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February 22, 2018

Maine Lobstermen’s Assoc. calls ropeless lobster trap idea ‘crazy’

Photo / James McCarthy
Photo / James McCarthy
Lobster boats in the harbor of Isle au Haut.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is reviewing new lobster fishing technology that eliminates the need for ropes that connect traps on the ocean floor with buoys at the surface.

Maine Public reported the traps could instead be equipped with remote-controlled flotation devices that could be inflated to bring the traps to the water's surface. The technology is being reviewed as a way to mitigate risk of entanglement to the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Director Michael Moore told Maine Public that ropeless traps would be initially expensive, but the price would drop over time.

But Dave Cousens, president of the Maine Lobstermen's Association, calling the idea "crazy," projected that rigging just 50 traps would cost more than $100,000; and equipment failure would leave traps on the bottom without any means of retrieving them.

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