I was disappointed to read that a letter writer recently (Jan. 23) suggested that neither Maine lobstermen nor our congressional delegation care about protecting endangered North Atlantic right whales. Facts do not support this disingenuous implication.

Lobstermen have complied with updated regulations to better protect the whale for more than 25 years, even implementing new safety measures last May. These measures are working. No right whale is known to have died because of entanglement in Maine lobster gear. The provision championed by our delegation simply continues the current whale-protection regulations while the federal government goes to work to ensure that accurate data and science determine the lobster fishery’s actual threat to the species.

The writer also ignores science conducted at Boothbay’s Bigelow Labs that shows as the Gulf of Maine has warmed, the endangered whales have moved in search of food from areas where Maine lobstermen traditionally fish to other areas, such as the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where they are at higher risk of injury or death because of entanglement in Canadian fishing gear (which has not been as “whale friendly” as Maine gear), and being struck by ships in a very busy shipping lane. Even though ships kill whales, the solution simply can’t be to remove all ships from the ocean!

I am grateful to our delegation for insisting our laws address the actual danger to the whales. If Maine lobstermen aren’t to blame for the decline in the whale population, we must determine exactly what is and address it together.

Susan Saltonstall Duncan

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: