First Circuit Reinstates Lobster Fishing Regulation to Protect Endangered Whales

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit vacated a preliminary injunction entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine that would have prevented the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from enforcing a seasonal prohibition on lobster fishing using vertical lines in federal waters off the coast of Maine. The decision lets stand NOAA Fisheries’ implementation of a 967-square-mile seasonal closure to static lobster lines in federal waters off Maine, from October to January each year. NOAA determined that such seasonal closure would help prevent critically endangered North Atlantic right whales from entangling in dense aggregations of dangerous lobster gear.