Committee puts off decision on $30M fund for lobster fishers

February 8, 2022 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Maine legislative committee on Tuesday put off its vote on a plan to create a $30 million fund to help fishermen cope with new fishing rules meant to protect whales.

The Maine lobster fishery is subject to new rules designed to protect North Atlantic right whales from entanglement in gear. A bill proposed by Democratic Rep. Holly Stover would create the relief fund to help fishermen hurt economically by the new rules pay for expenses such as boat payments and gear.

The Maine Legislature’s Committee on Marine Resources voted to table its vote on the proposal on Tuesday. Members of the committee said they needed more information before they could cast a vote on the plan.

The whales number less than 340 and they are vulnerable to lethal entanglement in gear and collisions with ships.