Tag Archives: Maine Lobstermen’s Association

Role of Unionized Firms at Center of Maine’s Offshore Wind Debate

On Thursday the Maine Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee held a public hearing on a proposal to pave the way for the development of offshore wind infrastructure in the Gulf of Maine, including the construction of a coastal manufacturing facility that would build the offshore floating wind turbines Lawmakers also considered Thursday Rep. Tiffany Strout’s (R-Harrington) LD 1884, a bill that would block offshore wind developments. In recent years, the prospect of filling the Gulf of Maine with hundreds of wind turbines has taken on an air of inevitability, with environmental groups, industry groups, and well-paid lobbyists pouring millions of dollars into political pressure campaigns and ad campaigns designed to build support for the project. Unions, construction companies, investment companies, and lobbyists are all lining up to secure their share of what could be one of the largest taxpayer-funded projects in the history of the state. >click to read< 09:42

Maine: Fishing industry forum May 24

Our way of life up and down the Maine coast is under attack. Families that have made their living in the lobster industry for generations are on the road to extinction. If the federal government has their way, pending regulations will force the lobster industry out of business and the Gulf of Maine will be reserved for offshore wind. The Lincoln County Republicans are hosting an event on May 24 where the public can hear, firsthand, from three prominent men in the Maine fishing industry – Representative Billy Bob Faulkingham, Dustin Delano and Jason Joyce. The event will be held at Coastal Christian School, 574 N. Nobleboro Road, Waldoboro. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. >click to read< 15:52

Under pressure, Maine lobstermen could get funding to test new gear that could safeguard whales and their livelihoods

Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli (D-Arrowsic) is sponsoring LD 1552, which would set aside $1 million a year for the next two years to provide stipends to lobstermen to test new lobster gear. “Over the past several years many fishermen have come to terms with the fact that some level of innovation will be needed to ensure the future of the fishery.” A move by the state’s congressional delegation late last year delayed implementation of additional regulations for six years, buying the industry time to “develop new fishing gear technologies,” Patrice McCarron, policy director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, wrote to the committee. Studies are looking at whether ropeless technology can be used, but McCarron doesn’t believe that’s the answer. >click to read< 15:29

New bill would expand state waters in attempt to protect Maine lobstermen from federal regulations

State Sen. Eric Brakey, the bill’s sponsor, said the proposal is intended to protect Maine lobstermen from what he says are overly burdensome federal regulations, particularly those aimed at protecting endangered right whales. “LD 563 would throw the yolk of these federal regulators off our Maine lobstermen by extending Maine’s claim to the sovereignty of our oceans from three miles to 12 miles, subjecting our lobstermen to the rules of Maine regulators, accountable to Maine people, rather than Washington, DC regulators who seem accountable to no one,” he told the Legislature’s marine resources committee Thursday. >click to read< 10:39

The Case: Defamation suit marks shift in fight over lobstering – MLA says Seafood Watch assessment intentionally misstates facts

A University of Maine Law School professor says it’s unlikely a judge or jury will actually settle the science around lobstering’s impact on North Atlantic right whale mortality in a recently filed defamation lawsuit against Seafood Watch and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation. Instead, Dmitry Bam explained, the case—if it ever reaches trial—will probably turn on whether the aquarium’s seafood sustainability program was negligent or reckless about the evidence it actually used to claim that scientific data demonstrate that lobstering harms the endangered whale species. Last fall, Seafood Watch put American lobsters on its red list of foods to avoid because it “is caught or farmed in ways that have a high risk of causing harm to wildlife or the environment.” >click to read< 11:45

Faulkingham Pitches $1,000,000 State Contribution to Lobster Legal Defense Fund

A public hearing will be held Thursday to discuss a bill aimed at providing financial support to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA), a group that represents Maine’s lobster industry. The bill, proposed by House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor), would provide the MLA with a one-time contribution of $1,000,000 to offset large expenses the organization has incurred in recent years as it fights against burdensome federal regulations. Faulkingham expressed his concern for the Maine lobster industry, which he says is “under attack” and facing potentially devastating regulations and lawsuits. >click to read< 08:57

Thanks for the support

On behalf of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those involved in the recent fundraiser held at Robinson’s Wharf to benefit the Save Maine Lobstermen’s Legal Defense Fund. A huge thank you to everyone at Robinson’s who made this event so successful, with a special thank you to Craig Slater and family for hosting the event at the “Wharf,” and for the generous donation of 100% of the proceeds to the cause. I would also like to thank all of the sponsors for their support. The MLA started the Legal Defense Fund in order to raise money to fight back and sue the National Marine Fisheries Service, who are not using the best available science to base new lobstering regulations to save the North Atlantic Right Whales. >click to read< 09:52

Maine Lobster Fishery Sues Monterey Bay Aquarium, Claims Attack on Maine Lobster Fishing Practices Is Defamatory

Maine lobster businesses and industry trade associations today filed a federal lawsuit against the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation (the “Aquarium”) for making false and defamatory statements about Maine lobster fishing practices and for misleading consumers and commercial lobster buyers about the integrity of the Maine lobster harvest.  The lawsuit challenges the Aquarium’s claims that “scientific data” show that Maine lobster fishing practices are responsible for harming North Atlantic right whales.  The lawsuit asserts that the Aquarium’s claims are in fact not supported by science, and that the Aquarium’s false statements have caused substantial economic harm to plaintiffs, as well as to the Maine lobster brand and to Maine’s long-standing reputation for a pristine coastal environment protected by a multi-generational tradition of preserving resources for the future. Plaintiffs include Bean Maine Lobster Inc., the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA), the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, Atwood Lobster LLC, and Bug Catcher Inc., owned by sixth-generation fisherman Gerry Cushman of Port Clyde. To continue, >click to read< 12:57

A year after record-breaking catch, value of Maine lobster landings are lowest in a decade

Maine lobstermen hauled in the least valuable lobster catch in a decade last year, when a decrease in price per pound and higher operational costs gave them less incentive to get out on the water. The $389 million haul, a 47% drop from 2021’s record-shattering catch,,, The size of the haul, 98 million pounds, was nearly identical to the 10-year low hit in 2020, when lobstermen also scaled back operations, then because of the closure of traditional markets as a result of the pandemic. Kristan Porter, a lobsterman from Cutler and president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, laid the blame for the drop in price per pound squarely on the economy. >click to read< 11:06

Maine delegation to fight bill that would repeal ‘pause’ in lobstering regulations

When Congress passed a law in December that included a six-year reprieve from new federal regulations for the lobster industry, the fishery heaved a sigh of relief. But if a new bill introduced this week in the House of Representatives is approved, that relief would be short-lived. Maine’s congressional delegation says they are committed to ensuring that doesn’t happen. On Monday, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, introduced The Restoring Effective Science-based Conservation Under Environmental Laws Protecting Whales Act, or the RESCUE Whales Act. If passed, the bill would repeal the protections for the lobster fishery that were included in the 2022 federal omnibus spending law. The omnibus poses an “existential threat” to the North Atlantic right whale, undermines the science-based protections of both the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and ignores possible solutions like “ropeless gear,” Grijalva said in a statement. >click to read< 11:31

Maine lobster industry wages legal battle over recent regulations, while new ones remain frozen

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association in September appealed a ruling in a lawsuit against federal regulators in which a judge rejected the association’s attempt to block the National Marine Fisheries Service’s 10-year plan to reduce the risk posed by fishing gear to North Atlantic right whales. The animals risk injury or death when they become entangled in lines or gear. The case has been moving with relative speed through the court system, with oral arguments presented in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., last week. The association argued that the National Marine Fisheries Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, failed to rely on the best scientific information available and did not account for the impact of conservation measures already adopted by the Maine lobster fishery. In effect, the lobstermen argue, the federal government placed its thumb on the scale in favor of the whales. >click to read< 10:56

Federal court hears arguments from Maine lobstermen appealing right whale regulations

A federal appeals court heard arguments Friday from the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, which is challenging a government plan to regulate the fishery and conserve endangered right whales. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association had promised to take its latest appeal of federal fishing regulations all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary. But lobstermen hope they’ll avoid that prospect, especially with Paul Clement, an attorney with more than 100 past Supreme Court appearances, representing Maine. >click to read< 07:22

Radical Wind Farm Activists Blame Blue-Collar Fishermen for Whale Deaths

Dead whales are washing ashore on the East Coast at a disturbing clip. But many radical environmentalists, purported friends of the poor sea creatures, are hard at work deflecting blame from the possible culprit – the late surge of offshore wind farm development in the Atlantic. Lobstermen and commercial fishermen are the favored scapegoat of the dark money environmental lobby. There have been almost 20 “large whale strandings” on the east coast since Dec. 1, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s too premature to assign blame to any particular cause. Despite these disturbing trends, Biden environmental regulators are obsessively targeting lobstermen, citing the supposed threat they pose to endangered whales. >click to read< 08:08

Biden Administration sued by Massachusetts lobstermen for closing waters to protect endangered whales

Massachusetts lobster fishermen have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over its closure of fishing grounds done with the intention of protecting an endangered species of whale. The lawsuit stems from the February 1 closure of 200 square miles of the Massachusetts Bay that will prevent lobster fishing until the end of April in a move that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says was necessary to protect the North Atlantic right whales from being tangled in fishing ropes. Video, >click to read< 08:02

MLA back in court this month over federal lobstering rules

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association continues its court fight against the National Marine Fisheries Service, challenging its biological opinion for the endangered right whale, released in May 2021, and the science used to inform it. The MLA lost its original lawsuit in Sept. 2022 but was granted the right to appeal. Oral arguments are scheduled for Feb. 24 in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia. The Maine Department of Marine Resources and the Maine Lobstering Union Lodge 207, the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, are intervenors in the case. “[The six-year delay] just really amplifies the concerns that the MLA has had,” MLA executive director Patrice McCarron said. “It highlights and exemplifies the importance of the work we’ve done and the importance of letting the lawsuit run its course.” >click to read< 09:23

Preserving our lobstering heritage

When Maine’s lobster industry looks back on 2022, we’ll likely remember the challenges — high bait and fuel prices, low dock prices, shortages of marine supplies, and a complicated legal challenge that threatens to end the fishery as we know it. But we’ll also remember the many heartwarming times when people and communities came together, just as they did in the Harpswell, Orr’s and Bailey islands region in early November. >click to read< 13:24

Maine lobstermen: The other endangered species?

When President Biden signs the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill into law, Maine’s lobster industry will take a six-year step back from the brink thanks to the efforts of Maine’s congressional delegation which secured a last-minute addition that put further restrictions to protect endangered right whales on hold. “The pause doesn’t mean this is over,” said Boothbay’s Troy Plummer, member of Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) board of directors and lobster boat operator for nine years. “Everything is status quo until 2028, but we’ll have to do our homework,” said Boothbay Harbor’s Clive Farrin, lobsterman for more than 20 years and past president of Downeast Lobstermen’s Association.  >click to read< 10:10

Green Groups Ignore Genuine Risks To Whales From Offshore Wind Farms

Environmentalists want to crack down on the Maine lobster industry in the name of protecting endangered whales, but they turn a blind eye to the greater threat to whales from proposed offshore wind farms. The irony is almost as delicious as the lobster dinners at stake. Green groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife routinely target commercial fishing by claiming that it causes ancillary harm to marine species protected under the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws. This includes the North Atlantic right whale, whose population of only 350 or so migrates up and down the Atlantic Coast and can cross prime lobster territory off New England. >click to read< 11:52

Zero means zero. ‘We’ve been innocent:’ Federal spending bill could provide lifeline for Maine lobstermen

Tuesday, Maine’s congressional delegation moved to block plans for even stricter federal regulations on Maine lobstermen designed to protect the right whale. If approved, the measure would give the U.S. lobster fishery six years before any further action is taken to prevent fishing gear from entangling whales. Lobstermen say there’s no need for new regulations on them, claiming there’s no evidence whales are getting snared in their gear, but environmentalists say this puts right whales on a path to extinction. “Zero means zero. I mean, we’ve had zero entanglements in the last 20 years,” Knight said. “There’s never been a death attributed to Maine lobster gear. We’ve been innocent right along.” Video, photos, >click to read< 09:20

Maine Lobstermen’s Association Statement on Omnibus Appropriations Bill

12/20/2022 -Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, and Governor Janet Mills announced that they were successful in securing a regulatory pause for Maine’s lobster industry in the Omnibus funding package that is expected to pass the Senate and House this week. Following is a statement from Patrice McCarron, Executive Director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association: “The Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) is encouraged that Congress recognizes that the federal rulemaking process intended to protect right whales is broken. Please >click to read the statement< The comment section is open.16:09

Maine political leaders push provision in federal spending bill decried by environmental groups as threat to right whales

Members of the delegation, including US Senator Susan Collins, said they plan to push a provision in the spending bill that would revive for 10 years federal fisheries rule that environmental groups successfully challenged in court earlier this year. Congressional leaders announced a framework for the spending legislation last Tuesday, and plan to use the days before Christmas to finalize details. In a letter Friday to Democratic congressional leaders, 15 environmental groups urged lawmakers to leave the language out of the spending bill. “This is a profound and disturbing end run around the legal system,” said Erica Fuller, senior attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston, on Saturday in a phone interview. >click to read< 07:44

Lobster more than a Maine event

The headline said that Whole Foods would no longer be selling Maine lobster in its stores. My first reaction was to wonder what the lowly, although expensive crustacean had done to warrant such action from Whole Foods usually described as an upscale grocery chain that is owned by Amazon and as such is a part of the Jeff Bezos’ empire. To add insult to injury the California based Monterey Bay Aquarium through its environment focused seafood watch went and “red listed” Maine lobsters. I guess that means shipments of Maine lobsters will be stopped at the California border. I wonder if that includes the border with Mexico where just about anything gets through? Obviously, the Maine lobstering industry is up in arms over all this. >click to read< By Thomas Kirkpatrick Sr 12:56

Maine lobstermen warn Biden Administration is trying to put them out of business with harsh eco rules

Industry groups and both Democratic and Republican lawmakers from Maine are sounding the alarm that a pending federal environmental regulation would crush the state’s vaunted lobster industry, The proponents of Maine’s nearly $1 billion lobster industry have argued that federal rules aimed at protecting the endangered right whale species from fishing equipment in federally managed waters are unfairly attacking blue-collar lobstermen who rely on the resource to make a living. They have warned that the regulation threatens the livelihood of thousands of Maine lobstermen and individuals employed in supporting industries. Video, Photos, >click to read< 14:00

Walton: Maine lobsters — a coast to coast dispute

Some years back I wrote about my distaste for seafood. If it swims in our oceans or lakes, I don’t eat it. To my surprise, many readers acknowledged they feel the same. So perhaps they are as shocked as I am that I rise to the defense of the Maine lobster industry, which finds itself on a prominent and respected environmental “watch” list, threatening thousands of jobs up and down the Maine coast. Why should a guy who prefers a good burger care? >click to read< 08:19

Whole Foods to stop selling Gulf of Maine lobster

The Marine Stewardship Council suspended the certification of sustainability for the fishery last week, citing a failure to comply with laws meant to protect the North Atlantic right whale. The fishery was also added to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “red list” in September due to the same fishing practices which the seafood watch program deems harmful. Whole Foods says it will stop buying Gulf of Maine lobster until the suspension is lifted or the fishery is taken off the red list. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association feels the MSC decertification is the “direct result of the federal government’s overreach and its misuse of science in overestimating risk from the Maine lobster fishery,”  >click to read< 08:25

Court decision offers new hope for Maine lobstermen fighting new regulations

A small sign of hope for Maine Lobstermen as a federal judge in D.C. District Court has ruled that new lobster fishing restrictions designed to protect North Atlantic Right Whales will be delayed until 2024 to give the government time to draft more effective regulations.  “We need to have time to get this done right,” said Maine Lobstering Union Executive Director Virginia Olsen. Judge Boasberg had previously ruled that fishing restrictions issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA didn’t go far enough to protect the whales. His new ruling sends the current biological opinion, which is the document containing the rules and the science behind them, back to NOAA. >click to read< 10:43

Maine Lobstermen’s Association Statement on Recent Court Decision

On November 17, Judge James Boasberg issued a remedy order in the lawsuit, Center for Biological Diversity v. Raimondo. Following is a statement from Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “While the Court’s decision offers lobstermen some hope, it by no means resolves the issues facing our industry. We appreciate that the Judge recognizes the need to avoid massive disruption of the fishery, but the simple truth is lobstermen are still mandated to achieve a 90% risk reduction in 2 years which cannot happen without causing significant harm to the fishery. Please >click here to read the press release< 10:12

Lobster industry leaders vow to continue fight to protect Maine’s iconic fishery

Maine lobster industry officials told business leaders Thursday that they will continue to fight what they see as unfair and unnecessary federal rules meant to protect endangered right whales. “We are well over a $2 billion industry to the state primarily operating in communities without other job prospects,” Patrice McCarron, head of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association said. “It cannot be overstated.” Lobsterman Curt Brown, who is also a marine biologist, said the industry has been taking steps to protect the whales since the 1990s, including replacing floating ropes, using weak links so ropes break more easily and removing 30,000 miles of rope from the Gulf of Maine. >click to read< 07:34

How Did Gulf of Maine Lobster Get Canceled?

No one confessed to knowing that, just a few weeks before, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, an agenda setting program for sustainability-minded seafood buyers and chefs, had shocked the industry by placing Gulf of Maine lobster on its “red list” of species to avoid. Not Dodie Neo, an Ohioan retiree who’d been in line for 45 minutes when I approached her. Knowing about the red listing, however, wouldn’t have stopped her from ordering. “The aquarium has a right to put lobster on whatever list it wants,” she told me. “And I have a right to eat it.” Way down the road, at Highroller Lobster Co., in Portland’s Old Port, the crowd skewed younger and hipper, but wait times were just as long and customers just as surprised to hear about lobster getting canceled. After some discussion, most in line seemed to agree with Rick Conlin, visiting from western Massachusetts, that it didn’t much matter. “I vote for the lobstermen,” he said. >click to read< 10:23

Sustainability group pulls lobster certification over whales

Representatives for Marine Stewardship Council, which is based in London, said Wednesday that the suspension of the Gulf of Maine lobster fishery’s certificate will go into effect on Dec. 15. The organization said in a statement that the danger North Atlantic right whales face from entanglement in fishing gear is a “serious and tragic situation” of “grave concern to all those involved in the fishing industry.” The Maine Lobstermen’s Association feels the MSC decertification is the “direct result of the federal government’s overreach and its misuse of science in overestimating risk from the Maine lobster fishery,” MLA Executive Director Patrice McCarron said Wednesday. >click to read< 17:42