Environmentalists want to crack down on the Maine lobster industry in the name of protecting endangered whales, but they turn a blind eye to the greater threat to whales from proposed offshore wind farms. The irony is almost as delicious as the lobster dinners at stake.

Green groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife routinely target commercial fishing by claiming that it causes ancillary harm to marine species protected under the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws. This includes the North Atlantic right whale, whose population of only 350 or so migrates up and down the Atlantic Coast and can cross prime lobster territory off New England.

These activists have supported costly additional federal measures that purportedly reduce the risk of whale injuries and deaths from becoming tangled in the ropes attached to lobster traps or getting hit by the boats. And they have thus far prevailed in federal court, though the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, which believes these new requirements are unnecessary and could spell the end for their small operator-dominated industry, is appealing.

The threat is almost entirely speculative. The Maine lobster industry has co-existed with migrating whales for a long time, and actual confirmed instances of harm are exceedingly rare. “The last known entanglement in Maine lobster gear happened more than 17 years ago, and that whale survived. In fact, there has never been a right whale death in Maine lobster gear,” notes Maine Lobstermen’s Association Vice President Dustin Delano