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Ban on lobster fishing to save whales is back, court rules

North Atlantic Right Whale
NOAA Fisheries
North Atlantic Right Whale

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the world's most endangered large whales, with fewer than 400 remaining, according to NOAA Fisheres.

A U.S. appeals court has reinstated a ban on lobster harvesting in hundreds of miles of productive fishing waters off the Maine coast to try to protect rare whales.

The Maine Lobstering Union had won emergency relief to stop the closure of lobstering grounds. Federal regulators had ruled the closure was needed to help protect endangered North Atlantic right whales from extinction.

But the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the closure is back because removing it prevents the government from performing its task of protecting the whales from death by entanglement in gear.

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