ME - Maine whale protection plan doesn't go far enough, feds say

Federal regulators say a Maine plan to reduce risk to endangered whales doesn't goes far enough, and that means fishermen in the state could face more restrictions

Federal regulators don't believe a Maine plan to reduce risk to endangered whales goes far enough, and that means fishermen in the state could face more restrictions.

Maine officials submitted a plan to the federal government designed to meet a requirement to better protect rare North Atlantic right whales from entanglement in lobster fishing gear. The whales number only about 400 and can die if ensnared in the gear, which is used to trap one of Maine's best known and most valuable natural resources.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notified the state in a Jan. 10 letter that its proposed package of measures would result in no more than a 52% reduction in risk to the whales. The required goal is 60%, said the letter, which was written by Michael Pentony, regional administrator for NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service's Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office.

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