Interstate board proposes ways for lobster industry, right whales to coexist

Feb 07, 2019

Arlington, Va. — The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s American Lobster Management Board initiated Draft Addendum XXVIII to Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobster. The Draft Addendum considers reducing the number of vertical lines in the water in response to concerns about the North Atlantic right whale population and the potential impacts of whale conservation measures on the conduct of the lobster fishery.

Draft Addendum XXVIII will propose options to reduce vertical lines from zero to 40 percent, to be achieved by trap limits, gear configuration changes, seasonal closures, and/or the acceleration of currently planned trap reductions. The board noted that reductions will consider ongoing state and federal management actions, including trap reductions and trap caps, which have already reduced vertical lines.

By initiating this action, states can continue to cooperatively participate in the management of this species during ongoing discussions on the conservation of North Atlantic right whales. In addition, those who are most familiar with the intricacies of the lobster fishery, including industry, can provide input on future regulations.

“With this proposed action, the board is entering uncertain waters,” stated Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “However, as the lead management authority for American lobster, we have a responsibility to ensure the viability of the lobster fishery. Through the active engagement of the states and the lobster industry in our management process, we believe the board is best suited to navigate the growing challenges facing the lobster fishery.”

For more information, contact Megan Ware, fishery management plan coordinator, at mware@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

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