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Stories of our connected and rapidly changing region.

Innovations In Fishing Gear Could Change The Lobster Industry To Help Endangered Right Whale

Ben Brickett tests out his time tension line cutter in the Piscataqua river. Photo by Fred Bever for Maine Public

Ben Brickett tests out his time tension line cutter in the Piscataqua river. Photo by Fred Bever for Maine Public

This week a high-stakes conference in Providence is considering new measures that could help endangered North Atlantic right whales avoid life-threatening entanglements in fishing gear. These measures could also challenge Maine’s lobster industry, though.

Possible solutions range from modifying the rope lobster harvesters use to haul their traps, to trap limits, to seasonal closures of the fishery.

Inside the cluttered southern Maine workshop of a company called Blue Water Concepts, engineer and tinkerer Ben Brickett is looking to solve a fraught dilemma: how to protect endangered right whales from entanglement in lobster trap rope — short of pulling the gear out of the water altogether.

Visit Maine Public for the full story.