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Seasonal lobstering closures reinstated for October to January off midcoast Maine

Eric Pray unpacks a lobster on a wharf, May 29, 2020, in Portland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
AP file
Eric Pray unpacks a lobster on a wharf, May 29, 2020, in Portland, Maine.

A federal court is reinstating a seasonal closure of nearly 1,000 square miles of lobstering grounds off Maine's midcoast that regulators imposed last year.

The U.S. First District Court of Appeals decision ends a preliminary injunction that a lower court imposed on behalf of the Maine Lobstering Union and local lobster fishermen.

The MLU claimed the government overstated the risk that fishing gear poses of entangling endangered North Atlantic right whales. But the appeals court found that the MLU was unlikely to prevail.

As the case continues, traditional trap-pot gear will be barred from the affected area, about 30 miles off shore, from October through January.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.

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