They say an effort to protect the endangered Right Whale could prove to do much more harm than good.
On friday, October 12th, the National Marine Fisheries Service established a Dynamic Area Management zone, after three Northern Right Whales were spotted by an aerial survey.
It only takes one sighting of three or more Right Whales to trigger the special zone, and when that happens all fishermen in the area have to change their gear to either sinking rope or neutrally buoyant line to prevent endangered whales from becoming entangled.
The only other alternative is to pull all gear from the water before October 20th when the mandated changes take hold.
Fishermen in the Jonesport area say there isn’t enough of the sink rope in Maine to outfit the entire fleet and that the cost involved would be devastating. And, even if they remove their gear from the water, Canadian fishermen will be allowed to continue fishing because they won’t be affected by the regulations.
On Monday afternoon, more than one hundred boats stopped fishing and returned to shore in a show of unity.
":The odds of us entangling one of those three right whales- I have a better chance of winning the megabucks.": Said local lobsterman Dwight Carver. ":It’s just a horrible thing to do to us as a people and a coastal community. To financially destroy us because supposedly a plane saw three right whales 30 nautical miles Southeast of us.":
The mandated gear changes would be in effect for approximately 840 square miles and last for 15 days.
A plane is scheduled to fly over the area Tuesday to confirm there are right whales in the area.
Meanwhile, Governor Baldacci and Senator Susan Collins have sent letters to the federal agency, asking for immediate action and special attention to the matter.