Right whale rules must reflect actual risk

I applaud Gov. Janet Mills’ pledge to ensure that any new whale protection measures reflect the actual risk posed by Maine’s lobster fishery and are based on sound science to ensure these sacrifices will benefit right whales.

Maine lobstermen remain committed to being part of the solution. But we cannot solve a problem that occurs largely outside of Maine waters. Research points to climate change as the critical factor in determining right whale distribution and health. Large numbers of right whales now feed primarily in Massachusetts’ Cape Cod Bay and Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence.

While right whales are rare along Maine’s coast, lobstermen adopted many whale conservation measures over the past 20 years, including removing floating line at the water’s surface, adding weak links to buoy lines, removing 27,000 miles of floating groundline, removing 30 percent of buoy lines and marking gear to identify its origin. Efforts by U.S. fishermen supported an increase in the whale population from 295 to 450 whales during this time.

Now the federal government is asking Maine lobstermen for an additional 60 percent risk reduction. This does not pass the straight face test for a fishery that has only one confirmed right whale entanglement and no confirmed mortalities.

Maine lobstermen stand ready to help right whales recover. But as Governor Mills rightly points out, Maine’s solution must reflect the real risk our fishery poses to right whales. Maine lobstermen should not be forced to implement changes if those measures won’t actually help the right whale population recover.

Kristan Porter
Maine Lobstermen’s Association

Independent thinking

I’m noticing an intriguing path of thought, where some ( I would hope a minority of people) consider Christian companies to not have access to the same rights of others, such as buying a full page ad promoting what they believe is good.

Where does one draw the line? In seeing advertisements for alcohol, a major contributor to human disease and suffering? Is anyone who is not buying Jack Daniels in error? Must we all buy and consume this brand of alcohol? Everytime I watch television, read a newspaper or a magazine, or some books, there are things I disagree with. My father was a great thinker, and by example, helped me to be one who can think for myself. Everyday there are things that pass through my mind, and what I agree with and what I disagree with are filtered out.

By seeing an ad for a book promoting things I find repulsive, I do not immediately succumb and plunge into what they’ve promoted, even though I’ve always believed otherwise. Is it a lost art to be able to think and decide for oneself? Is there is a need to narrow down all the options to what a few think is right? If this happens, we have lost all freedom to be the individuals our grandparents were.

Wanda Greatorex

Maine overstepped with vaccination law

The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is made by Merck & Company, Inc. Merck is a multinational corporation and one of the largest and most profitable drug manufacturers in the world.

The M-M-R 11 immunization drug is comprised of weakened forms of measles, mumps and rubella virus. Other ingredients are: recombinant human albumin, fetal bovine serum (say what?) and ten other ingredients. Merck and other vaccine makers essentially have “immunity” from lawsuits, through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, if certain vaccines injure someone — even if it results in death.

Caveat emptor, buyer beware; but there is no more choice in Maine. Nearly all children must receive vaccines, even if the parents object. Does the state own the children? Are they acting in their best interest? Who will protect the children?

The Democratic Party is the “party of choice,” so they say. But they don’t walk the walk. The state has overstepped its boundaries and needs to be reeled in.

Patrick Quinn