Rope Regulations Part 2 

New fishing regulations took effect in early April for lobstermen.The regulations are meant to help protect the endangered right whale, but many lobstermen are unhappy with the new rules.Most lobstermen used floating rope to set traps, because right whales can get caught in the floating lines, new regulations have made this type of rope illegal.Lobstermen are now forced to use expensive sink rope, and they say the extra costs don’t end there.”Before I could just grab the bouys and just hall them up, now what we have to do is when we grab a bouy we have to get right up over the traps and try to pick them right straight up. So it makes sure they don’t get caught down around the rocks.” says Danny Staples, a lobsterman.Hauling traps was never an easy job, but the new sink rope makes it that much more difficult. “You have to work awful hard to get them back, and you’re still gonna lose some.” adds Staples.And lost traps means lost wages.Gerry Cushman, a lobsterman, says “An average trap I would say is gonna cost 70 dollars. For every one that you leave at the bottom of the ocean, if you leave a pair that’s 140 dollars – not including that you’re not gonna be able to fish that trap for the rest of the year.” While the State says the new rules have been put in place to protect whales, Cushman, a lobsterman out of Port Clyde, says the waters he fishes don’t support right whales – making the new rules unnecessary.”Why would whales want to go up on 8 or 10 fathom of water on rocky bottom… it doesn’t make sense.”Cushman says tracking the whales and fishing equipment could be key to making reasonable regulations. “Buoy marking I think we could improve on that, I think we need to improve on that to understand more about the whales, and I hope in the future we have more regulations on that.” But even if there are more regulations on the water, is there enough in the water to sustain the whales.”They need up to, something like 4 thousand pounds of feed in a certain area and there’s only a few areas in the state of Maine that that happens.” explains Staples.Cushman and Staples agree some regulation is needed to protect endangered species, like the Right Whale.”The public out there thinks that we’re the bad guys and we’re not, we don’t want to kill the right whales anymore than anyone else.” Staples says. But they want more research done before rules are put in place. Cushman explains, “There’s a lot that we do not know about them and we need to find out before we make regulations about them that can put fishermen out of business, or put costs significance on them that’s unnecessary.”