Letter to the Editor: President should back Maine lobstermen, halt whale rules

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By Bruce Poliquin | Portland Press Herald | December 20, 2019

On Monday, I sent an urgent appeal to President Trump to personally intervene in the ongoing dispute between federal regulators and our lobstermen, which is threatening their livelihoods.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is considering a drastic 50 percent cut in the number of permitted vertical trap lines in hopes of reducing the number of right whale deaths from entanglements. However, none of the nine right whale deaths along the U.S. coast since June 2017 have occurred in the Gulf of Maine.

That’s because our lobstermen have already taken effective measures to adjust their lines and other gear to protect the whales. It’s not fair to punish these hardworking fellow Mainers. They’ve done nothing wrong – quite the opposite.

In my letter to the president, I point out that the 10,000 rugged Maine lobstermen and their crews are the backbone of our prized coastal economy. Helping them solve the right whale issue would be a visible example of supporting Maine and America’s rural economy and jobs. These workers and their families are President Trump’s most loyal backers.

NOAA and Maine officials are in the final phase of addressing the right whale matter. President Trump‘s personal intervention would be an appreciated Christmas gift to the hardworking people of Maine.

Bruce Poliquin is the former U.S. representative for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District

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