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Abstract

The majestic North Atlantic right whale is on the brink of extinction. With fewer than seventy breeding females left, every loss contributes to a decrease in biodiversity and brings us closer to an unrecognizable planet. Like most critically endangered species, the plummeting number of North Atlantic right whales is a direct result of human activity. Specifically, gear used by the lobster fishing industry is entangling and killing right whales off the coast of Maine. The federal Endangered Species Act, meant to protect vulnerable species like the North Atlantic right whale, is violated every time the State of Maine permits Maine lobstermen to use this gear. The solution is twofold: implementation of new, anti-entanglement lobstering gear and a shorter fishing season for Maine lobstermen. Although the federal government has taken steps in the right direction, their efforts are simply inadequate. As the Maine Lobstermen’s Association continues to fight for fewer regulations, conservationists urge the federal government to do more, and to do so quickly.

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