Northeast
Leslie Landrigan

ME - NOAA orders lobster fishing gear out of offshore zone

The Maine Department of Marine Resources on November 18 said it could take two weeks for lobster fishermen to remove their gear from roughly 967 square miles of the Gulf of Maine.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources on November 18 said it could take two weeks for lobster fishermen to remove their gear from roughly 967 square miles of the Gulf of Maine.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared the offshore zone closed to rope fishing until January 31 under a new rule aimed at protecting the endangered right whale. After a month-long court battle, an appeals court upheld the closure on November 16.

Local fishermen say the closure will simply force more fishermen into the rest of the fishing grounds and create denser curtains of rope.

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Maine Democrat, said that the annual closure from October 1 to January 31 sets a dangerous precedent. It “will give federal agencies a green light to pursue regulatory actions that could devastate communities without any regard for whether or not those efforts are grounded in facts and data,” he said in a statement.

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