WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 2021 – The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Dec. 28 ruled that is permitting the Maine Lobstering Union (MLU) to intervene as a plaintiff in a case against the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The closure of a large area of prime lobstering territory is having a hugely negative impact on Maine lobstering communities. The MLU won injunctive relief to stop the closure on Oct. 16, but a federal appeals court overturned the decision on Nov. 16, closing off about 967 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean to lobster fishing for a third of the year. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take the case.
“This matter is the second case to which the MLU is a party in the District of Columbia involving lobster regulations intended to protect the North Atlantic right whale, with the MLU already having intervened as a defendant in a case brought by conservation groups challenging NMFS’s 2021 Biological Opinion,” said Alfred C. Frawley IV, lead attorney representing the MLU. “As an intervener in both cases, the MLU will seek a ruling that NMFS’s biological opinion and recent regulations are arbitrary and capricious in that they do not rely on the best scientific evidence available, but instead rely upon assumptions that have no basis in reality.”
The MLU also remains an active intervener in CBD v. Ross, a case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
“The Maine Lobstering Union will continue to use every resource at our disposal to protect both the Maine lobstering community and the environment, which we have been stewards of for generations,” said the MLU’s Virginia Olsen. “We simply ask that decisions that impact the livelihoods of countless communities be grounded in science. Our resolve is steadfast to protect this world-renowned industry and the men and women who depend on it.”
The Maine Lobstering Union (MLU) is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) District 4 and the only union-based cooperative in the lobster industry owned and operated by Maine lobstermen. The MLU supports Maine’s lobster community and is committed to the sustainability and safety of Maine’s lobstermen and women and all wildlife that occupy and rely upon the fishery.