Maine granted intervener status in lawsuit challenging federal lobster regulations
On December 30, the administration of Governor Janet Mills announced that the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) had been granted intervenor status in Maine Lobstermen’s Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service.
The intervenor status allows a third party to enter into an ongoing dispute. It is generally granted to third parties affected by a court decision and who should therefore have the right to be heard.
âMaine cares about protecting the endangered right whale, but federal government regulations must be based on sound science and should take into account the conservation actions already taken by our fishery. I’m glad my administration has been granted intervener status by the court so that we can make our case, âMills said via a press release.
The trial is underway in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association says the biological opinion published by the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) in May is illegal. The Biological Advisory is part of a conservation framework to protect North Atlantic right whales.
Biological opinion has influenced federal regulations announced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on August 30, which include a seasonal closure of the nearly 1,000 square mile Lobster Management Zone 1 (LMA 1) in the Gulf of Maine.
But, according to DMR, when the NMFS released its organic advisory, the agency “acted arbitrarily by not relying on the best available scientific information and ignoring the positive impact of conservation measures. already adopted by the Maine lobster fishery “.
According to DMR, the lawsuit also claims that the NMFS made inaccurate risk assumptions in biological opinion, including the assumption that 50% of unknown serious injuries and deaths of right whales should be attributed to the United States when There is no known entanglement associated with Maine lobster fishing in the past 20 years.
“As NMFS [sic] His own biological opinion shows that even if all fisheries are removed from the Atlantic coast of the United States, the right whale population will continue to decline if calving rates remain low and mortality in Canadian waters remains high, âa DMR commissioner Patrick Keliher said in a press release.
In September, DMR was granted stakeholder status in Center for Biological Diversity c. Ross, another ongoing lawsuit involving the Maine fishing industry. The lawsuit is also heard in the DC District Court. According to a press release from Mills’ office, if the lawsuit is decided in favor of the plaintiffs, it could “shut down the Maine lobster fishery altogether.”