A Senate committee has passed a bipartisan bill introduced by Maine's Olympia Snowe and Massachusetts' John Kerry that aims to protect endangered right whales from ship strikes. The Ship Strike Reduction Act of 2008 would establish speed limits for specified vessels that travel through the migratory paths of North Atlantic right whales. Right whales migrate from the southern U.S. to the Gulf of Maine each summer.
Snowe said the bill, which now goes to the full Senate, will ensure that the lobster industry doesn't have to bear the entire responsibility for protecting the right whale when ship strikes are the No. 1 cause of human-induced right whale deaths.
Lobstermen are being forced to buy new rope for their traps to comply with new rules aimed at protecting the whales.
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