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Maine Considers $30 Million Annually for Fisherman Affected by Whale Regulations

MAINE— Approximately 950-square miles of the area of the Gulf of Maine is now off-limits to lobster fishing from October to January of 2022. Federal authorities implemented the rules to help save North Atlantic right whales, which are vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear and whose species are less than 340. Maine’s state government is considering setting up a $30 million annual fund to help lobster harvesters and other commercial fishers who have been economically hurt by new rules. Maine is by far the most significant lobster fishing state in the U.S., and members of the state’s fishing industry have cautioned that they will suffer because of the new rules. A proposal from Democratic Rep. Holly Stover of Boothbay would create the fund, providing grants for lobster fishers and some fishermen who harvest other species with gillnets who are prevented from fishing during those times.

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