- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 4, 2009

ROCKLAND, MAINE (AP) - Rope once used to connect lobster traps on the ocean floor soon will grace the entryways of people’s houses.

At a warehouse in this commercial fishing port, a steady stream of lobstermen arrived last week with pickup trucks and trailers loaded with millions of feet of colorful rope _ blue, orange, white, green, red, purple, pink.

All of it will be used to manufacture multicolored hand-woven doormats.

A new federal regulation, designed to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, prohibits lobstermen from using the floating rope to connect their traps because the whales can become entangled. So lobstermen are selling the rope to a nonprofit foundation.

The Maine Float-Rope Co., in Waldoboro, plans to sell the Down East Doormats through its Web site and to stores across New England.

Owner Penny Johnston is promoting the product as helping whales, helping Maine lobstermen and helping the environment by recycling the rope.

The 18-by-30-inch doormat has a suggested retail price of $49.95, with the 24-by-36-inch model selling for $79.95.

David Bird, owner of manufacturer Custom Cordage LLC, said he’s made more than 700 of the mats so far and has enough rope to make another 30,000.

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On the Net:

The Maine Float-Rope Co.: https://www.mainefloatrope.com

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