On Thursday, June 20, at 6 p.m. in the gym at Camden Hills Regional High School, 25 Keelson Drive, Rockport, the Maine Department of Marine Resources will hold a Lobster Management Zone Council meeting to facilitate the development of a proposal that meets targets established by the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team for right whale protection. The meeting is one of seven scheduled in the state during June.

The team has recommended broad measures for Maine that include removing 50 percent of vertical lines from the Gulf of Maine and using weak rope in the top of remaining vertical lines. The measures are driven by federal laws designed to protect whales — the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration estimated in 2017 that more than 1 million buoy lines were suspended in waters of the Northeast region, which includes all of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The region lies within the foraging area of North Atlantic right whales, of which NOAA estimates 450 exist worldwide.

The targets established by the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team have been criticized for placing too heavy a burden on Maine lobstermen. Maine’s delegation in Washington, D.C., has called for consistency in how the reduction is measured from state to state. National Fisherman reported that Massachusetts listed an existing area closure as a part of its plan for further reducing risk to whales, while Maine listed only new management measures.

Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher will work with each Lobster Management Zone to develop a proposal that meets the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team’s goals. Meetings were held earlier this month in Trenton, Deer Isle and Kennebunk. In addtion to the Rockport meeting, the department is scheduled to hold meetings in Wiscasset (June 13), East Machias (June 18) and Freeport (June 27).