly Stover has filed for a bill that would create a $30 million annual fund to help the fishers with their expenses.

Also, Watch Why the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans Don’t Mix





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