Feds taking final comments about plan to save right whales

February 28, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The federal government is taking the last of the comments about a proposal to try to save an endangered species of whale.

The North Atlantic right whale numbers only about 360. The National Marine Fisheries Service is taking comments about its proposal to reduce risk to right whales until March 1.

The government’s proposal to help the whales includes changes to the U.S. lobster fishing industry, which is one of the most lucrative marine industries in the Northeast. The whales are vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear.

The fisheries service has said the changes are “necessary to reduce the risks to North Atlantic right whales and other large whales associated with the presence of fishing gear in waters used by these animals.” Members of the lobster fishing industry have said they are concerned about losing the ability to fish for one of the most popular seafood items in America.