Maine Public File

Much of Maine's lobster fishery is losing, at least temporarily, an internationally-recognized rating as a "sustainably fished" resource. The suspension comes in the wake of a federal judge's ruling that the risk posed by lobster-trap ropes to endangered North Atlantic right whales violates federal law.

Stephan Savoia / AP File

A federal judge says that within two weeks he will decide when, exactly, federal regulators must issue new rules to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

Maine's lobstermen, dealers and regulators are warily eyeing the possibility of a market crash when the big seasonal harvest of recently-molted lobsters — called “shedders” — come in. With restaurants and other end-buyers still struggling, there is talk within the industry of reducing the size or timing of the catch to avoid a glut, but no one appears to be enthusiastic about the options.


New research suggests that the U.S. lobster industry could place fewer traps in the water and still gain just as much profit. And that finding could play a role in the debate over what should be required of Maine lobstermen to reduce entanglements with endangered North Atlantic right whales.

New England Aquarium

There are new developments Friday in the legal battle over whether rope used by Maine lobstermen poses a deadly threat of entanglement to endangered North Atlantic right whales. An activist who has won past decisions to protect the whales filed a motion in Bangor federal court, seeking a preliminary injunction to halt lobster fishing in Maine.

PORTLAND, Maine - Leaders in the Maine Legislature are calling on the federal government to protect the lobster fishery in the wake of a ruling about protection of rare whales.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

There appears to be further movement in the effort to knock back Chinese tariffs on American lobster.

Fred Bever / Maine Public File

Federal fisheries regulators are saying that Maine's proposed lobster gear rules, which were designed to reduce the risk to endangered North Atlantic right whales, don't go far enough.

AP File

China is slightly lowering tariffs on U.S. lobster, but industry observers say it is not enough to reboot Maine's languishing sales to that country. At the same time, the outbreak of coronavirus in China is hurting lobster sales abroad and domestic markets as well.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Images

The state with the largest fishing industry for lobster likely experienced a drop in catch last year, but the dip in harvest was probably not as dramatic as initially feared. 


From right whale protection and lobster regulations to aquaculture, seaweed, and elver fishig, we'll discuss the top marine resource issues facing Commissioner Pat Keliher in the year 2020. 

Pat Wellenbach / AP File

An international group of scientists, conservationists, fisheries managers and others are gathered in Portland this week for the annual meeting of what's called the North Atlantic right whale Consortium.

PORTLAND, Maine - A drop in the catch of lobsters off Maine has customers paying more for the seafood and fishermen concerned about the future.

Preliminary data show that Maine’s lobster catch is well behind last year’s pace.

Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher told the American Lobster Management board on Monday that at the end of September, the harvest was about 40 percent lower than the year before and between 35 and 40 percent off the five-year average.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Two new studies of lobsters along the northeastern Atlantic coast look at possible reasons for the dramatic rise in the Gulf of Maine population beginning in the ’90s, and why those numbers could start to decline over the next several years.