Court agrees to expedite fishermen’s case against whale rule

October 19, 2022 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal appeals court agreed to expedite a lawsuit by fishermen over new rules intended to protect rare whales.

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association is appealing a judge’s rejection of the lawsuit to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The fishermen asked for the court to expedite the case, and the court agreed to do so on Tuesday.

The lobster fishermen sued the National Marine Fisheries Service to try to stop the regulators from placing the new restrictions on fishing. They appealed after a judge denied their request last month.

The fishermen contend the new restrictions are a major threat to the economic health of the industry and that their appeal should be considered swiftly.

The rules are intended to protect North Atlantic right whales. The whales number less than 340 and are vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear.