Federal authorities on Tuesday granted Massachusetts lobsters a temporary exemption to use ropeless lobster gear in a restricted area of Massachusetts Bay until Saturday after state regulators rejected a proposal similar to the beginning of the month.
The exempt fishing license was issued to a group of lobster fishers organized as “Pioneers for Thoughtful Coexistence”, who had asked regulators to allow them to set up to 200 ropeless traps in areas of the South Shore, where lobster fishing is closed. three months a year.
The decision marks the first time commercial lobster fishing will be permitted without buoys in state waters.
The state’s Division of Marine Fisheries director previously rejected the proposal, which won support from right whale scientists and environmental groups who say the ropeless gear eliminates the risk of whales becoming entangled. in the heavy ropes that are typically used to connect traps on the seabed to buoys on the surface.
Patrick Ramage of the International Fund for Animal Welfare welcomed the decision.
“Leadership requires fresh thinking and the courage to act,” Ramage said in a statement. “The Biden administration, Secretary Raimondo, federal scientists and others involved are to be commended for their forward-looking actions to protect right whales while ensuring fishermen stay on the water. This decision is a sea change in the fight to save the two.