US lobster fisheries anxious over upcoming whale protections

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The profitable U.S. lobster fishery will soon have to contend with new rules designed to protect an endangered species of whale, and that could necessitate major changes for fishermen. The federal government is working on new rules designed to reduce risk to North Atlantic right whales, which number only about 360. One of the threats the whales face is entanglement in ropes that connect to lobster and crab traps in the ocean. The new rules are expected to be released late this summer or early in fall. Early indications show that the changes required by the rules could be significant, and members of industry said that could make it harder to get lobsters to consumers.