Tag Archives: Maine Lobstering Union

“I guess they’re too weak.” Weak lobstering gear recalled as new whale regs approach

The weak link made by Plante’s Buoy Sticks was pulled off shelves by the company this week, taking away one of the handful of gear options at lobstermen’s disposal to meet new federal rules that go into effect May 1. One retailer said their shop was told the links were believed to be breaking too easily. Plante’s links are one of three models approved by NOAA,,, Virginia Olsen, Maine Lobstering Union, said she sent a notice to her members about the issue and hoped the recall would prompt NOAA to review allowing fishermen the easier option of putting knots in their ropes to make them weaker. “It truly would be a great assistance to us if those knots were acceptable,” she said. >click to read< 14:21

Federal windfall won’t put a stop to state lobster industry relief bills

Although Maine’s lobster industry is set to receive $17 million in federal funding as part of the 2022 omnibus spending package, it is unlikely to affect two bills going through the Legislature that seek more than $30 million in state funds for the industry. The spending bill will bring more than $200 million in funding for projects across the state. For the lobster industry, it includes $14 million to help lobstermen comply with new federal regulations intended to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, set to take effect May 1, along with $760,000 for the Department of Marine Resources to conduct outreach and education among lobstermen, and $2.3 million for right whale research, monitoring and conservation. >click to read< 17:28

Lawmakers endorse legal fund for Maine lobstermen

A legislative committee reversed course Tuesday, voting to support a roughly $900,000 fund to pay for the lobster industry’s legal fight against federal rules that aim to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales. Two advocacy groups, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association and the Maine Lobstering Union, would split the funding. The Marine Resources committee’s majority voted against the measure last week. >click to read< 16:30

U.S. lobster set to feed another Chinese New Year as demand booms

The week-long holiday, commonly known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is typically one of the busiest times for the U.S. lobster business. Appetite for the crustaceans remains strong in China this year, despite pandemic-related challenges to transportation and logistics, according to U.S. lobster industry members. “I have orders every day. Whether I can get them all on the airplanes every day becomes a question,” Bill Bruns, operations manager at The Lobster Co. >click to read< 08:16

Lobstermen fear offshore tracking data would be used against them

An arm of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering implementing the tracking requirements on federally-permitted lobster and Jonah crab fishermen in order to collect data on where and how they fish. “As these uses are developing in their discussions about how to divvy up that ocean space, it will be really critical to understand where the important fishing grounds are for the U.S. lobster fishery so those can be maintained,” said Caitlin Starks, a fishery management plan coordinator at the commission. >click to read< 08:22 What bullshit this is.

Virginia Olsen: People in Maine’s fishing industry are pleading for rational policies, not denying them.

As a member of the Maine Lobstering Union and a multi-generational lobsterman from Stonington, I read with interest The Lobster Trap, a collaboration between The Boston Globe and the Portland Press Herald. On one hand, I was impressed by the authors’ captivating storylines on the people and families who comprise our multi-generational industry and the recognition of the day-to-day challenges confronting us. On the other hand, I could not help viewing some of the series’ broad-brush inferences and conclusions as inaccurate, unfair and condescending. Precious few lobstermen qualify as wealthy “one-percenters,” as the authors suggest. The Maine lobsterman is not an “average worker,” and any comparison is an unfair characterization, whether made directly or by inference. >click to read< By Virginia Olsen 10:19

‘The Lobster Trap’

You’d never know it to meet McCarthy, an unassuming, soft-spoken man who goes to work in a T-shirt and waterproof oilskins but he is, at 32, among the most successful lobstermen in a place where lobster is king. On this remote and rocky island, 15 miles offshore, virtually everyone from the grocery clerk to the family doctor traces their living back to the tanks full of lobster that these boats haul into port each day.,,, In the next decade, regulators will demand that lobstermen like him, who fish in federal waters, switch to a brand-new type of gear that minimizes risk for whales, by eliminating vertical ropes that can ensnare them. >click to read< 08:24

Oh sure! Trowels, Not Traps: PETA Proposes New Jobs for People in the Lobster Industry

The U.S. Supreme Court just denied a request by the Maine Lobstering Union to lift a ban on lobster fishing in the Gulf of Maine between October and January, which was enacted to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales from becoming fatally entangled in fishing gear and ultimately going extinct, so this morning, PETA sent a letter to the union’s CEO, Mike Yohe, dangling a lifeline. Because people in the lobster industry complained that the ban threatens their livelihood, PETA is offering to help cover the cost of retraining them in nonviolent occupations, including photography and gardening. >click to read< 14:55

Supreme Court denies lobstermen’s bid to halt Gulf of Maine fishing restrictions

The Supreme Court on Friday denied a request by lobster fishers to halt environmental protections that restrict fishing in a large swath of the Gulf of Maine. The application, filed earlier this week by a lobster fishers’ union and two lobster fishing companies, was rejected without comment by Justice Stephen Breyer, who handles emergency matters arising from the region. >click to read< 13:13

Lobstermen ask Supreme Court to halt restrictions meant to protect whales

The protections in question restrict the use of lobster traps in nearly 1,000 square miles in the Gulf of Maine between October and January. They are intended to protect the North Atlantic right whale,,, In the emergency application, the union and fishing companies said the restrictions would curtail fishing by more than 100 of the state’s “largest and most productive” boats, many of which only fish in the restricted area. “These fishermen and their communities have no other means to make a living except by fishing in these waters during this specific time of year, and even the loss of one season will see their vessels repossessed and their gear obsolete due to changing regulations with no funds to update them,” the application states. >click to read< 13:16 Lobstering union petitions U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Gulf of Maine closure – The Maine Lobstering Union has filed a petition asking to plead its case before the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to reopen the area, which is slated to be closed through January – and every subsequent October through January – in an effort to protect the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. >click to read< 17:20

NOAA orders lobster fishing gear out of offshore zone

After a month-long court battle, an appeals court upheld the closure on November 16 U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Maine Democrat, said that the annual closure from October 1 to January 31 sets a dangerous precedent. It “will give federal agencies a green light to pursue regulatory actions that could devastate communities without any regard for whether or not those efforts are grounded in facts and data,” he said in a statement. “It’s regulations like this one that make people distrust government. Instead of looking out for hardworking people, our government cares more about appeasing deep-pocketed environmental groups that can litigate our lobster fishery out of existence,” Golden said. >click to read< 09:19

Research Team Supports Reinstatement of Maine Lobster Fishing Ban

The New England Aquarium’s Right Whale Research Team recently voiced their support of a recent ruling by a federal appeals court which reinstated protective measures for critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whales off the coast of Maine. Despite objections from the Maine Lobstering Union, the ban of lobster fishing in hundreds of miles of waters off the coast of Maine was upheld by the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In their statement, the Right Whale Research Team said,,, >click to read< 11:17

Fed appeals court reinstates lobster gear restrictions off Maine’s coast

A federal appeals court is reinstating restrictions on fishing gear in a nearly 1,000-square-mile swathe of ocean off Maine’s coast. In October, in an effort to protect the roughly 340 right whales remaining on the planet from potentially deadly entanglements with fishing gear, the federal government imposed a four-month restriction on the use of trap-rope in the area. Before the restrictions took effect, the Maine Lobstering Union won a stay from a U.S. district judge in Bangor. But Late Tuesday, a federal appeals court in Boston ruled that the lower court overstepped its authority. >click to read< 10:16

Judge rejects efforts by feds, enviro’s to impose immediate restrictions on lobstering

Last month, Justice Lance Walker sided with the Maine Lobstering Union and granted a temporary injunction to stop a new federal closure of a roughly 960-square mile area off the Maine coast. The federal agencies appealed that decision and asked for an emergency “stay” of the order, contending the closure is essential now to protect endangered right whales. On Friday, Justice Walker denied that request, meaning the area remains open to fishing. >click to read< 16:10

Feds, con groups file appeal to reinstate seasonal lobstering ban

In their appeal, the federal government and the conservation groups, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Conservation Law Foundation and the Defenders of Wildlife, argue that not only did the National Marine Fisheries Service use the best available science, but also that the lobstering groups did not present any actual evidence of the “certain economic harms” the judge referenced. Also in the appeal, the groups claim that the plaintiffs’ criticism of the availability and quality of data to support the restrictions is misplaced.  The fisheries service admitted that more data would be beneficial to refine the agency’s understanding of right whale distribution, but it argued that the data already available is sufficient. >click to read< 08:02

Gulf of Maine: Whale scientists fire back – Marine biologists disagree with a judge’s decision

Lobster industry professionals, elected officials and now a federal judge have expressed doubts as to whether the National Marine Fisheries Service used the best available science in imposing the closure, and whether the whales even frequent the area. They all argue that the statistical modeling used by federal regulators leaves much to be desired. Sean Todd, a marine biologist and director of Allied Whale, a marine mammal research group located at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, disagrees with both the decision to block the closure and the claim that there are insufficient data to justify it. >click to read< 09:27

Maine lobster rules should be based on real-world data – the government needs more than guesswork

The people involved in the Maine lobster fishery got a reprieve from new federal whale protection rules last week. U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker ruled  Saturday that the Maine Lobstering Union had successfully shown that a temporary ban on fishing would cause some of their members “irreparable harm.”  Walker found that the government scientists failed to show that the rules would protect any whales, or even that there would be any North Atlantic right whales in protected areas to benefit from a closure. >click to read< 10:55

Sanity! Federal judge blocks lobster fishing ban in the of Gulf of Maine

A federal judge in Maine on Saturday blocked a seasonal ban on traditional lobster fishing in a stretch of offshore waters in the Gulf of Maine that regulators say is needed to save the endangered right whale from extinction. In his 28-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Lance Walker said regulators had relied on “markedly thin” statistical modeling instead of hard evidence to show the thousand-square-mile area they had planned to close was really a hot spot for the imperiled whale. While the area targeted for closure may be a viable habitat for the right whale, there is no hard proof the whales actually gather there,,, >click to read< “This victory by the Maine Lobstering Union is a significant step in protecting one of Maine’s most precious industries – lobstering,”  21:10

Maine Lobstering Union, lobster dealers sue over offshore closure

The union and its co-plaintiffs allege that the closure is “the product of an arbitrary and capricious agency action” and argued that the federal government’s own data showed there has not been an entanglement in Maine lobster gear for nearly 20 years.  Instead, the National Marine Fisheries Service made the closure “simply to spread risk reduction responsibility across jurisdictions, without regard to the fact that lobster fishing is far more important to Maine’s economy than it is to that of any other state.”  >click to read< 13:26

Last ditch effort? MLU gets legislative backing for court fight over Right Whale closure

In some of Maine’s biggest lobster harbors such as Stonington and Deer Isle, the closure of nearly 1,000 square miles of fishing territory is a big worry. In some of Maine’s biggest lobster harbors such as Stonington and Deer Isle, the closure of nearly 1,000 square miles of fishing territory is a big worry. Virginia Olsen fishes there and is also a leader of the Maine Lobstering Union.,, The lobstering union is going to federal court next Friday, hoping to get a temporary restraining order to stop the closure.,,, In advance of that hearing, the Maine Legislature is getting involved. >Video, click to read< 13:35

Maine Legislature threatens legal action while Maine Lobstering Union moves ahead – Files Federal Lawsuit

The Maine Legislature is threatening to fight the federal government in court over a set of controversial new seasonal restrictions on lobster harvesting in the Gulf of Maine. Last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a new set of rules for New England’s lobster fishery aimed at reducing the risk to critically endangered North Atlantic right whales and other whale species. >click to read<  The Maine Lobstering Union (MLU) has filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the District of Maine, seeking emergency relief related to the impending closure by agencies of the federal government of productive lobster grounds utilized by Maine’s lobster fishermen and women. >click to read< 11:04

Maine Fishermen slow offshore wind farm development – Keep Fighting

Actions by Maine fishermen directly affected the process of offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine with a bill signed into law on July 7 by Governor Janet Mills. The measure was a response to plans that surfaced last year for a 16-square-mile, 12-turbine wind farm, called a “research array,” off the southern coast of Maine. Proponents promised good jobs and cheap, green electricity. Fishermen weren’t so sure. They envisioned wind farms springing up throughout the Gulf of Maine, harming marine life and damaging coastal communities. “We as fishermen work and take care of the water,” said Virginia Olsen, a Maine Lobstering Union director who lives in Stonington. “We feel these things will get dumped on the water and then someone will say, ‘Just leave them there, it’ll be a coral reef.’ But it will just be trash left for us.” >click to read< 16:55

Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound owners file countersuit

The Pettegrow family, owners of the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound, has filed a counterclaim against Lobster 207, which purchased the lobster pound’s wholesale operation and has accused the family of embezzlement, theft and breach of contract. In the new claim filed in federal district court earlier this month, the Pettegrows, who continue to run the Trenton Bridge restaurant, contend that Lobster 207 broke its agreements with the family, engaged in smear campaigns to get out of contractual obligations and made the Pettegrows scapegoats for Lobster 207’s own failings. >click to read< 10:42

“Protect the Gulf of Maine”: Fishermen to Rally in Augusta April 28th

Leaders in the lobster fishing industry are planning a “Protect the Gulf of Maine” rally in Augusta next week to highlight issues related to the development of offshore wind power. The rally is scheduled for Wednesday, April 28, at the Augusta Civic Center, with guest speakers slated to talk at 10 a.m. They include Olsen; U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, Maine State Senate President Troy Jackson; State Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, and others. Local 207 is part of the Protect the Gulf of Maine coalition. The group calls offshore wind development “a threat to the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and our way of life in Maine.” >click to read< 15:35

The Maine Fishing community weighs in on offshore wind development

Maine’s fishing community is deeply concerned that wind development will end our fishing heritage, which has sustained coastal communities for centuries and is integral part of Maine’s identity. Without dedicated research proving otherwise, we are skeptical that offshore wind can deliver on its promise of affordable clean energy as promised by global energy companies. “The state of Maine should be wary of trading its fishing heritage by entering a race to fulfill empty promises from international energy companies,” warned Executive Director Patrice McCarron of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. Wise words from the Executive Director. >click to read< 11:30

Federal judge gives NOAA time to craft new whale rules

A federal district court judge, in a decision issued late on Wednesday, Aug. 19, gave the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) nine more months to craft new rules to protect endangered right whales from entanglement in lobster fishing gear. Judge James E. Boasberg also denied a request by conservation organizations for an immediate ban on lobster fishing in a vast area of the ocean south of Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. >click to read< 09:45

New England: Judge Says He’ll Decide Within 2 Weeks When Feds Issue New Right Whale Protection Rules

The federal government and the lobster industry say any change should wait until May 2021 to allow for full review and public comment on new rules once they are proposed. In oral arguments before U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg Monday, their lawyers argued that the courts should not be in the business of micro-managing the fishery.,, The conservation groups are also calling for an immediate and year-round ban on fishing with rope in an area off Nantucket where the whales have been congregating in recent years. But a lawyer for the Maine Lobstering Union, Alfred Frawley, argued that would cause unwarranted economic harm, because the whales are known to be present mostly for a limited period in the spring. >click to read< 08:14

Judge orders former owners to come up with $1.43M in lobster sales lawsuit

A federal judge has ordered the former owners of a wholesale lobster business and the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound to set aside $1.43 million,,, The Maine Lobstering Union in December sued the former CEO of its wholesale business and his parents in U.S. District Court in Bangor, alleging that the family defrauded and stole from the group after selling it their wholesale lobster business three years ago. U.S. District Judge Lance Walker accepted an estimate of the amount of money lost as $1,438,181.23. That figure was provided by certified public accountants in Portland hired by the lobstermen’s co-operative, according to court documents. >click to read< 08:59