Millions of dollars in aid is coming to Maine from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help improve data and research on endangered North Atlantic Right Whales. That could help protect Maine’s lobster industry from further cuts.
Governor Janet Mills and Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher made the announcement Monday, saying Maine has received $17,252,551 from NOAA. The money comes from the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed by Congress in December of 2022, which established a fund for states with lobster fisheries.
The lack of data on right whale presence and fishing effort in the Gulf of Maine means current models are rife with uncertainty, yet those models are used by the federal government to determine the risk of serious injury and mortality to right whales by lobster gear. THE DMR says the funding will allow them to expand research and improve the assessment of risk to right whales posed by fixed gear fisheries in advance of future federal rulemakings.