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Business and Economy

Federal Fishery Managers Must Issue New Right Whale Protection Rule By Next May

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NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM 2008

Federal fishery managers are being ordered to issue a new rule for the lobster industry to better protect endangered North Atlantic right whales.

A federal judge has set a deadline of May 31, 2021 for the National Marine Fisheries Service to release the rule.

Several environmental organizations sued the Service, including the Conservation Law Foundation, where Emily Green is an attorney.

"The North Atlantic right whale is in a really perilous position, hovering on the brink of extinction.  And the sooner that we can get new protections in place, the better chance we have to protect it."

While the lawsuit had asked for a new rule by January, Green says the May deadline is still a victory.

"Getting those new protections in place by a certain date will reduce the risk to these animals of entanglement in fishing gear."

The Maine Lobstermen's Association issued a statement welcoming the decision, which allows the lobster fishery to continue to operate while the rule is developed.