Proposed rules designed to protect a declining species of whale have arrived at the White House for review. The federal government is working on rules designed to reduce risk to North Atlantic right whales.
The whales number only about 360. They face threats including entanglement in ropes that connect to lobster and crab traps in the ocean. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said the new rules are expected to be released late this summer or early in the fall. The Office of Management and Budget at the White House received the proposal for review on July 19, records state.
A department review of the rules is pending. The government has said the rules will focus on reducing the number of vertical ropes in the water. They're also expected to modify restricted areas of ocean.
A framework released by the federal government in May said the first phase of rules will be designed to reduce risk to the whales by 60%. Later phases, which could take effect by 2030, call for an almost complete reduction of risk to the whales.
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Members of the lobster fishing industry, based mostly in Maine, have voiced concern that strict rules could make it more difficult to fish.