Lobster fishing

Maine Lobster Fishers Ask Supreme Court to Stop Rules to Help Whales

New rules make an approximately 950-square-mile area of the Gulf of Maine essentially off limits to lobster fishing from October to January

AP

FILE – A North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass., March 28, 2018. A federal appeals court on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, reinstated protections for endangered right whales in waters off New England. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

Members of the Maine lobster fishing industry are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block new fishing restrictions designed to protect a rare species of whale.

The rules, designed to protect North Atlantic right whales, have been the subject of court action in recent weeks. New rules make an approximately 950-square-mile area of the Gulf of Maine essentially off limits to lobster fishing from October to January.

The Maine Lobstering Union won emergency relief to stop the closure of the lobstering grounds. But the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that the closure is back on.

The lobstering union and others filed an emergency application with the high court on Nov. 24 asking it to vacate the appeals court's decision, court documents state.

New federal lobster fishing rules from NOAA meant to protect right whales from entanglements are being protested by lobstermen and politicians in Maine.

The whales number fewer than 340 and they're vulnerable to lethal entanglement in fishing gear. They're also at risk of collisions with ships.

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