ROCKLAND — The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) continues to be unclear about the setting of a risk reduction target while introducing new methodologies and analyses that have the potential to significantly impact the content of the TRT and ASMFC discussions and any Maine-specific plans, according to Patrick Keliher, commissioner of Maine Department of Marine Resources, in a news release.
Due to that un-clearity, Whale Community Meetings Scheduled for April 8, 9, and 10 are cancelled.
Keliher said the following in the release.
My intention for these meetings was to gather information from industry to inform state-specific plans for the Take Reduction Team (TRT) to consider during its April 23-26 meetings, and to discuss options to advance at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) meeting on April 29.
“This is very alarming given the short timeline before the upcoming meetings and the potential for these last-minute analyses to propose modifications to the industry which could result in large-scale changes.”
The State of Maine is willing to engage with NMFS to find solutions that protect North Atlantic right whales, but not in ways that would cause serious economic harm to the industry and the State. DMR will attend both the TRT meeting and the ASMFC Lobster Management Board Meeting to gather all necessary information about the target and possible options and will reschedule these industry meetings in the near future.
I value the industry’s time and ideas on these critical issues. My goal will be to solicit your ideas before NMFS takes final action, but we do not want to hold a meeting without all the information necessary to make informed decisions and capitalize on your knowledge of the fishery.
ROCKLAND — One of three community meetings to discuss Right Whales with the lobster industry will take place Tuesday, April 9, at 6 p.m., in the Oceanside High School auditorium.
Attendees are asked to enter through the left side of the building, at 400 Broadway, Rockland.
This meeting is one of three community meetings hosted by the Department of Marine Resources to talk with the lobster industry about upcoming Take Reduction Team and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission actions regarding Right Whales.
These meetings will be informational in nature, as well as an opportunity for attendees to provide feedback.
The other meetings will also be held at 6 p.m. in the following locations:
Monday, April 8 South Portland High School – Cafeteria
637 Highland Avenue, South Portland
Go around to the back of the building and enter through the Cafeteria Entrance. Parking is permitted in the staff lot, student lot or on Mountainview Road.
Wednesday, April 10 Ellsworth High School – All Purpose Room upstairs
24 Lejok Street, Ellsworth
Enter through the Main Entrance