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Senator Collins Pushes for Funding to Help Maine’s Lobster Industry Cover Cost of Right Whale Rule

Washington, D.C.—According to an estimate by the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, the unfair and onerous Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP) rule will cost Maine lobstermen and women at least $45 million due to the expense of trawling up, acquiring and adding weak points, purchasing specialized rope, lengthening groundlines, marking gear, and hiring additional crew to complete this work.


In order to help Maine lobstermen and women pay for the required gear modification, configuration, and marking, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, wrote to the leaders of the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee to request additional funding to support Maine’s lobster industry.  This assistance would build on the $10 million Senator Collins previously secured in the draft CJS Appropriations bill to help defray the cost of compliance.


“I am writing to reiterate my request for additional funding to help lobstermen and women burdened by new right whale regulations acquire and deploy compliant gear,” said Senator Collins in a letter to the CJS Appropriations Subcommittee.  “Flawed and incomplete data are being used to inform the rule, and NOAA’s own data show that the Maine fishery has never been linked to a right whale death.  Nevertheless, NOAA is imposing expensive new gear requirements, and I want to help ensure that our lobstermen and women receive financial assistance to adapt to these onerous changes.”


“Without adequate assistance from the federal government, which is responsible for imposing these burdensome and misguided requirements on the fishery, many lobstermen and women will simply not be able to afford to make these changes and could subsequently be compelled to abandon not just their livelihoods, but their very way of life,” Senator Collins continued.  “It would be unconscionable for the federal government to regulate these hardworking individuals out of business, especially when the record clearly demonstrates that they are not the source of the problem.”


Yesterday, Senator Collins joined Maine’s entire Congressional Delegation and Governor Janet Mills in calling on Secretary Raimondo to delay the implementation of the ALWTRP rule from May 1st to July 1st.  Failure to postpone the rule will cost the lobster industry $7.3 million.



Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ letter to the CJS Appropriations Subcommittee.