(The Center Square) — Maine lobstermen are making a last-ditch push to scuttle a federal monitoring program seeking to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, lawyers for five lobstermen argue that new federal fisheries monitoring rules violate the Fourth and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
The restrictions, which went into effect on Dec. 15, require Maine lobstermen with federal lobster fishing permits to install 24-hour electronic tracking devices on their vessels.
The lobstermen allege the feds are collecting the monitoring data for purposes unrelated to commercial fishing, such as mapping potential areas to develop offshore wind power, which is “improper and a manifest violation of their constitutionally protected privacy rights.”
“The plaintiffs contend that minute-by-minute surveillance of Maine’s federally licensed lobster fleet is unconstitutional, unwarranted and unfair to Maine lobstermen, who have proven through the actions of generations of lobstering families that