WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Jared Golden, D-2nd Dist., and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, D-Dist. 1, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced they have secured $14 million to help support Maine lobstermen in the House Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations bill, according to a release.

The inclusion of the funding in the bill comes after Golden and Pingree led a group of New England lawmakers in a letter to CJS House Appropriations Subcommittee leaders urging them to allocate additional assistance to the lobster industry and the New England communities it supports.

“The right whale regulations are as economically damaging as they are misguided,” Golden said. “NOAA has been unable to prove that these regulations will work, but lobstermen are still being forced to pick up the tab. It’s just wrong. The least Congress can do is help ease the cost burden on lobstermen and this funding we secured will do just that. I’ll keep doing whatever I can to help lobstering communities navigate these indefensible regulations.”

“Maine’s lobster industry is not only an invaluable part of New England’s economy, but of the very fabric of our coastal communities,” Pingree said. “In addition to challenges brought on by the pandemic, warming waters, and supply chain disruptions, our lobstermen have been financially burdened even more because of NOAA’s damaging new regulations. I have opposed these regulations since they were announced, and since then have been pushing, alongside my Maine and New England colleagues, for federal support to help to cover the costs incurred by lobstermen as a result of the misguided rule. Building on the millions of dollars we helped secure in the FY2022 Appropriations bill, I’m thrilled the new funding bill will further support our lobster industry through these challenges. I’ll continue to work to ensure our historic and iconic industry thrives for generations to come.”

The release states, the $14 million would be provided to states through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to cover costs incurred by the fishing industry to comply with the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP). These costs may include gear modification, configuration, and marking within the Northeast lobster and Jonah crab fisheries, both in federal and state waters. Since Maine is home to the vast majority of the American lobster fleet, it is likely most of this funding will go to lobstermen in Maine.