Lobstermen: NOAA vessel is cutting trap lines

YORK, Maine — Local lobstermen are upset that a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel is back off of the coast of York mapping the depths for new nautical charts and inadvertently cutting their fishing lines and traps in the process.

This is the fourth time since 2009 that a NOAA ship has been working off the York coast, according to Mike Sinclair, president of the York Lobstermen’s Association. Since that time, Sinclair estimates NOAA vessels have caused $25,000 in gear losses for the 50 lobstermen in the association and others who fish out of York Harbor who are not members.

What is upsetting lobstermen the most is NOAA has never notified them beforehand that a ship would be in their fishing waters, despite assurances given in March by the commanding officer of the present ship, the Ferdinand R. Hassler, according to Sinclair.

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