Regulators Consider New Rules On Fishermen To Protect Right Whales
This could be a big week for the endangered North Atlantic right whale, and for Maine's lobster fishery as well. A meeting in Providence will consider new regulations on lobster and other fishermen to protect the roughly 400 remaining whales from becoming entangled in fishing gear.Remedies on the table range from gear changes, such as breakaway rope or proposed "rope-less" trap-hauling technology, to limits on trap numbers, to periodic closures of ocean areas when whales are likely to be swimming through.
Portland-based lobsterman Lyman Kennedy says he is scared of the power the federal government wields.
"I’m scared to death. Scared to death," he says. "And any lobsterman that isn't aware or scared to death of what they're going to do should start paying attention."
Consensus might be hard to reach though. Stakeholders on the "Take Reduction Team" that meets this week run the gamut from long-time lobstermen to state and federal regulators, scientists and committed conservationists.