Interstate fishing managers are holding a series of public hearings next month about a plan to implement electronic tracking for lobster boats.
An arm of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering implementing the tracking requirements for lobster and Jonah crab boats that have federal permits. Regulators have said the requirement could help protect rare North Atlantic right whales and give scientists more information about the lobster and crab population.
The lobster industry is facing a host of new rules to protect the right whales, which number less than 350 and are vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear.
The virtual hearings will be for specific states or regional in nature.
The webinar for Massachusetts and Rhode Island permit holders will be held on Jan. 20 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
A Jan. 19 hearing will be held via webinar and in person for New Hampshire lobstermen at the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Others are slated for Connecticut and New York on Jan, 12, and the mid-Atlantic states and Maine.
Interested parties may register for any public hearing webinar at https://bit.ly/3ebEkO4 and selecting the meeting from the dropdown menu. Hearings will be held via GoToWebinar, and you can join the webinar from your computer, tablet or smartphone. Those joining by phone only, will be limited to listening to the presentation but will not be able to provide input during the hearing. To attend the webinar in listen only mode, dial 1-877-309-2071 and enter access code 350-416-497.
The commission will also post a recording of the hearing presentation on the commission’s YouTube page so that stakeholders may watch the presentation and submit comment at any time during the comment process. The recording will be available in early January; a subsequent press release will announce the availability of the recording.
The public is encouraged to submit comments regarding the proposed management options before Jan. 31, 2022 at 5 p.m. Comments may be submitted by mail to Caitlin Starks, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, 1050 N. Highland St. Suite 200A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; emailed to email@example.com with “Lobster Draft Addendum XXIX” in the subject line; or faxed to 703-842-0741.