Hearings set for new electronic lobster boat tracking rules

December 20, 2021 GMT

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — Interstate fishing managers are holding a series of public hearings next month about a plan to implement electronic tracking for lobster boats.

An arm of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering implementing the tracking requirements for lobster and Jonah crab boats that have federal permits. Regulators have said the requirement could help protect rare North Atlantic right whales and give scientists more information about the lobster and crab population.

A Jan. 19 hearing will be held via webinar and in person at the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The other hearings will be held virtually.

The virtual hearings will be for specific states or regional in nature. The first, on Jan. 12, will focus on Connecticut and New York. Others are slated for mid-Atlantic states, Maine and Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The lobster industry is facing a host of new rules to protect the right whales, which number less than 350 and are vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear.