Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association told the Senate panel the rules recommending major changes to the gear used by Maine lobster fishers seemed particularly harsh in Downeast Maine, where right whale sightings are “extremely rare”. Both she and Maine U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe, Chair of a special hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard stated their position that there was little information on whale behavior patterns off the coast of Maine that substantiated the need for such regulations.
Hello? Who is advising you ladies? Thanks, to our long whaling history and losses to ship strikes and gear entanglement, right whales are indeed “extremely rare” as Ms McCarron states. But that’s the point isn’t it? They are, in fact, officially “endangered” after all and unless we develop mechanisms that allow us to coexist, they will indeed disappear from the face of this earth.
To suggest that there is “little information” on right whales Downeast, flies in the face of reality. There are few species that are subjected to the scrutiny, concern, and research heaped upon our right whales. Take a look at the daily reporting map on the NOAA site and linked in right here on this blog. A simple Google search for “right whale research” returns 1,690,000 hits for crying out loud!
If Ms.McCarron and Senator Snowe really believe their statements, it shows that they have received poor information from their handlers at the least or a complete lack of understanding on this issue at worst. Clearly this is an attempt to minimize the risks to right whales in support of the Maine lobster fishery, a clearly important industry.
As yet Senator Snowe has not taken a stand on LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay, a proposed location for 3 terminals. The right whale is an important factor mitigating against these development. Is there more to her stand than just lobsters?
Alternate fishing techniques have been researched for years now. Get moving, surely the human brain can devise methods to fish lobster AND protect an important creature that we profess to value!
That’s my opinion tonight anyway!