Governor Mills Directs State to Appeal Federal Court Decision in Lawsuit Challenging Federal Regulations Hurting Maine’s Vital Lobster Industry

September 19, 2022

Governor Janet Mills announced today that her Administration stands by the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s appeal of the recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in Maine Lobstermen’s Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service.  

“My Administration continues to stand with the Maine Lobstermen’s Association in fighting this wrong and out-of-touch court decision that jeopardizes the livelihoods of thousands of Maine families,” said Governor Mills. “We will continue to fight to see that the Federal government uses sound science and proven facts – most notably that Maine lobster gear has never been responsible for the death of a right whale and that lobstermen have undertaken substantial measures, at great personal expense, to protect them. My Administration will keep fighting with everything we’ve got to defend the lobster industry and its hard-working men and women until the Federal government recognizes that.”

The Mills Administration joined the Maine Lobstermen’s Association in Maine Lobstermen’s Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service, in which the State and MLA asserted that the National Marine Fisheries Service’s new Biological Opinion, released in May 2021, is unlawful. The plaintiffs argued that NMFS acted arbitrarily by failing to rely on the best available scientific information and by failing to account for the positive impact of costly conservation measures already adopted by the Maine lobster fishery. In its September 8, 2022 opinion, the U.S. District Court sided with NMFS against Maine lobstermen.