FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jim Roche
Maine Bankers Support Maine Lobstermen’s Legal Challenge
The Maine Bankers Association announced its support today for the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s (MLA) legal challenge to the National Marine Fisheries Service’s ten-year right whale plan. MLA is suing the federal government to stop the plan and is asking the court to fix it using “accurate science” to protect the whales without sacrificing the lobster fishery and Maine’s lobstering heritage. The plan requires the lobster fishery to reduce its risk to the endangered North Atlantic right whale population by 98%, effectively shutting down the industry in Maine.
MLA argues the National Marine Fisheries Service acted arbitrarily when it failed to rely on the best scientific information or account for the positive impact of conservation measures already adopted by the Maine lobster fishery. Maine’s 400-year-old lobster industry is worth over $1 billion to the state’s economy and directly supports more than 12,000 jobs on the water.
“No one disputes that reasonable measures should be taken to reduce the risk of injury to right whales, but we owe it to the working men and woman of Maine’s lobster industry to use the best available science,” said MBA Board Chair Blaine Boudreau of Partners Bank. “The industry has already taken substantial steps to protect right whales and reduce the risk of entanglements. The fact is, there have been no entanglements directly attributed to Maine gear in nearly two decades,” he added.
The Maine Bankers Association’s 29 retail bank members operate 443 offices in nearly every community throughout the state and employ over 9,000 residents. With assets exceeding $41 billion, Maine’s banking industry provides the fuel to power the state’s economic engine, including the state’s lobster industry. Several Maine-based banks have already committed substantial financial support to MLA’s legal and policy efforts to protect its industry.