Right Whales and Maine Lobster

Maine lobstermen have been practicing sustainability measures for over 150 years. This means protecting the health of the lobster stock, and also treating the entire marine environment with respect and care. The industry recognizes the precarious situation of the North Atlantic right whale, and since the 1990s fishermen have been taking proactive steps to ensure the fishery and the whales can co-exist.

The lobster industry is Maine’s economic engine, sustaining not only the men and women who fish but entire communities. Fishermen are willing to make changes to protect whales and have been active participants in the ongoing discussions, but there are legitimate questions about how much Maine’s lobster industry is to blame for the decline in the right whale population. The regulations currently under development by the federal government would ask lobstermen to take 50 percent of their rope out of the water, having a tremendous impact on both the safety of fishermen and their ability to do business. Before regulations are implemented, lobstermen deserve to know that these measures will positively impact right whales and are backed by sound science.

The Maine Lobster industry will continue to be a part of the conversations to ensure the health of the fishery and environment that it operates within.

A Longstanding Commitment to Right Whale Safety

  • 1997

    All surface float rope removed

    Weak links implemented

  • 2000

    Began marking vertical lines to identify origin of gear

  • 2009

    Replaced 27,000 miles of floating ground line with whale-safe sinking line

  • 2014

    Removed 2,740 miles of buoy line by establishing minimum traps per buoy line

A Longstanding Commitment to Right Whale Safety

1997

1997

All surface float rope removed

Weak links implemented

2000

2000

Began marking vertical lines to identify origin of gear

2009

2009

Replaced 27,000 miles of floating ground line with whale-safe sinking line

2014

2014

Removed 2,740 miles of buoy line by establishing minimum traps per buoy line

In the News

Key Dates

Lobster Zone Council Meetings | August and September

The second round of lobster zone council meetings has been tentatively scheduled.  Final confirmation of the schedule will be sent by the end of this week. All the meetings are scheduled for a 5 pm start time.  The dates are as follows:

Zone E

Mon., August 26
Wiscasset Middle High School – Gym
272 Gardiner Rd, Wiscasset

Zone C

Wed., August 28
Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School
Reach Performing Arts Center
249 N Deer Isle Rd, Deer Isle

Zone D

Tues., September 3
Medomak Valley High School – Auditorium
320 Manktown Rd, Waldoboro

Zone G

Wed., September 4
Kennebunk High School – Auditorium
89 Fletcher St, Kennebunk

Zone F

Thurs., September 5
Freeport High School – Performing Arts Center
30 Holbrook St, Freeport

Zone B

Mon., September 9
Trenton Elementary School – Gym
51 School Rd, Trenton

Zone A

Tues., September 10
Washington Academy – Gym
66 Cutler Rd, East Machias

Maine Voices

Read the letter from Maine’s Congressional delegation

via Congressman Golden’s Office

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Read the statement from Govenor Janet T. Mills

via the Office of the Governor Janet T. Mills

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Fishermen’s Perspective

Sustainable Fishing Practices

The Maine Lobster industry has a long history of
protecting the oceans and our fishery.

Maine’s fishery at work

This page is brought to you by the Maine Lobster Industry, a collaboration between:
Maine’s Department of Marine Resources, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association,
the Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association, and the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative