Judge’s Rejection of Lobstering Ban Draws Praise of Industry, Ire of Environmentalists

Lobster industry advocates and environmental groups offered starkly different reactions Sunday to a judge’s decision blocking a federal ban on lobstering in a section of the Gulf of Maine designed to protect the endangered right whale.

The ruling, by U.S. District Judge Lance Walker, said federal regulators relied on “markedly thin” analysis that didn’t provide hard proof of the whales’ presence in the roughly thousand-square-mile area off the Maine coast. Advocates for the lobster industry had asked for a stay of the three-month ban, arguing there wasn’t evidence that the critically endangered whales actually frequent the area.

Environmental groups accused Walker of relying on his own analysis of data rather than that of scientists. Lobstering advocates, on the other hand, praised the judge for offering a lifeline to the $1.4 billion industry, which is critical to Maine’s economy.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: Portland Press Herald