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NOAA Fisheries

US - NOAA Fisheries rules limiting lobstering draw harsh criticism from fishing, environmental groups

NOAA Fisheries has announced a set of new regulations intended to protect the North Atlantic right whale from entanglement-related incidents.

NOAA Fisheries has announced a set of new regulations intended to protect the North Atlantic right whale from entanglement-related incidents. The regulations will cost the Northeast lobster fishery between USD 9 million and 20 million (EUR 7.6 million and 16.9 million) to implement.

The new regulations are in response to the ongoing decline of the highly endangered whale, of which only a few hundred remain in the wild. The species is currently undergoing what NOAA has dubbed an “unusual mortality event,” with 34 right whales having died since 2017.

The main objective of the rule is to reduce the number of vertical buoy lines in the water through planned seasonal area closures. The South Islands area south of Cape Cod will be closed to fishing from February to April, and the LMA 1 area of the Maine coast, which comprises a roughly 967-square-mile area, will be closed to fishing from October through January. A key part of the new closure will allow “ropeless” fishing gear to be used in the area even during closures.

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