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Feds schedule Portland hearing over proposed right whale protections

Fred Bever
Maine Public
East Boothbay lobsterman Eben Wilson (right) and sternman Daniel Barter weave plastic links into trap rope.

As tensions remain high between lobstermen and federal regulators, NOAA has scheduled a hearing in Portland Wednesday to take public comment on measures designed to protect right whales from entanglement in fishing gear.

A virtual hearing Sept. 27 was an opportunity for Mainers to comment on proposed regulations that are designed to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, and other whales in the Gulf of Maine.

But Governor Janet Mills had encouraged the regulators to come to Maine to hear directly from fishermen. On Wednesday, NOAA Fisheries will hold an in-person meeting to solicit further public comment.

Regulators are considering a variety of measures to prevent the entanglements, including seasonal closures of some areas, and limits on traps and vertical lines.

The scoping meeting will be held on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Community Education Center.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.