WASHINGTON, D.C. — Maine’s congressional delegation is calling on the U.S. secretary of commerce to reject a petition calling for seasonal closures in parts of Maine’s lobster fishing industry.
They sent a letter Wednesday asking the secretary to reject a petition that was recently submitted by the Pew Charitable Trusts for interim regulations to protect right whales.
The delegation’s statement said for the Downeast Maine closure alone, Pew’s proposal is estimated to reduce the risk to whales by just 1.7 percent, while causing $22 million in losses for local lobstermen.
“The petition submitted by Pew undermines our shared goal of both protecting the North Atlantic right whale and ensuring the future viability of our nation’s lobster fishery,” the delegation wrote.
“Unfortunately, this proposal would have a detrimental economic impact on Maine’s lobster industry and the coastal communities they support while providing limited risk reduction,” the statement said. “It is unfortunate to see this attempted circumvention of NOAA’s established regulatory process when lives, livelihoods, and the survival of an endangered species are on the line.”