Environmental activists want voters to ban commercial fishing nets and gear in state waters to prevent entanglements of whales and turtles, but fishermen and even some animal welfare groups say the move would be ineffective while devastating the struggling fishing industry.
The effort is being led by Max Strahan, an activist known in environmental circles as the “Prince of Whales” for sometimes radical campaigns to protect the North Atlantic right whale, one of the planet’s most endangered species.
Strahan’s proposal, which cleared an initial hurdle two weeks ago when it was certified for the fall 2016 ballot by Attorney General Maura Healey, seeks to create a committee to implement a ban on commercial fishing nets and gear known to hurt or kill whales, turtles and other marine life.
But commercial fishermen say the move would effectively outlaw most nets and fishing lines, dooming an industry already struggling to survive amid stringent regulation and closures of fishing areas.
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