To the editor:
I went to the Aug. 20 meeting at NOAA regarding the lobster trap lines and the entanglement of the right whales. Last year, three of the six whale deaths that happened in Canada were due to ship strikes, not entanglement. I disagree that doubling traps on the lines is one of the solutions. More boats could be coming back inshore, as longer trap trawls cause more expensive trawl entanglements offshore. These entanglements can lead to cut lines and lost trawls (ie. ghostnets). Doubling traps won’t lead to landing more lobsters either. This mandate is an unjust burden on lobstermen. As previously noted in the Gloucester Daily Times, Larry Stepenuck brought up the problem of the mussel farms and their spat lines – another potential cause of whale entanglements. What! Is nobody hearing him? I think lobsterman Mike Goodwin also brought up a good point, when he said “I can find any boat in America on my cellphone.” Why can’t we track these whales? All this technology, and this is the best you got?”
Gov. Janet Mills of Maine wrote a great letter to the lobster industry on federal whale regulations. She ended it by saying “My administration will not allow any bureaucrat to undermine our lobster industry or our economy with foolish, unsupported, and ill-advised regulations. I stand with you, and I will do everything I can as your governor to protect your rights and your livelihoods and defend Maine’s lobster industry in the face of absurd federal over-reach.”
Nobody is talking about a study in the New York Times (May 2014) regarding the massive kill of plankton from the 200 million gallons of oil that was spilled into the Gulfstream by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil platform disaster or regarding the neurological damage to the cleanup workers. These plankton represent a vital food source for the whales. Meanwhile, Irving Oil is currently funding the whale research. How screwy is that? The whale researchers were mum regarding the detrimental effects on the whales from the oil spill and applied dispersants as a reason for critical change in whale behavior, food sourcing and birthing rate. Instead, they are going after the unchanging or declining number of lobster buoy lines.
There is a bigger picture going on here. The big corporations have raped the land, and now they are going after the ocean. It’s a gold mine out there. The big oil rigs with their seismic testing, wind farms, fish farms, mining of the ocean floor, etc., want a piece of the action, and those pesky lobstermen are raining on their parade. I think Gov. Charlie Baker should put his foot down on this ridiculous mandate like Gov. Mills did in Maine. They don’t care about the whales; they just want the ocean to exploit. They are seeing big dollar signs — the hell with the environment — more pollution and more money to be made. It makes me sick to watch this happening in my backyard.