Whales rule

HALLOWELL — No industry representatives were present at a Department of Marine Resources hearing last week on implementing the new vertical line rules for lobster gear, resource coordinator Sarah Cotnoir said.

The rule changes bring Maine regulations into line with requirements from the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, aimed at reducing whale entanglements with fishing gear. The federal rules were published by the National Marine Fisheries Service last summer and go into effect in Maine on June 1 of this year.

Changes included additional gear marking, a new 6-mile line, minimum trawl lengths and some island buffers for compliance and consistency with the federal whale rules.

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