AUGUSTA, Maine - Governor John Baldacci's office said yesterday that federal officials reconsidered the imposition of temporary restrictions on equipment used by Maine lobstermen in Washington County.
The governor's office said federal officials decided to rescind the restrictions after a flyover found no evidence of right whales in the area.
"I am pleased that the state and the federal government, including our congressional delegation, have been able to work cooperatively on this serious issue impacting Maine lobstermen," Baldacci said in a written statement.
"While the short-term situation is resolved, this latest issue has highlighted the difficulties facing our lobster industry as final rules regarding fishing lines are imposed next year. I continue to be concerned about the impact to this community."
A ban on floating rope has been eyed as a way to protect whales from becoming entangled in fishing gear.
Senator Olympia J. Snowe, a Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee's subcommittee on oceans, atmosphere, fisheries, and Coast Guard, said she was pleased by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's decision to rescind what she called unreasonable fishing restrictions that were to take effect Saturday.
"The retraction of this potentially crippling regulation is exceptionally good news and a welcomed relief for Down East Maine," Snowe said in a written statement.
Senator Susan M. Collins, a Republican, and Representative Tom Allen, a Democrat, reportedly had similar reactions.