Maine Senators Support Audit of Canadian Whale Protections

The tail of one of the right whales briefly sighted off Martha’s Vineyard Feb. 21, 2017. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Pete Duley, NEFSC. Images collected under MMPA research permit #17355

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s two U.S. senators say they support a push from a group of other lawmakers in the Northeast to make sure Canada is doing enough to protect endangered right whales.

A group of Democratic senators from Delaware to New Hampshire signed on to a letter from Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Markey asking for a federal audit of Canada’s whale conservation. Maine’s Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King say in a joint statement they “emphatically support this investigation’s goal.”

North Atlantic right whales number about 450 and are jeopardized by entanglement in fishing gear and ship strikes. Collins and King say they also urge the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration not to impose new restrictions on Maine fisheries. Maine is the center of the U.S. lobster fishery.

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