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US Supreme Court denies Maine lobster fishers' request to stop rules aimed at protecting right whales

The brief filed by the Maine Lobstering Union in the U.S. Supreme Court was denied Friday.

MAINE, USA — Editor's note: The above video aired on Dec. 2.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request Friday by Maine lobster fishers to block new fishing restrictions designed to protect North Atlantic right whales.

Justice Stephen Breyer rejected the application without comment.

A lobster fishers' union and two lobster fishing companies filed the emergency application with the high court on Nov. 24, asking it to vacate the appeals court’s decision, court documents state. 

The rules have been the subject of court action in recent weeks. New rules make an approximately 950-square-mile area of the Gulf of Maine essentially off-limits to lobster fishing from October to January.

The whales number fewer than 340, and they’re vulnerable to lethal entanglement in fishing gear. They’re also at risk of collisions with ships.

The Maine Lobstering Union won emergency relief to stop the closure of the lobstering grounds. But the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that the closure is back on.

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