Maine to meet with lobstermen again about new whale rules

WISCASSET, Maine (AP) — Maine regulators are working on a new slate of meetings with the state's lobstermen to discuss potential new whale protection rules that could impact the fishery.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources is developing a proposal for the federal government about how to better protect endangered North Atlantic right whales. It had scheduled several meetings with lobstermen about the proposal for this month, but has temporarily put them on hold.

Department spokesman Jeff Nichols says a revised schedule will be out after regulators have had a chance to develop a proposal that reflects "another review of all data."

The whales number about 400 and are vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear. A federal government team has called for removal of many vertical trap lines from the Gulf of Maine to reduce risk.