Federal Plan to Save Whales Could Mean Big Changes for Lobster Industry

Federal officials recently released plans to all but eliminate risk to the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, but Maine lobster industry leaders fear the plan will only shift the risk of the extinction from the whales to the lobstermen. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its final biological opinion May 27 – a requirement under the federal Endangered Species Act. This document becomes the basis of rule-making surrounding the specific species, in this case, the North Atlantic right whale. 

Officials found that, provided they meet the reduction targets in the implementation framework, none of the 10 fisheries included in the document, among them the lobster fishery, were “likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the North Atlantic right whales.”

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