“It has become crystal clear that neither grasp the devastating impacts their decisions will have on the Maine lobster industry, our coastal communities and the State of Maine,” the MLA stated. “The court’s decision provides a blank check for NMFS to continue to use admitted ‘worst-case scenarios’ and disregard actual data in its regulation of a fishery that has zero documented right whale entanglements over the last 18 years. This disappointing decision puts the future of Maine’s lobstering heritage at great risk, and along with it, the livelihoods of thousands of hard-working men and women. But this is not the end. We won’t go down without a fight.”

“This decision is extremely disappointing, to say the least,” added Maine Governor Janet Mills. “The National Marine Fisheries Service has consistently interpreted the data in the most conservative way possible, without accounting for the impact of ship strikes on whales and whale entanglements in Canadian snow crab gear, putting all of the burden for right whale protection squarely on the shoulders of Maine’s lobster fishery. Maine lobstermen care about the endangered right whale and have undertaken substantial actions to protect them at great personal expense; but the federal government’s regulations are simply not based in sound science or proven fact. This federal court decision, so out of touch with reality, adds insult to injury to an industry that supports the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Maine families. We will continue to stand with the Maine lobstermen and confer with the Maine Lobsterman’s Association concerning next steps.”

In Canada, the Fish, Fish and Allied Workers Union stated that the North Atlantic right whale is “not a species commonly found in waters around Newfoundland and Labrador. In fact, over the last several years, there have been only three NARW sightings around the province and no entanglements.”