Tension over whale plan between lobstermen, feds thaws

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A group representing Maine’s lobstermen says it’s now willing to work with the federal government on a plan to protect right whales after withdrawing its support for the plan this summer.

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association is one of the key stakeholders in an effort to better protect the North Atlantic right whales, which number only about 400. A federal plan that’s being developed to help save the whales would remove miles of lobster trap rope from the waters off Maine.

The lobstermen’s association issued a public statement on Oct. 11 that said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has shown a “willingness to address concerns related to underlying data” about whale protection. However, the statement also says the lobstermen still think the whale plan focuses too much on new restrictions for their industry.

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