In Court

In September 2021, MLA filed a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s fundamentally flawed 10-year whale plan that will all but eliminate the Maine lobster fishery yet still fail to save the endangered North Atlantic right whale. MLA argues that NMFS has overestimated the lobster industry’s risk to right whales by cherry-picking the science by using unsupported assumptions and “worst-case scenarios” to justify its mandate for Maine’s lobster fishery to reduce its already minimal risk to right whales by 98-percent. MLA claims that NMFS also failed to follow mandatory legal requirements to assess the economic and social costs of their action.

On September 8, 2022, a federal judge in Washington, DC ruled against MLA in an opinion that deferred to the federal agency on all counts without disputing the validity of MLA’s concerns. As a result, NMFS is now fast-tracking the 10-year whale plan and will require Maine’s lobster industry to implement an unachievable 90-percent “risk reduction” as quickly as possible or the federal lobster fishery could be shut down.

On October 11, 2022, MLA announced it has retained former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement and has filed for expedited consideration of its appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Press Release

Motion to Expedite

Motion to Expedite Granted (October 18, 2022)

Opening Brief (filed November 10, 2022)

Declarations