A federal judge has upheld new lobstering restrictions.
In this May 29, 2020, photo, Eric Pray unpacks a lobster on a wharf in Portland. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A federal judge has dealt another legal blow to Maine’s lobster industry.

The judge ruled against the Maine Lobstermen’s Association in its bid to roll back new fishing requirements designed to protect right whales.

Lobstering advocates claim the new rules aren’t based on what they called the “best available scientific information” when creating regulations. They also say the federal government didn’t take into account the steps lobstermen say they are already doing to protect the endangered whale.

Gov. Janet Mills blasted the ruling, calling it “extremely disappointing.”

“Maine lobstermen care about the endangered right whale and have undertaken substantial actions to protect them at great personal expense; but the Federal government’s regulations are simply not based in sound science or proven fact. This federal court decision, so out of touch with reality, adds insult to injury to an industry that supports the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Maine families. We will continue to stand with the Maine lobstermen and confer with the Maine Lobsterman’s Association concerning next steps,” Mills said in a Thursday night statement.

The U.S. lobster industry is based largely in Maine and Massachusetts. Maine’s lobster industry set a record $725 million for the total value of lobsters brought to the docks in 2021.