Maine Lobstermen's Association President Kristan Porter stands on Widgery Wharf in Portland on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled in favor of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, allowing the court to consider an expedited appeal of federal lobstering regulations meant to protect the endangered right whale. 

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association is appealing the new rules, which were handed down in early September, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The group has hired Paul Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general from 2004 to 2008, to represent it in the case.

The motion approved by the court means that all of the briefs for the case must be submitted by Jan. 10, 2023, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association said on Wednesday.

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association filed for its appeal to be expedited because of the jeopardy posed to the fishery by the new restrictions on where and how they can fish.

Gov. Janet Mills has pledged $100,000 from her public contingency fund to help the lobstermen’s association afford the legal costs of the appeal process. 

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.