SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Representatives of the federal government are in Maine this week to gather feedback about the possibility of new protections for endangered whales.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is conducting meetings with the public this month about potential new protections for the whales. The effort is focused on North Atlantic right whales, which number only about 400.

The new protections could mean new restrictions for lobster fishermen, many of whom have voiced concerns about the viability of their industry if they must contend with more regulations.

The first of the Maine meetings was scheduled for Monday night in Machias. More meetings are scheduled for Tuesday in Ellsworth, Wednesday in Waldoboro and Thursday in South Portland. There are more next week in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

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