Lobster Industry Fight Highlighted


Law360 published the article “Whale Rules Will Ruin Lobster Industry” (subscription required), which provides an in-depth overview of a case on which we serve as counsel of record for the State of Maine Department of Marine Resources. In the matter, Maine Lobsterman’s Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service, Maine is challenging a biological opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) with respect to the Atlantic lobster fishery and several other fisheries.

The article looks at the negative impacts that overreaching federal efforts to safeguard whales would have on the iconic Maine lobster industry. Business groups have forecast that the efforts could cause hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for lobster fisherman.

The publication also covered the recent ruling (subscription required) by D.C. Federal Judge James E. Boasberg, which orders the government to update Atlantic lobster fishery regulations in order to both protect whales and avoid shutting down the lobster industry – a vital driver of Maine’s economy. Judge Boasberg set a date of December 9, 2024, for the National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) to update its rule regulating the industry. He noted, “Sending the rule back to the agency provides the federal lobster fishery with stability to keep operating as stakeholders continue working to implement corrective measures…”.

Paul Weiland, chair of our Environment & Land Use Group, is lead counsel and Brian Ferrasci-O’Malley is counsel on the matter.

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